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Amusing and curious incidents as a passenger.

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Amusing and curious incidents as a passenger.

Old 7th Jan 2008, 07:28
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I can't understand why the skipper of 737 (with only one tiller) could blame the co-pilot for attempting a take off?

Rwy in Sight
The RH Tiller is an option (No idea whether BA excercsied this option thou)
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 07:30
  #22 (permalink)  
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Landed at LAX many moons ago after a very fast Pacific crossing. Apparently too fast for Immigration, because we were kept on the plane so long they showed us an Abbot and Costello movie on the ground. Which was either kind, or unnatural punishment.

Also, sat in 4A on a KLM 747 halfway across Russia while they pulled the floor up and sent someone down to play with some kit.

And I've mentioned this before, but at Boston en route to Europe, I have a very tight transit but NW staff very kindly rushed me from one plane and bundled me onto the next. Unfortunately there'd been a gate change and I was put on a flight to Montreal.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 09:39
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The only time I requested a voluntary downgrade

Was in WTP once with British Airways to that tasteful holiday paradise, Joo-Buy. WTP seems to attract the more Blingtastic passenger I have noticed. As ever, BA managed to split everyone up, including a rather excitable family "goin' to va Boorj" and keen to share their exciting plans with the rest of us. Dad stuck at the back shoutin', everyone else dotted around the front. Well the FA duly started the process of moving volunteers around. "Nah fanx" says Dad "I'm happy here", stays put (!)

In the meantime their 2 young brats were isolated either side of me in the front bulkhead row, centre section ugh, peanuts whizzing past my face.

I spotted mum, over in 28B in splendid isolation. "Do you want to swap so you can be with your boys?", I ventured. "Nah fanx" again, big G&T, eyeshades on, and the old cow reclined for the next 7 hours in that glorious single seat.

Dad did nothing except wake everyone up shouting from the back row "you are banned from your Scalextric for 6 months" etc. kids start crying.

This was the first time I ever saw parents who actually wanted to be apart from their kids, 7 hours later I knew why!
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:12
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I flew to Lhr from Mombasa in 1993,via Nairobi.
I remember being irritated,as the flight was delayed for a good hour,and observed an ambulance from the departure lounge window delivering someone on a stretcher to the parked 747.
Time to board,and i was seated toward the back of the aircraft.
I spent the rest of the flight feeling so sorry for the man who was laid on the stretcher across 3 rows of seats,in front of me.
Nurses had him curtained off to the side against the aisle,and a bit round seat C,but i could see him for the full duration of the flight,and saw the terrible pain he was in.
A few years later,i was watching a documetary on t.v.,and instantly recognised this face.
The very brave man on the flight,was no other than Richard Leaky,a well known paleontologist and conservationist,who had survived a terrible light aircraft crash in Kenya.
Richard lost his legs as a result of this accident,however is alive and well living in Kenya.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 23:25
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Oh dear, there are so many stories.....

Here goes one of my favourites:
The year is circa 78, and I am on a BWIA flight from Trinidad to NY. Flight was sold as non-stop, however proceeded to land in Antigua. I kind of liked what I saw during the approach and, once on the ground, asked a CC if I could leave the flight here (and change my ticket). Sure enough, she walked to the terminal to check re the ticket, briefly consulted with the captain and said 'sure, if you can find your luggage!' Next thing I know I am in the belly of a 707 (I think, could also have been a 727), rummaging around for my backpack. Found it in due course, hopped out of the cargo hold and walked to the terminal. From the open cockpit window the captain shouted a 'have a good time!' and waved......

Those were the days.........
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 17:57
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Flying out of Saudi with BCAL in early 80,s was asked by CC if I would like a drink, ordered G&T which arrived in a large glass with extra bottles !. Questioned as to why such a large drink, I was kindly told that they "always served doubles when leaving the Kingdom Sir".

