Last week I had a very bizarre incident on American Airlines Flight 243 from New York JFK to Miami. I was travelling as part of my #wheresgilbert upgrade giveaways and had specifically chosen the flight based on the wide body Boeing 777-200, which offered a flat bed business class seat on a route which typically offers the old style reclining seats.

Within minutes of boarding, there was an order to evacuate immediately as fumes filled the cabin and smoke was reported. I wrote it off as a one off, these things happen, but then last night, I got a message from someone saying they had an identical experience!

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American Airlines Flight 243

All in all, American handled my evacuation well. No slides were deployed which meant better safety for those on the ground and crew were very clear and forceful with their instructions. I applaud them. If only the same could’ve been said for AA customer service during my rebooking.

I was grateful that the incident happened at the gate, and not at 30,000 feet and I put the experience behind me. Since then, I’ve been on 9 separate flights, so that kinda helps too. Anyway, it was all in the past until I received a tweet last night, and pictures of fire trucks surrounding a familiar looking Boeing 777-200 aircraft, parked at the same gate!

It’s worth noting that my emergency deplaning involved a Boeing 777-200 with a different aircraft registration – in other words – it wasn’t the same exact plane, but I find it incredibly odd that a fleet with generally good reliability is having such similar issues in short spans of time.

What’s Going On?

Now obviously, I have no idea what’s going on with this plane. I’m not an American Airlines mechanic nor do I have an engineering background of any kind. But I do know that the Boeing 777-200 has been a roller coaster for American Airlines.

The toilets are famous for going out of service, and the seats installed had their own issues too. Obviously, that’s not the end of it. American, for their part, isn’t helping anyone learn anything either. In my instance, they tried to tell me my flight was delayed due to air traffic control, which didn’t go down too well with any air traffic controllers.

In this latest instance, they’ve again written the delay in as a “mechanical issue” and are keeping quiet as to any reason why their fleet of Boeing 777-200’s seem to be encountering potentially dangerous issues in close succession of each other. Does anyone have any insight? American has done a scary good job at keeping these incidents under wraps. In fact, if you Google them, nothing comes up.

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