Which Flights Are $29 On Southwest

Summary: On April 14, 2018, Southwest Airlines Flight 2499 made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after an engine failure resulted in a shattered window and the death of one passenger. This incident raised concerns about the safety of airline travel and sparked an investigation into the cause of the engine failure. In this article, we will explore the details of the incident and the subsequent investigation.

1. The Flight and the Incident

Southwest Airlines Flight 2499, a Boeing 737-700, was en route from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to Dallas’ Love Field on April 14, 2018, when the left engine failed and shrapnel struck the fuselage, causing a shattered window and cabin depressurization. One passenger, Jennifer Riordan, was partially sucked out of the plane and died from her injuries. The crew quickly initiated an emergency descent, and the pilot made an unscheduled landing at Philadelphia International Airport. The other passengers and crew were evacuated onto the runway via the emergency slides.

The incident garnered widespread media attention and brought safety issues into the forefront of public consciousness. Questions swirled around the cause of the engine failure and what could have been done to prevent it.

Southwest Airlines issued a statement expressing their condolences to the Riordan family and stating that they were fully cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation.

2. The Investigation

The NTSB launched an investigation immediately following the incident, and their preliminary findings revealed that a fan blade had broken off the engine and caused it to fail. The blade had shown signs of metal fatigue consistent with material fatigue, according to the NTSB’s Chairman Robert Sumwalt. The broken blade had struck the engine’s fan cowl, which is designed to contain any debris from a failing engine.

The NTSB investigation continued for months, ultimately finding that the engine failure was caused by a fan blade that had been weakened by metal fatigue. An investigative summary released by the NTSB stated that the blade had a microscopic crack that had grown over time, eventually leading to its failure. The summary also noted that the engine’s fan cowl had failed to contain the debris from the failed engine, which contributed to the shattering of the window and the death of Jennifer Riordan.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) responded to the incident by issuing an emergency airworthiness directive requiring inspections of fan blades on certain engines. Southwest Airlines complied with the directive, inspecting all of their 737 aircraft and implementing additional measures to ensure the safety of their fleet.

3. The Aftermath

In the aftermath of the incident, Southwest Airlines faced criticism for its handling of the situation. Some passengers reported feeling uneasy about flying with the airline in the wake of the incident and questioned the safety of the entire aviation industry. Southwest Airlines offered refunds and travel vouchers to affected passengers and publicly apologized for the incident.

The incident also brought renewed attention to the issue of metal fatigue in aircraft components. Airliners are designed to withstand countless cycles of pressurization and depressurization, but even small cracks or imperfections can grow under those cycles and eventually lead to catastrophic failures. Airlines and manufacturers have since implemented more rigorous inspection and maintenance programs to detect and prevent metal fatigue.

Despite the tragedy of Jennifer Riordan’s death, Southwest Airlines has emerged from the incident with a strengthened commitment to safety. CEO Gary Kelly stated that the airline would “do whatever it takes to restore the confidence of our customers” and pledged to make safety their top priority.


The incident involving Southwest Airlines Flight 2499 highlighted the importance of airline safety measures and raised new concerns about metal fatigue in aircraft components. The NTSB investigation ultimately found that a broken fan blade caused the engine failure and the subsequent shattering of a window, which resulted in the death of one passenger. The aviation industry responded to the incident with increased inspections and maintenance programs to prevent similar incidents in the future. Despite the tragedy of Jennifer Riordan’s death, Southwest Airlines has emerged from the incident with a renewed commitment to safety.

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