Also flying with BOAC back from Rome in the early 1960,s in "Whispering Giant" (Bristol Britania), took off into a Thunderstorm when other aircraft had returned to their gates. Had severe turbalance, St Elmo,s fire all over wing, lost engine in shower of sparks, CC being ill / injured (my mother helped serve the meal later in flight and received letter from BOAC managment and 10 cheque for her help). I was only 4 but thought it the best flight I had been on to date, much to my parents amazment. However after climbing out of the weather after 25min, the anouncment from flight deck was apologetic, but was clarified by saying that he had been in far worse over Berlin in 43-44, and that we should be made of sterner stuff being British !. Oh for the days of Empire
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 18:09
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Braathens SAFE fly Oslo - Kristiansund - Stavanger - Bergen - Oslo (or they used to). Kristiansund is a small airport where you can see the apron from the temrinal building.

'Due to an incident on the incoming flight there will be a delay to the Stavanger flight.'

The plane taxis in. An ambulance arrives. What is very obviously a stiff is carried down the steps. The blanket blows away - a little old lady.

'Would any standby passengers for Stavanger please report to the check-in desk.'

One seat free. The Norwegians all stood back, a Brit took the one available seat.
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Old 8th Jan 2008, 18:12
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In the late 70's my mum 'n dad flew to Canada, to visit her long lost brother. They were both in their mid 60's and my mum had never flown before. To get mum on the 'plane dad topped her up with whisky and managed to get her settled into her seat. However when she wanted to visit the loo she insisted my dad go with her and stand outside with the door slightly ajar so she could see him. He managed to convince the CC he was just obeying orders!
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Old 9th Jan 2008, 02:49
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Approx 1970. Early flight (0630) from Sydney to Canberra - full of public servants visiting the federal government for the day. The flight was operated by TAA - then a government owned airline. Plane loads, then sits at the gate for half an hour. Finally the door closes and we taxy out.

The captain comes on the PA to explain. "While we were doing our pre-flight checks a litlle light on the dashboard failed to light up. This could mean one of two things - either we have a problem with the aircraft, or the lightglobe is broken. Those of you who have tried to get something out of stores at 6:30 in the morning will appreciate the problem we have had. However, I would ask you to have some sympathy for the passengers on flight 123 to Melboune, because when their crew do their pre-flight checks there is a little light on the dashboard that will fail to light up ......"
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Old 9th Jan 2008, 11:30
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BA flight AMS to LHR, a stormy winter evening in 2006.

Everyone on board, captain comes on the PA. PAX are no doubt expecting the usual announcement in plummy home counties tones that the flight will take x minutes, safety is our priority blah blah.

Instead he asks that those of us with a Daily Mail should turn to page 5 and read the report about the Virgin aircrew and pax recently injured when a plane encountered severe turbulence over the Atlantic. "This is why", he says in a rather irritated tone, "we ask you to keep your seatbelts fastened at all times when seated".

Unorthodox, but the cabin crew's safety demo received a lot more attention than usual

I also remember him annnouncing to the cabin crew after, I guess, receiving an unexpectedly direct routing into LHR, that it was "10 minutes to landing 2 minutes ago"

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Old 10th Jan 2008, 20:36
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AA morning departure from ORD to LHR in December. Crowded gate area, no 777 outside, departure time starts to slip. Informed that FAA was inspecting the A/C across the APO in a hanger, but not to worry as crew hours were not an issue and that the curfew would be extended at LHR in case we were a little late.

More standing arround, still no 777. Finally told to go to a nearby gate where a different 777, originally bound for NRT, would become ours instead. Luggage, etc, moved over to the new gate. More standing around.

Then, an announcement to begin boarding but, strangely, economy first as "cleaners" were still working on the first and business cabins. Also asked to have passport in hand when presenting boarding pass. Much confusion and consternation among business and first passengers.

Begin boarding. Passports not physically inspected, but two men in jeans and fleece jackets, more British than American in appearance, along with a uniformed ICE official, stood watching intently as we presented boarding passes.

