Travel Nightmares: Anecdotes
These came from Aubrey Kagan - Engineering manager at Emphatec Inc.
1. I was flying from Ottawa to Toronto (55 minute flight) on a Air Canada 737 when at the mid-point of the flight there was this huge bump, and the plane felt like car running on its rims over a road with potholes. The co-pilot came out to reassure us and to check since she kept peering out the window. She actually stayed with us for the rest of the flight. After the captain shut down the one engine (leaving us with only one) we continued on to Toronto, since anywhere else would have been the same difference. It seemed largely anti-climactic, but I have never been on a plane that stopped so quickly and been surrounded by so many fire truck and ambulances. On the up side, I was so impressed by the crew that I wrote a letter to Air Canada. For several years after that every time I flew I got bumped to business class except once when I got bumped to first (Toronto –London). It was great!
2. The South African Airways flight from Johannesburg (South Africa) to New York sometimes goes via Dakar (Senegal). The first leg is about 9 hours, followed by about 13 to New York. Just after takeoff when the seat belt signs had been turned off the captain made an announcement which went to the best of my recollection like this: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I don’t wish to point fingers, but someone on the ground crew did not set some valves correctly and none of the toilets on the plane will flush. I would appreciate it if you could hold it until we land in Dakar where we can put matters to right.” It wasn’t April 1 either! They did manage to figure out how to change the valves while in flight after about an hour to much applause.
3. This did not happen to me, but the same flight on the week after I took it. When the South African Airways flight landed in Dakar (as above) the plane clipped some obstacle with its wing inflicting minor damage. The passengers were flown 9 hours back to Johannesburg so that they could start the flight from scratch.
Editor’s note: I had a similar experience to this last one on an Air China flight from Hong Kong to Beijing. We had been flying for perhaps 3 hours when the pilot said that the radar system on the plane was not working. He assured us that normally this would not have been a problem except for they were heading straight into a storm and the radar would be very helpful to them, so they had decided to return to Hong Kong to get it fixed. 3 hours back, a couple of hours while they found a replacement plane and then another 3 hours to get back to where we were. By the time we got there, the storm had passed.
Brian Bailey – keeping you covered
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