American Airlines 3670: The flight that took the scenic route (aka got lost)

On January 14, 2021, the passengers of American Airlines Flight 3670 were in for an unexpected treat when their flight decided to take the scenic route, and by scenic route, we mean got lost. The flight was scheduled to take off from Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and arrive at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, but it had other plans.

Buckle up, folks! This is a story about a flight that got lost and a journey that left everyone scratching their heads.

The Details of the Flight

American Airlines Flight 3670 was operated by Mesa Airlines, a regional airline that operates flights on behalf of American Airlines. The aircraft was an Embraer 175, a popular regional jet for short-haul flights.

The flight took off from Houston at 2:09 PM. The plan was to fly north to Dallas and land at 3:15 PM. However, the flight’s path took an unexpected turn when it started flying in a completely different direction.

At 2:22 PM, the flight started heading north-east instead of north-west. The flight continued on this path until it reached South Carolina, much to the surprise of the passengers on board.

The Confusion Among Passengers

As the flight continued to venture off course, confusion and concern quickly spread among passengers. Passengers started to question the flight attendants about why the flight was not heading towards Dallas as planned.

One passenger, Avery Porch, captured the confusion on video and posted it on social media. In the video, the flight attendants are seen trying to calm the passengers down by saying that they are aware of the flight’s deviation from the flight plan and that they are working to get the flight back on track.

In the video clip that went viral, Porch is heard saying, “So, we just wanted to know where we are” to which the flight attendant responds, “We don’t have an accurate update as far as where we are. We just know that we’re heading to Dallas.” (At least they knew where they were going, we guess!)

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The Flight’s Diversion

The confusion onboard the flight came to an end when the pilot announced that the flight had been diverted to South Carolina due to a “maintenance issue.”

The pilot, Captain Eric Billings, made the decision to divert the flight to Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Columbia, South Carolina. The airport was chosen due to its proximity to Charlotte, North Carolina, where the maintenance issue could be resolved.

The passengers were then directed to collect their luggage, and they would be on their way to Charlotte on a new aircraft, but not before a four-hour delay.

The Aftermath

The incident with American Airlines Flight 3670 received widespread media attention due to the unusual circumstances surrounding the flight. American Airlines released a statement to address the incident, stating that the flight had been diverted due to a maintenance issue and that the passengers had been rebooked on another flight to their final destination.

This statement did not satisfy the passengers, who were left wondering why the flight had taken such an unusual path. The FAA also got involved and launched an investigation into the flight.

Theories on Why the Flight Got Lost

There were many different theories floating around on why American Airlines Flight 3670 got lost. Some speculated that it was due to a navigation malfunction, while others thought that it was due to human error.

One theory suggested that the flight’s crew may have entered the wrong coordinates into the aircraft’s navigation system. Another theory was that the aircraft’s navigation system malfunctioned and that the flight crew was not aware of the deviation from the planned route until it was too late.

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However, the most popular theory comes from aviation expert, Jerry Karnes. Karnes noted that the area around the airport was experiencing heavy fog, and it is possible that the aircraft’s navigation system may have picked up an incorrect signal due to the weather conditions.

Lessons Learned

Although the incident with American Airlines Flight 3670 was a rare occurrence, there are some valuable lessons that can be learned from it. Firstly, it is essential to have a backup plan when things go wrong. Passengers were delayed for four hours, but they were eventually rebooked on another flight to their destination.

Secondly, it is important to communicate effectively with passengers. The flight attendants did a good job of trying to calm the passengers down, but they were not able to provide accurate information about the flight’s path.

Finally, the incident highlights the importance of proper communication and training for flight crews. These professionals are responsible for the lives of hundreds of people, and it is crucial that they are trained to handle any situation that may arise.

The Impact on American Airlines

The incident with American Airlines Flight 3670 received widespread media attention, and it is likely that there will be a negative impact on the airline’s reputation. Passengers may be hesitant to fly with American Airlines in the future due to concerns about safety and reliability.

American Airlines issued a statement to address the incident, but it remains to be seen if this will be enough to repair any damage to the airline’s reputation.

The Impact on Mesa Airlines

As the operator of the flight, Mesa Airlines has also come under scrutiny for the incident. Mesa Airlines is a regional airline that operates flights on behalf of American Airlines, but it is a separate company.

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The incident will likely have a negative impact on Mesa Airlines’ reputation, with passengers and industry experts questioning the company’s safety and reliability.

The Final Destination

Despite the unexpected detour and the confusion among passengers, American Airlines Flight 3670 eventually arrived at its final destination, although four hours late. Although the passengers may not have appreciated the delay, they did get to experience a scenic route that they would never forget.


American Airlines Flight 3670’s unexpected detour left everyone scratching their heads. Although the incident was rare, there are valuable lessons that can be learned from it. Proper communication, training, and having a backup plan are crucial for handling any unforeseen circumstance in flights.

So, if you’re ever flying American Airlines, just remember that you might be in for a scenic route, and if you do get lost, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.


  • Black, C. (2021, January 15). American Airlines Flight Goes From Houston To South Carolina. CBS Dallas / Fort Worth.
  • Gelber, A. (2021, January 15). American Airlines defends regional carrier after flight was diverted. Travel Weekly.
  • Fournier, J. (2021, January 15). Lessons from American Airlines flight 3670. Retrieved February 10, 2021, from