American Airlines must have had a flight mix-up on August 31 when it ended up sending the wrong plane out on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu. In fact, the airline company ended up sending the wrong Airbus 321 (A321) on a long route over water, which Flight 31 was not cleared for.
According to aviation blogger Brian Summers, American Airlines actually has two types of A321 in its fleet, the A321H, which is cleared by federal guidelines to make a light to Hawaii, and the A321S, which, technically, cannot. Flight 31 is an A321S aircraft, which does not posses a long-range overwater certification, as confirmed by an airline spokesman. This certification is also called ETOPS or Extended-range Twin engine aircraft Operations.
American Airlines spokesman Casey Norton has said that both types of the A321 are actually fitted with emergency life rafts that is necessary in case of a water evacuation. Nonetheless, the airline is aware that they had violated federal guidelines because of the August 31 incident.
American Airlines has said that the ground crew had only noticed that the wrong flight went out long after the Flight 31 had taken off. It was then decided to let the flight continue to Honolulu. Afterwards, the return flight was canceled as Flight 31 was ferried back.
Norton has also said that the airline has also immediately notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the incident. Moreover, he stated, “We are checking our internal procedures, everything that led up to the departure. We are going to figure out what we can do better.” This reportedly includes making some changes in the airline’s software systems.