The FAA and NTSB have also launched investigations into flight that was heading from Denver to Honolulu.

By Alison Fox
February 22, 2021
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United Airlines has grounded 24 planes following this past weekend's incident where a plane's engine blew apart after takeoff on Saturday.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have also launched investigations into Flight UA328, a Boeing 777, that was heading from Denver to Honolulu. The flight returned safely to Denver and was met by emergency crews.

"Based on the initial information, we concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes," FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement on Sunday, adding the agency issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive.

There were no injuries reported on the plane or on the ground — however, the incident left debris scattered throughout suburban neighborhoods.

A representative for United told Travel + Leisure on Monday that the airline was waiting to see the FAA's airworthiness directive to "determine what inspections need to happen so that we can reintroduce the aircraft into our fleet."

The incident has also led Boeing to recommended that all 777 planes with a certain engine be grounded, The Associated Press reported on Monday. The plane United Airlines confirmed on Twitter that they'll be following the recommendation.

United debris
Credit: CHET STRANGE/AFP via Getty Images

United is the only U.S. airline with that plane and engine combination in its fleet. But the AP reported Japan has also grounded the planes, noting an incident in December in which an engine in the PW4000 family suffered damage to the engine case and missing fan blades on a Japan Airlines flight from Naha to Tokyo. Stricter inspections were ordered following that incident.

Additionally, the NTSB said it would analyze the United cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder as part of its investigation as well as look at maintenance records.

The incident comes just months after the FAA cleared the Boeing 737 Max to fly again after nearly two years on the ground. It completed its first passenger flight in December.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.