American Airlines accidentally sent the wrong plane on a five hour flight from Los Angeles to Hawaii, a company spokesman confirmed.
The 31 August incident was first reported by transportation blogger Brian Sumers. The plane was not authorised to fly long distances over open water, but it made the flight safely to Honolulu.
American Airlines spokesman Casey Norton said they were still looking into the cause of the mix-up.
The plane that made the trip, he said, is an Airbus A321S – the same plane as the one that was scheduled to make the trip. The only difference between the two planes was the addition of an “ETOPS” certification, which requires the plane to carry additional equipment overseas.
“It has the same engine, same fuel tanks, same range,” Norton told AFP, but that the scheduled plane – an Airbus A321H – has extra medical oxygen in case of an in-flight medical emergency and an additional fire-suppression canister.
Planes that are flying over water in an area where they will be more than an hour from a possible landing area are required to carry that precautionary equipment and the ETOPS authorisation certifying they are on board, he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration was “immediately notified” of the incident when the company realised it had happened, Norton said, and they have revised their software to “properly identify the correct aircraft are operating the correct routes.”