Saturday, January 23, 2010

Knowing that something was wrong with the airplane before our flight

We arrived by car at KCI airport in Kansas City Missouri on January 9th, late morning. Our flight was to leave in the mid afternoon, but we arrived very early to turn in our bags for the flight and then we sat in the waiting area for a few hours before our flight was scheduled to leave. Everything seemed fine to me, no issues, then probably 10 or 15 minutes before they began loading the plane, I got a strong feeling that something was wrong with our plane. I immediately wrote it off as just anxiety because I hadn't flown for a few years. But I got another strong feeling in my gut that something just wasn't right, something was wrong with the plane. I tried not to think much about it. I know that flying is very safe, and rarely does anything go wrong with a plane. It was a strong enough feeling that I mentioned it to my wife. I told her "I'm getting the feeling that something is wrong with the plane." She can attest to this, and has when I told my parents about what happened.

So we board the plane a few minutes later, then we are just sitting there for quite a while on the plane, sitting just off of the runway. The pilot comes over the speaker and says that we are waiting for the de-icing truck to come by to de-ice the plane before we can take off. Was this what I was picking up earlier? I didn't really even think at that time, much about it, de-icing is a regular thing when it is below freezing. They de-ice the plane a few minutes later, and we take off, without issue. A few minutes into the flight we kept hearing a lot of loud noises under the plane, noises we hadn't heard before on previous flights. My wife and I looked at each other like, "What is going on?" Then again a few minutes later, more noises, so I said to my wife, "I don't remember it being this loud before when we've flown." She said, "It wasn't"

Just after this I heard a lady a few rows up say that we have leveled out, we aren't climbing anymore. I also had noticed this and was wondering why we stopped climbing. We were flying fairly low, heading south over the Kansas City metropolitan area. A few moments later the pilot comes over the speaker and says, "We are having some difficulties getting the landing gear to go completely back up into the plane, we will troubleshoot the problem and get it fixed shortly." Immediately I get this feeling, "That won't work, it's not going to go back up into the plane, we will be going back to the airport, we can't fly with the gear sticking out at all." A few moments later, we hear some more loud noises under the plane. Then the pilot comes over the speaker again, "We are still working on the issue with the landing gear on one side. This may delay our arrival into Atlanta." So my little voice kicks in, "No, we are going back to the airport." It was less than a minute later, again the pilot says, "We've been instructed to turn around and come back to the airport. The landing gear is going down just fine, we won't have any problems landing safely back at the airport. They will troubleshoot the problem and then be back on our way to Atlanta."

Well, this is strange as you can see. I over hear a lady speaking with the flight attendant saying, "Does this ever happen?" The flight attendent says, "Well occasionally things happen where we have to return to the airport." I could tell by the way she said it, that this type of thing doesn't happen. The same lady says, "Have you ever been working when the landing gear didn't work properly?" The flight attendent said, "No, this is the first time for me" This looked and seemed like a lady that had been doing this for quite some time. So the pilot had acted like we would stay on board, they would fix the issue and we would then take off, reaching Atlanta still well within our alotted time frame. I start feeling like, "No, we are getting off of this plane, this plane is grounded for the day." Then the pilot informs those passengers who were connecting to flights out of Atlanta to exit the plane. To which I get, "Yeah, we are all getting off of this flight." Right after I think that, the pilot comes back and says,
"I've just been notified, all passengers exit the plane, this plane is grounded for the day." Did he just say "grounded for the day?" Just as the feeling was relayed to me "grounded for the day" So the strangeness continued. It seemed everytime that a statement was made, I got the message somehow, that what was just said, wasn't what would happen.

Then all the passengers were in line back at the airport after exiting the plane. They were saying that we would be scheduled for flights out of Kansas City going to Atlanta. Right after they said that to us, I get another impression, "We won't be on a flight to Atlanta today or tonight." Meaning that my wife and I wouldn't be on a flight to Atlanta today. Sure enough, the last flight going to Atlanta for the day, we were among approximately 20 passengers, who didn't get a seat on that last flight going to Atlanta. We did get to watch it exit the loading dock and move onto the runway.

This is all weird I know, imagine being the one getting the messages. So they reschedule us on US Airways, from Kansas City to Charlotte. We land in Charlotte, and I told my wife, "They won't get our bags onto our flight tonight from Charlotte to Ft. Lauderdale." We land in Ft. Lauderdale that night, everyone is walking down to the baggage claim, and it hits me again, "Our bags won't be there." And I felt like "Why are we even walking over to the baggage claim area?" Sure enough, no bags, none for us anyway. We didn't get our bags until noon the next morning, just before we had to board the ship for our Cruise.

I know, none of this makes any rational sense, but these are the facts, these are the messages that I somehow got along the way on our adventure from Kansas City to the Ft. Lauderdale airport.

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