The words “planes” and “accident” used within the same sentence is usually enough to elicit a frightened response from most of us, even when it doesn’t necessarily have to be so. And this is one of those cases.


According to reports, American Airlines boarded and flew passengers from LA to Honolulu on August 31st using the wrong plane. The correct one was an Airbus A321 and while the actual plane used was of the same type, there were a couple of stark differences: the two planes have different tail numbers, and the plane used had no certification to fly long distances over water.


Aviation expert Brian Sumers first reported the incident and pointed out the lack of ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) on the used plane, a requirement by the FAA for planes to travel long-distance routes—like LA to Hawaii.




While this kind of mixup is rare in the airline industry, it also wasn’t particularly dangerous and passengers had no reason to worry. Both planes are fitted with the same safety gear according to a spokesperson for American Airlines. The company also reassured that “changes to software systems” have been implemented to prevent similar incidents from happening again in the future.