Sat on plane. Economy filled, then finally business and first. Sat and waited some more. A couple, man and woman, then got on very late, the woman sat a couple rows in front of me in the A seat near the front of economy. Man sat on the far side of the plane somewhere. One of the jeans-wearing men wanders through the cabin.

Further assurances that crew hours and curfew not a problem. Pushed back, deicing begins. Deicing suddenly stops, A/C pushed forward again, doors disarmed.

Flight attendant calls on PA for a woman, whose name I forget, to press her call button. No call button pressed. Flight attendant asks again. No response. Flight attendant approaches aforementioned woman in A seat and asks her if she is the person she is looking for. No apparent response. Asks a couple more times before response in the affirmative.

Flight attendant asks woman to follow her, with all her belongings, which she does. Male companion also marched off plane. Flight attendant returns to go through seat back pocket, overhead compartment, and under seats confirming with other pax that nothing was left on board.

Sit on plane some more. Captain gets on PA - has bad news, in fact, very bad news. Curfew can no longer be extended, AA has cancelled the flight, please don't be mean to the cabin crew, it's not their fault. Cue much grumbling and profanity. Entire plane debarks, passing the male passenger who had been taken off, stood outside the door with the ICE official, hands behind his back. AA rebooking desk looked like the seventh circle of hell with 10 minutes.
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Old 10th Jan 2008, 23:11
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Curious Things

Ok, first post here! Anyway I do travel fairly often for business into Mexico and have had a few "curious" experiences.

1) I make the flight from San Jose Del Cabo to San Diego pretty often. I always take this trip on the same major Mexican airline. On every departure from SJD we have always taken off to the North. This one time we took off south with a very slow gradual ascent and then if I had to guess, we stayed under 7-10,000' for a very long time. Looking out the window we were following the coast all the away around the southern tip of Baja and then followed it for a very long time heading north. After about an hour we seemed to hit cruising altitude. As I said, I take this flight ALOT so I know the normal pattern into SAN. Anyway instead of the normal turn NE then loop back to SW for approach we began our descent while still over Mexico - looped West over the ocean and went straight in from to the east. Till this day I don't know the why we took this low and odd route but it was very unnerving! Also for some reason, there was no beverage service on the flight when there usually is.

2) Same carrier, same airports. Just loaded in SJD, waiting to push off and suddenly several Federales and airport security rush on to the plane with machine guns!!! The ramp agent approached a mid aged American couple and told them to deplane - the couple was refusing and then another guy a couple rows back jumps up and says that he is thier Lawyer and they are not getting off the plane. Long story short, these people came to Mexico for a gray market adoption of a baby. The baby did not have papers to travel to USA. Still a little scary seeing big men in green uniforms in a foriegn country on your airplane but the couple, baby and lawyer deplaned shortly after.

3) Idiot me left my Ipod on my seat when I went to the head - guess what wasn't there when I got back?
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Old 11th Jan 2008, 05:32
  #33 (permalink)  
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Here are a couple of my faves:

1) Flying on an Airlink flight from Detroit to Traverse City on a Saab 340. We get about halfway when we have to shut down an engine (this goes just like the Ron White blue-collar comedy bit), and have to turn back to Detroit. There are three of us on this flight, and sure enough, one of them asks "How far can we go on one engine?" And I just HAD to use Ron's answer: "Oh, about as far as the scene of the crash. I bet we beat the paramedics there by half an hour..." Poor girl was shocked. But the rest of the passengers had heard the bit before and had a laugh.

2) Flying Frontier from DEN to MDW, I could see we were coming in too high (I fly into Chicago a lot, and I get used to seeing the common approaches). Sure enough, although PF made a valiant effort to dive toward the runway, we ended up hitting the gas for a go around. Cue a lot of grumbling and grousing from the pax, until a brilliant FA got on the PA and said "Sorry folks, but the Captain was so happy to get here we're doing a victory lap."

I use that one any time I'm on a flight that has a go around now. Always eases the mood of the seatmates around me.

