Airplane diversions, where an aircraft has to change its destination airport after takeoff due to mechanical, weather, or health reasons, are exceedingly rare.
I’ve been on thousands of flights and have yet to experience one.
The US Department of Transportation shows that just 0.23% of US flights were diverted over the past 15 years (which is the entire length of time that you can search for on their site). That’s 2.3 diversions out of every 1,000 flights.
If you drill down to United Airlines the number drops to 0.22%, while United’s regional partner Republic Airline number is 0.24%.
The United Express Embraer 170 with registration N857RW operated by Republic Airline for United has much worse luck than your typical aircraft.
Let’s call her the Queen of the Hangar.
Typically I seek out United Embraer 170/175 aircraft. I enjoy their comfortable 1-2 first class and 2-2 coach seating much more than other narrowbody airplanes. Plus they have space for wheeled carry-ons and they have GoGo WiFi which I get for free with my AMEX Business Platinum card.
N857RW operated 30 flights from 12/22/18-12/31/18. 6 of those flights (20%) were diverted. That’s 87 times more likely to be diverted than a typical aircraft. The listed reasons were for mechanical issues. It was taken out of service for a few days, but it’s back to operating flights today.
It operated 371 flights from 10/6/18-12/31/18, which is as far back as FlightRadar24 will allow me to search with my Silver membership. 13 of those flights (3.5%) were diverted. Over that period of time it was 15 times more likely to be diverted than a typical aircraft.
Here is a list of the diverted flights that I compiled from over the past 3 months:
How many diverted flights have you been on?