Navigation system problems grounds two flights in Medford

Medford, Ore. — Allegiant Air customers hit some turbulence in their travel plans on Thursday. An outgoing plane to Los Angeles had to come back to the Rogue Valley, after the aircraft’s navigation system hit a problem. That one morning delay had a domino effect on the rest of the day’s flights.

“My nap is really screwed for the rest of the day,” Magic Kamer said.

Magic Kramer is lucky enough to be able to sleep on a plane, but he didn’t get the chance on Friday.

“We took off on the flight, and about 20-30 minutes later, the pilot came on a told us they had a navigation issue, and we were turning around and coming back to the airport,” Kramer said. “It probably wasn’t a good plane to be staying on.”

Allegiant Air flight 558, carrying 159 customers and crew, radioed into the Medford tower that they were returning. As it turns out, it was the best possible day to do so.

“We had a room full of mutual aide representatives from around the county, we have Providence, Mercy Flights, Medford Police, Fire District Three, our 911 dispatch center,” airport public information officer Kim Stearns said.

The crews were all there for a once a year training day on airplane emergencies, which is exactly what the situation was becoming.

“Called a break for the practice session, and came out and watched it live,” Stearns said.

Once safely on the ground, passengers were sent back to the terminal, and mechanics checked out the plane. Others who’s afternoon flight was affected weren’t as pleased; Kendra Martin and her friends were taking the same plane to Las Vegas later in the afternoon.

“When I got picked up, my best friend, who’s getting married, said that the flight was canceled, and they have no idea when we’re supposed to fly out,” Martin said. “We’re both moms to little ones, so this like our big hurrah out I guess.”

While vouchers were handed out for the tickets and motel stays, passengers were told they were grounded for the rest of the day.

Both flights have been rescheduled for Friday. Flight 5558 to Los Angeles has been rescheduled for 10 am, and flight 5557 to Las Vegas will depart at 1 pm. For the latest flight information out of MFR, click here.

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