A United Airlines flight bound for Austin, Texas from Newark, New Jersey was forced to make a sudden landing on Monday after passengers and crew detected a strong odor. A Port Authority of NY/NJ spokesman said that the control tower staff received an alert from the crew of Flight 1704 that there was a smell of smoke in the cockpit.
The Federal Aviation Administration added that the Boeing 739 took off at 6 a.m., but safely returned to the airport 20 minutes later where an emergency crew escorted the plane to awaiting United Airlines mechanics. No actual smoke was visible and an investigation is still in process to determine what caused the odor.
Passengers seemed to be surprised by the sudden turnaround. One passenger Twitter handle tweeted, “Well this is a first. Midair on a @united flight to #SXSWplane gets turned back Newark due to a smell. Everyone is OK, pilot's a pro!”