Wing Slats Issue Prompts United Airlines Boeing 757 Diversion

Estimated read time 4 min read


  •  United Airlines Boeing 757-200, N57111, diverted to Denver due to a slat issue, with 165 passengers onboard.
  •  Another Boeing 757 was dispatched to continue the flight to Boston.
  •  United Airlines has begun replacing its aging 757s with the Airbus A321neos.


A United Airlines Boeing 757-200, registered as N57111, was forced to divert to Denver International Airport (DEN) as it was crossing the country on a domestic flight from San Francisco to Boston on February 19th, 2024.

Slats issue

The 757-200 was operating flight UA354 from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) when it was forced to divert to DEN. The flight crew did not squawk 7700, the general code for an emergency, as the aircraft was approaching DEN, where it landed at 17:17 local time (UTC -7).

In a statement to Simple Flying, a United Airlines spokesperson confirmed that the Boeing 757-200 was forced to divert to DEN due to an issue with the slat on the wing of the aircraft. “The flight landed safely, and we arranged for another aircraft to take our customers to Boston,” they continued, adding that there were 165 passengers onboard the aircraft.

United Airlines Boeing 757-200

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying 

So far, the Boeing 757-200 in question has no flight scheduled out of DEN, according to Flightradar24 data. United Airlines will potentially have to take the aircraft out of service for a day or longer to ensure that the slat issue has been fixed.

Meanwhile, the carrier dispatched one of its other Boeing 757-200s, registered as N34137, to complete the journey to BOS. The flight, which was initially supposed to land at the East Coast airport at 22:25, landed at BOS at 01:56 the following morning.

Continental Airlines B757-200

The Boeing 757-200, registered as N57111, was originally delivered to Continental Airlines in December 1994, bearing the same registration. When the two airlines completed their merger in 2011, the aircraft was transferred to United Airlines’ Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).

A Continental Airlines Boeing 757-200 Flying In The Sky.

Photo: Bjoern Wylezich | Shutterstock

According to ch-aviation data, the aircraft accumulated 86,889 flight hours (FH) and 18,347 flight cycles (FC) when it operated with Continental Airlines, with United Airlines adding 22,052 FH and 4,681 FC onto the airframe since taking ownership of the aircraft.

Mergers were seen as a way to grow the network and save money.

Replacing the 757s

To replace its aging Boeing 757s, United Airlines has ordered the Airbus A321neo, including the A321XLR. Ch-aviation data showed that on average, its 757-200s are 27.1 years old, while the 757-300s are 21.5 years old. The airline operates 40 and 21 aircraft of the type, respectively.

United Airlines has increasingly ordered more A321neo aircraft in recent years, most recently in October 2023 when it ordered an additional 60 A321neos from the European manufacturer. That brings its total order book to 180 A321neos and A321XLRs.

This is the first of 130 new A321neos to be received by United Airlines (and 50 A321XLRs).

While the airline has already taken delivery of its first-ever A321neo and operated the first commercial flight with the type, it has not been smooth sailing for the type’s introduction into United Airlines’ fleet. In February 2024, the airline requested an exemption from the Department of Transportation (DOT), asking the agency to allow it to operate its A321neos with the flight attendants being unable to operate the ‘no smoking’ sign.

As a result of this process, some of the carrier’s A321neos had been inactive for multiple days. For example, N24505, which was delivered on December 29, 2023, operated no flights between January 26th and February 13th, while another A321neo, registered as N14502, operated only a handful of flights between February 12th and February 14th, when the airline sent the exemption request to the DOT.

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