Door Flies off Mid-flight on Alaska Airlines

By John Holguin 

February 3, 2024
Missing door on the Alaska Airlines airplane. (Photo Credit: National Transportation Safety Board)

On January 5, 2024, just four days after New Years, a terrible accident happened on an Alaska Airlines flight. The door plug for a fuelslage of the Boeing 737-Max 9 flew off a few minutes after taking off from Portland International airport. The flight was carrying 171 passengers with six crew members. This depressurized the cabin and exposed all 171 passengers to the high altitude air. If exposed to high altitude air for too long, this can cause altitude sickness among the passengers and less intake of oxygen which could be dangerous to a passengers’ health.

At around 5:07pm, Alaska Airlines flight 1282  took off from Portland International airport and was destined for Ontario, California. At about 16,000 feet in the air, the pilot declared an emergency landing and lowered the altitude to 10,000 due to the cabin being pressurized. This was caused by the fuselage door flying off. Two California residents who were on the flight said that this incident caused them to feel “terror” and was a “traumatizing experience”. At around 5:34, the Alaska airliner had to make an emergency landing back at Portland international airport. 

After the flight's emergency landing, many complaints from passengers were filed against Alaska Airlines. Four passengers are suing both Boeing and Alaska airlines for “intense fear, distress, anxiety, trauma and physical pain,” according to the complaint. During the depressurization of the cabin, passengers sent what they thought “would be their final text messages in the world” according to Seattle attorney Mark Lindquist. When the door plug flew off, masks fell in front of passengers’ faces inside the cabin, causing fright and terror, and caused many passengers to think that this incident would be the cause of their death. While the lawsuit is still underway, many people are now worried about prior plane inspections for the Boeing aircraft. 

The door from the Boeing 737-MAX 9 has been recovered by the National Transportation Safety Board, no one was hurt but where they found the door is odd. The door was recovered in an Oregon science teacher’s backyard, and there was surprisingly no property damage whatsoever to the house. Bob was the name of the teacher who found the door in his backyard and reported it to investigators. How the door suddenly flew off is still under investigation but Boeing has instructed their safety board to do more inspections on emergency exit doors in order to try and prevent this incident from ever happening again. 

Missing fuselage door on Alaska Airlines flight after emergency landing. (Photo credit: Matthew Klint)
Investigators examining the door plug that blew out of an Alaska Airlines flight. (Photo Credit: (NTSB / Fox News)