As I sit here watching JUST PLANE CRAZY, I reflect on a recent flight to Thailand and the excitement, for lack of a better word that unfolded during the flight.
Flight TG245 headed to Krabi, Thailand from Bangkok was on time and ready to land, despite how we got a late start due to the need to “get spare parts for the plane” as the pilot announced. (GET OFF THE PLANE) Oh well, you can’t go wrong having spare parts if needed. So I decided to stay put.
After a decent flight, the pilot announced we would be landing at Krabi Airport in about 10 minutes. We began the descent, and then a turn, and then we were no longer descending! We could see on the monitor that things were not going according to plan. We were definitely not descending, landing, or flying toward Krabi anymore.
Hmmmmmm? Hijacked? Nooooo.
Needed MORE spare parts? Good possibility!
Picked up the WRONG spare parts?
Maybe the pilot was going to come running from the cockpit telling passengers they were going to crash, or perhaps the underpaid flight attendants were going to pour beer on the passengers, then jump out of the emergency exit. Perhaps the air traffic-controllers in the tower had fallen asleep and the pilot couldn’t make contact, not that any of these things could possibly happen! Many thoughts were rushing through my head as to why we were not receiving a message from the pilot or flight attendants. But whatever the reason, we had turned around.
I could see the “Let’s take action” momentum building among the passengers.
The tension and anxiety was building in the faces and posture of the passengers. People began to get up, while others were looking up and over their seats wondering what was going happening. As we continued our journey in the wrong direction anxious passengers wanted an explanation! But none came.
A flight attendant ran down the aisle toward the cockpit, not a good sign, I thought to myself, but at least no beer in hand and he didn’t attempt to jump from the exit door. Minutes later, he came back down the aisle, while anxious passengers were stopping him to enquire about what was happening. The other attendants began visiting with the passengers seated at the exit doors. Not a good sign either! (SHOULD HAVE GOT OFF THE PLANE WHEN THEY TALKED ABOUT NEEDING SPARE PARTS!) Next, they began taking things down from the overhead bin. Blankets? Why do they need blankets? Curious.
Finally an announcement came from the pilot in a foreign language, of course. I am not really sure there were any Thai people on the plane so speaking in English would have been more appropriate. We waited for him to translate. Finally in very broken English the long awaited announcement came. We were looking around at each other asking,”What did he say?” We gathered we were going to an airport with a longer runway because we didn’t have brakes for a safe landing at Krabi!
The lady in the center aisle across from us was having a nervous breakdown, and the lady on the other side of her was watching her with a careful eye, tears running down her face as well. The center aisle lady buried her face in a wet wash cloth provided by the flight attendant. I guess if I had had children on the plane I would have been upset too, especially since we didn’t really know what was going on.
As the flight attendant made his way down the aisle, I stopped him for clarification. I thought he said something was wrong with the wing, but not to worry. OH OK! We don’t need that extra wing, I thought. Besides, we had picked up spare parts before we left. Maybe that was one of them.
Still not much clarification.
Somebody else said it was the hydraulic system, but regardless of what the diagnosis was, we needed a long runway to land.
Was it too much to wish for “Captain Sully” to be flying our plane right then? After all, he had been deemed a hero for a successful crash landing into the river.
I decided to pull the emergency landing directions out of the pocket of the seat in front of me and get a refresher course on how to get the life jacket to work, just in case! Then a funny smell appeared, somewhat like that of when your radiator overheats. It smelled hot. Oh, I forgot to mention the air condition was not operable during this flight. I guess they forgot that spare part.
After about an hour the pilot announced that we would be beginning our descent into the Bangkok airport. We had returned from where we started. The plane began to descend. There were some nervous people on flight TG245. The landing gear came down with a thud, then we did too!
We found that long runway and skidded to a cockeyed stop somewhere in the middle of it. Applause broke out among the passengers and the lady in the center aisle began to breathe again. My co passenger was disappointed that we didn’t even get to at least go down the slide.
We were met by some red trucks and I am hesitant to say fire engines, as they were just trucks with a small fire extinguisher in the back. After a short time, we were escorted to the terminal by several more trucks.
The flight attendant announced that we would be on our way back to Krabi if they could locate a plane for us. They would keep us posted.
Meanwhile, we take our belongings and head to the waiting area. They offered us soda and water along with cheese and butter sandwiches while we waited. It wasn’t a long wait, thank goodness because cheese an butter sandwiches are disgusting! We got out our boarding passes and boarded the next Thai Airlines flight to Krabi, same seat, same flight attendants, and the same pilot, (don’t now about any spare parts). It was kind of like a déjà vu.
This time however, the flight attendants had to give the safety demonstration in person, as the pre recorded safety demo previously shown on the monitor was………. broken! (GET OFF THE PLANE)
Oh Thai Airlines!! Hire some maintenance people. As the flight was finally coming to an end, the pilot announced we would be landing in just a few minutes. The landing gear came down with an even louder THUD than last time. Startled, everyone looked around, but this time the pilot was quick to respond with, “The loud sound is normal, worry less.”
And we landed.
In the end, there was no compensation, and no double air miles, only cheese and butter sandwiches. But I guess we had a pilot with enough common sense to know there were hundreds of people on board for which he was responsible and decided the safest thing to do was turn around and find a long runway.