Southwest Airlines Pilot Attempts “Terrifying” Landing

Found this article thanks to a friend in the FVA Slack. Did some reading up and was horrified at Southwest.
I’m not curious at the airline per say but the pilots choice to try and land. What are your thoughts on the situation?

Passengers were vomiting and screaming as FAs said to ‘pull your seatbelts tight’”

It doesn’t matter the airline in my opinion. Even if F9 did this I’d still be wondering what was going on through their heads. I read the whole article and did some research on what was happening in this particular event. I took the context in its very form.
The entire airport and all flights in knew about the storms and warnings for tornado activity. Most flights were fine but this one pilot, despite all the warnings and weather long before landing, still tried to land. He ended up diverting and causing a delay.


So this pilot still couldn’t land at his destination?

They ended up landing at MSY 4 hours late from what I understand.

1 Like

Either this a bad pilot or extremely severe weather

1 Like

I’d say it’s a combo of both. Admittedly, weather was really bad but the pilot knew that ahead of time, he knew what the winds and storms were like, and still tried to land.

1 Like

Thing is, the pilot DID land the plane and everybody aboard got out safe and alive. If the plane can still fly, it was a good landing. They (pilots) knew exactly what they were doing.

As aviation enthusiasts who only sit and around and fly on IF, I believe we don’t have the rights to say a ‘this is a bad pilot’. Do you work for an airline? Do you have the lives of 130 people in your hands? Do you know how much hard work it takes to become an airline pilot? But most importantly, do you know how to land a Boeing 737 in severe weather?


I have trouble believing that the pilots would attempt a landing beyond the wind limitations as outlined by the manufacturer. The plane can survive a lot more punishment compared to the people in it. The pilots made the call to give the approach a shot, didn’t like it, went around since they weren’t comfortable, diverted and made it back safe. It seems like everything was done by the book and they tried to make a story out of pilots following SOP.

Bottom line: I fail to see the issue here.

  1. Most people aren’t pilots.
  2. Most people aren’t pilots.
  3. Southwest doesn’t control Mother Nature
  4. This isn’t frightening. They made an approach and couldn’t land. Big deal it happens folks. Divert land and get the pax a hotel room and try again tommrow. Dangerous No. Frightening. Maybe too some. Southwest fault nope.
    Everyone chill out. K thanks

I agree with @N1DG. The passengers are totally over reacting. Did they die? No. Is the aircraft damaged? No. I have been on a very windy approach to EHAM and the plane actually felt like a roller coaster. No one complained, no one was crying. Sometimes people gotta chill. :P

1 Like

In my opinion, I don’t think I can judge the pilots. I am not(yet) a pilot nor was I in the cockpit on that flight.

The pilots tried to land then went around since the conditions were unbearable. These are good pilots.

A good landing is one which everyone walks away from and which the aircraft can be used.


Gotta love the media. If this approach was so terrifying as it was make out to be. Why does the pilot get blamed, wouldnt ATC have to give the ok to land? And stop blaming the airline. That’s the worst part. Now everyone thinks southwest is a unsafe airline cause one flight that was “scary” and people were screaming. A good landing is one that you can walk away from.

1 Like

I recently got diverted on a flight from Washington DC to Dallas, and trust me, it’s a horrible experience. You usually sit on the ground for at least an hour or so before flying back out. Passengers have connections to make and I nearly missed a flight to Sydney. This could’ve been the reasoning behind these pilots, but upsetting passengers like that isn’t right.

Unless the winds were outside the A/C limitations or SW limitations the pilot is going to attempt an approach, if at any stage they don’t like it throw it away and try again or divert… all that is dependant on fuel. No problem with the pilot actions, done the exact same thing few times. Sometimes you get in sometimes you don’t, that’s the name of the game. If it’s within limits, it’s safe and legal.

Pilots understand if it is safe to land better than the passengers, they didn’t do anything wrong.

1 Like

To me it sounds like those people were scared of flying and in turn freaked out when they didn’t know what was going on.


Thanks for the feedback guys :)

I’d like to see this on FR24, so we can look at the speed/altitude graphs to see just how bad it really was…

Can anyone find it?

1 Like

It’s flight WN3461 - Southwest Airlines flight WN3461 - Flightradar24

Well done @AJH_1994

The Route:

The approach and go around…s:

Speed/Altitude graph:

and in detail

1 Like

I can see the Dash8 pilots at Schipol reading the article and laughing because they dealt with worse but no passenger complaints like this…

1 Like