3) Just a couple weeks ago flying from LAS to ORD in cruddy wx (snow, slush, etc.), we were on final and just crossing the airport perimeter when we hit the throttles for the go around (cue my "Victory Lap" statement). No comment from the flight deck until many minutes later as we circle back around, and the Captain says "Sorry for the inconvenience, folks, but we had an aircraft taxi across our runway as we were landing." Once we're finally down and parked, the Cap'n comes out to say his goodbyes as usual, and he decides to let everyone know who to thank for the delay as we disembark: "Thanks for flying with us. Thank Virgin for cutting across our path. Have a good night. Remember, it was Virgin Atlantic that made us go around. Good night. Send a note to Richard Branson, thanking him for the delay. Thanks for flying..."
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Old 11th Jan 2008, 12:48
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One Captain's welcome speech a few years ago. He rounded off his cabin crew introduction with the phrase "...so you'll be well looked after - they're a great bunch of kids!" Made them sound like the Scooby Doo gang.

I'd always wondered what "bridling with indignation" looked like, but the CC in front of us put on a great practical display under their fixed smiles.

Bet I know who had their coffee "augmented" that flight...
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Old 11th Jan 2008, 19:50
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Not actually on board but the boarding process.
Flying out of Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) about 5 years ago. Jeddah airport - even at the best of times is a zoo with people everywhere and no seperate departure gates, just a huge open hall with doors with gate numbers above them so you can walk down the steps to get into a bus to go an find your plane.
Anyway the screens are showing gate 29 as the gate for our flight and closer to the time the press of people is getting bigger and bigger then over the PA come the announcement "Flight so and so (can't remember the number) is now boarding from gate 28, there is a swarm of people as they pick up their 20kgs of carry on baggage and push and shove their way to gate 28, then about 4 minutes after that another PA announcement "Flight so and so departing from gate 27" - another huge swarm of people down the terminal then after about 5 minutes another PA announcement "Flight so and so departing from gate 29...................except this time they had got some ropes and security up and they finally ended up with a nice long orderly queue of passengers...................never seen anything like it before - or again
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Old 11th Jan 2008, 22:59
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This was a fun trip.

Flying LON (can't remenber if it's LHR or LGW) to SEZ in 1997 with BA (747-200). We're all boarded and sitting (un)comfotably for the flight........

Intercom : "BING-BONG - doors to Automatic"

Our ears pop, so I assume tha cabin was pressurising, we settle down for TO when we get ...

Intercom : "BING-BONG - doors to Manual"

Me to Mrs drichard : "they've forgotten the captains sandwiches!"

1 min later

Intercom : "BING-BONG - doors to Automatic"

shortly followed by

Intercom : "BING-BONG - doors to Manual"

shortly followed by

Intercom : "BING-BONG - doors to Automatic"

shortly followed by

Intercom : "BING-BONG - doors to Manual"

Then silence.

By now I'm curious and so are most of the cabin. Then they open one of the doors and on walks a mechanic. We know he's a mechanic, he's covered in oil, is wearing a green dayglo jacket that's seen better days and is carrying a toolbox. He heads off towards the front.

30 minutes pass..... slowly ..... very slowly .... I need the loo !!!!

Suddenly, our friendly engineer deplanes, the doors are closed and we get ...

Intercom : "BING-BONG - doors to Automatic"

And we're off! Shorly after TO, an announcement from the FO goes along the lines ... "Good evening ladies and gentlemen, xxx here, we apologise for the delay in getting away, it was caused by the Captains' seatbely jamming with him in his seat".

It made us smile anyway.

Coming back was memorable for other reasons. 20 mins after TO we get the dreaded announcement "If there is a Dr. of medicine on board, could they please make themselves known to the cabin crew". At this point I expected us to either dump and return to SEZ or divert to somewhere like Nairobi. Fortunately, there were 3 Drs and the flight continued to the UK. It appeared that a passenger had collapsed and was now laid out in the rear galley! (I saw this with my own eyes).

