A Los Angeles-bound American Airlines flight wound up returning to JFK last night, after just half an hour of sky time. The pilot "declared an emergency" about 15 minutes into the trip and turned that airbus around. Turns out AA Flight 300 had a little bust-up on its way into the air, hitting a runway-adjacent sign that took a tidy bite out of the plane's wing.
One disgruntled passenger, who has since deleted her Twitter account, tweeted about "a big chunk out of the wing [missing]. Ground crew sent us to the lounge and they just don’t care. Way to treat an Exec Plat."
According to American Airlines, the plane—carrying 102 passengers and eight crew members—departed JFK at 8:40 p.m. on Wednesday and was back on the ground at 9:09 p.m., at which point the airline rebooked customers on a different aircraft.
If you were wondering what kind of sign lives on the tarmac, well, same. According to Steve Coleman, a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the plane clipped a "navigational-type sign" that provides directions to pilots taxiing down the runway. It's possible that the plane was not quite centered for takeoff, but the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
American Airlines, meanwhile, had this to say: "Our team is currently reviewing the incident and inspecting the aircraft. We never want to disrupt our customers' travel plans and we are sorry for the inconvenience."
According to Coleman and the airline, no passengers sustained injuries as a result of the collision, and the plane landed safely. Things seem to have felt markedly more precarious on the way up, though.
"The plane veered left when it hit something and then it took a sharp right turn at takeoff where I was on the right side of the plane and I was looking straight down at the ground," Scott Laser, who found himself trapped inside this wobbling tin can, told ABC 7. "I cried the whole way back and many others did also."