Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

No one likes it when a plane has to divert to an airport and make an emergency landing.

But when that plane has to divert twice to the same airport for the same reason on consecutive days, well, there might be one or two extremely irate reactions.

That's what befell American Airlines flight 10 from LAX to JFK this week. 

On a Wednesday night that became Thursday morning, Business Insider reported, the Airbus A321 had to make an emergency landing in Phoenix. The plane had undergone an electrical fault in a chiller. 

Jason Gallus, a passenger on the flight, tweeted that "smoke filled up the cabin."

Smoke happens on planes. It was surely a relief that everyone returned to Earth safely.

Gallus, however, continued on Thursday: 

Then this morning my parents went on the same aircraft flight aa9240 and 20 minutes into the flight had to make another emergency landing. with all the same passengers!! how could you risk peoples lives like this!

Oh.

Naturally, I contacted American Airlines to wonder how the airline saw things. 

A spokesperson told me of the second flight: 

Once airborne from Phoenix, a similar issue involving an odor from the same chiller was noticed by our crew, and the flight returned back to Phoenix. No emergency was declared, and the aircraft landed safely and taxied to the gate. The aircraft is out of service, as our team continues to troubleshoot the source of the odor, which may be a faulty fan.

Sadly, we're into one of those discomfiting moments when the passengers and the airline don't seem to agree.

Gallus insists that "all of the same people were on both flights."

American, on the other hand, told me that "most passengers had already been rebooked on other flights from Phoenix to New York."

Indeed, the airline added that the first aborted flight had 89 people on board, while the second had a mere 43. 

Gallus, though, wasn't the only unhappy passenger. Addisa Gugal offered a troubling alleged reason for the same plane having to make the second flight.

He tweeted

After making an emergency landing last night because the cabin smelled like an electrical fire, American Airlines put us back on the same plane this morning because they 'needed the plane in NY' and we had to make another emergency landing. Complete disregard for passenger safety.

That needed the plane in NY won't sit well with those who sat uncomfortably on both flights. It'll also sound a lot like American's often-stated adoration for operational efficiencies.

It's interesting that some passengers believed both landings were emergencies, while American insists only the first one was.

Still, sometimes passengers exaggerate or even get things a touch wrong.

For example, American Airlines was recently on the receiving end of accusations that it had abandoned a wheelchair-bound passenger at Chicago's O'Hare airport. 

The truth turned out to be slightly different from the story initially told by the passenger's family.

But the same fault on the same plane with at least, it seems, some of the same passengers? On consecutive days? 

I can only hope American put the passengers up somewhere nice.

Published on: Jan 5, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.