Later, during the meal service I experienced one of the worst examples of british attitudes to foreigners. (Configuration was 3-3-3, I was in G, Mrs drichard was in H, and a french lady was sat in J). When the cabin attendant came to offer drinks, it became apparent the the lady in J spoke no english. I explained this to the CC who simply spoke a lot louder and slower (AKA Basil Fawlty). I speak pidgeon French and managed to translate, but I was totally ashamed by the actions of the CC. This flight was probably 50% english, 40% french, and 10% other nationalities, at the time it seemed inappropriate that the CC couldn't even offer a basic "Vin Rouge?" or "Vin Blanc" to the passenger.
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Old 12th Jan 2008, 06:43
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The other year, I'm on my 60th BA flight of the year, LHR - PHX in WTP. Before take off, CSD comes along with a glass of champagne for me, and so the Austrian lady beside me wouldn't feel left out, one for her too. They kept feedin me champagne all the way over, but it's the most unusual (and excellent service!) I've ever seen.
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Old 12th Jan 2008, 16:13
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2 more

Aeromexico Saab, Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara to connect to a big jet to SAN. Normal take off then at about 2000' the AC suddenly cuts power to the engines and I experience that momentary feeling of weightlessness as we start descending. The CAP comes on and says something in Spanish that I can't understand. Guy next to me translates that a Mexicana 737 over ran the runway in Guadalajara and they closed the airport. We land back at P.V. and I got to drink at the bar for 2 more hours before we go again. When we land the 737 is still there at the end of the runway with collapsed nose gear sitting in the mud - a strange sight.

Several years ago, twin prop (don't remember the type, probably a Saab) SPI to DFW. Early morning flight with only about 4 pax. Very bad weather - female CAP comes on to tell us that we have to "go around the weather" and the flight will take about an hour longer than scheduled but not to worry as we have plenty of fuel. About 10 minutes later we hear and feel a loud "thump" from the rear of the plane then suddenly lose altitude very quickly. I am convinced that I am about to meet my maker. After a few minutes the CAP tells us that she suspects a piece of ice broke off the plane and hit the tail fin and that she "thinks" we will be ok. 2 hours later we have a safe landing at DFW - 3 hours in the air for a 1 hour flight.
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Old 12th Jan 2008, 18:33
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Going Heathrow to Oslo some time ago with SAS. Sat next to a lady who was visiting her husband, who was working there. On pushback she asked me if we were on a DC10. No, Madam, I replied, it's a DC9, in fact it's an MD87 and virtually brand new. Oh, she said, you know a little about flying, to which I modestly replied ' a little' Tell me, she said, how safe is flying these days. Madam, this is Heathrow. What goes on outside the window happens day in, day out, week in, week, etct.,etc., and nothing bad ever happens. This seemed to calm her down. Eventually we were no.2 for take off behind a TWA Tristar. It set off down the runway, after half a mile, came to an abrupt halt, all the doors and chutes opened, and they chucked everyone off it 'cos it was on fire!!![Air conditioning duct I believe] She didn't speak to me for the rest of the flight!!{No serious damage, but the same aircraft burnt to a cinder on the ground at JFK 3 years later, if I remember correctly]. On the return trip, aisle seat alongside a gorgeous young thing. Got talking, she had never had a flight deck visit. I can arrange that, I toldher. Called a Flight Attendant, who duly spoke to Captain, and said pretty young thing disappeared up front. This will be good for conversation when she gets back thought I. To my complete dejection, she NEVER re-appeared from the Flight Deck, staying up there for the landing, taxiing in, the lot!!! Bet it made the Flight Crew's day, but it sure didn't make mine!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12th Jan 2008, 19:07
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A bit off line but I was once on the green line in Boston and the driver must have had a second job as comedian - he told jokes during the trips, made (friendly but) funny comments on various passengers. It was hilarious, we almost decided to skip the party we were heading to and continue the ride...
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