Flight Diverts to Chicago After Co-Pilot Nearly Overworked

Image: American Airlines plane
A US Airways jet passes an American Airlines jet with at O'Hare Airport.Scott Olson / Getty Images, file

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Something unusual happened in the sky last night. A flight had to make a pit-stop in the middle of its trip because one of its crew was going to go over his allowable work time, forcing passengers to do a sleepover in Chicago.

American Airlines flight 223 to Los Angeles was supposed to leave Boston on Sunday night at 8:15 p.m. But poor weather there in advance of another winter wallop delayed departure, said airline spokeswoman Victoria Lupica. According to flight tracking site Flight Aware it didn't leave until 11:22 p.m.

The first officer was then going to exceed his work time so the plane made a planned landing in Chicago, said Lupica, shortly after midnight local time. Passengers were given hotel accommodations and a fresh crew as brought in. The flight left to continue its journey at 7:21 Central Time this morning.

FAA and airline regulations set limits for how long crew members may work using a formula based on when they clock in and how many segments they've run recently. Lupica said having to replace a crew because of exceeding work time didn't happen frequently

"It was brought about by the weather delays in Boston," she said.