United 787 bound for Los Angeles diverts to Chicago after bomb threat

A United Airlines Boeing 787-10 approaches to land.
Adam Moreira (AEMoreira042281), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A United Airlines scheduled service operating from Newark New Jersey to Los Angeles was forced to make a precautionary diversion to Chicago O’Hare airport after an in-flight security issue involving a bomb threat on 21 February, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

United UA1533 Newark-Los Angeles

United Airlines flight UA1533, the Boeing 787-10 operating from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) conducted the unscheduled diversion to Chicago following the revelation of a bomb threat in-flight.

Flight data for the service shows that flight UA1533 made a normal on-time departure out of Newark just after 6:30 AM local time; setting course for Los Angeles and climbing to cruising level FL360 (36,000 feet).

Bomb Threat Discovered

According to the news source ABC7 New York, a source revealed that the aircraft was diverted the written bomb threat had been discovered in one of the aircraft lavatories whilst the flight was en route.

The flight subsequently made a descent and diverted to nearby Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

Whilst confirming details remain scant, it is understood that the flight was classified as a ‘Level Two’ threat; an FAA classification which suggests a passenger physically engaging with others on board an aircraft.


The flight subsequently landed at Chicago O’Hare airport and was met by police and emergency assets including fire trucks and ambulances.

The 211 passengers and crew were then disembarked and taken via a bus to a secure area. The statement by the FBI Chicago Field office following the incident said: “There is no indication that there is an imminent threat to public safety or the facility itself at this time.”

The aircraft subsequently continued to the destination of Los Angeles (LAX), after being checked and cleared by security.

The aircraft operating Wednesday’s UA1533 service was a Boeing 787-10 registered N12006; a 4-year old widebody aircraft belonging to the US carrier United Airlines.

It is understood that both the FBI and the FAA are now investigating the security incident.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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