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longest flight ever.

Yesterday me and my roommate Nikki went to Portland, OR to visit Voodoo Donuts.. as seen on the Amazing Race, Jay Leno, Anthony Bourdain, Man vs. Food, the list continues.

When we got there it was 25 degrees with a windchill of 12. It literally knocked the breath out of us when we walked outside the airport.

We made it there and spent 15 dollars on donuts.. and got a lot of them. They were, of course, fantastic as promised by all the shows. After this, we made our way back to the airport to catch our flight back to Phoenix. We had dinner and waited for our flight to leave.. there were only about 30 passengers on the whole flight. Here's a timeline showing how horribly wrong the night went.

4:45pm - Board flight. Get settled in. Relax.

5:00pm - Flight pushes back from the gate. I fall asleep.

5:10ish - Flight is airborne. Still asleep.

5:20pm - I wake up suddenly due to a strange pop in my ears and whisper "oh shit." and fall back asleep.

5:30pm - I'm woken up by a little bit of turbulence. The captain comes on the PA and tells us that a little while ago our plane lost pressure at 14,000 feet. That's why all of our ears popped however there's a backup pressurization system that's working just fine so there's no need to panic. We have made a 180 turn and are now going back to Portland to fix the problem. Will update us when we're on the ground

5:30pm-6:10pm - I freak out to Nikki the entire time talking about how we almost crashed and died. We are in disbelief the oxygen masks never deployed. Very scary. Pray that we make it back to Portland and nothing else goes wrong.

6:15pm - We land. Taxi to gate. Pilot tells us we're going to go to the gate, deplane and get a new aircraft.

6:20pm - Arrive at gate. Mechanics come on board to discuss the problem with the pilots. Not allowed to deplane yet.

6:30pm - Flight Attendant makes an announcement saying we are going to "MEL" the problem and going to use the same plane to go to Phoenix. Now, while this term may confuse most people, I work for the airline and know that MEL stands for Minimum Equipment List. When you MEL a problem it means that you list it as broken and are allowed to fly with it broken for only a certain amount of time. All MEL's are only listed if it will not in any way effect anyone's safety at all.. it's just a way for the airline to try to get passengers on their way with as little delay as possible. Freak out a little more.

6:35pm - Pilot gets on again assuring us that he will not be doing anything unsafe. He has a wife and 2 small children at home and wouldn't want anything to happen at all. Very calming, actually.

6:40pm - We are told we are going to get a new plane again. They ask us to gather our belongings and leave the aircraft and head to a different gate.

7pm - We are at the other gate. The inbound aircraft finally lands and deplanes. Then it's time for us to start boarding a 2nd time. They make an announcement before we board saying our new arrival time is about 11:30pm. I look at Nikki and say "I think the news said we're supposed to have some crazy hard rain around then.. I hope we don't divert or anything.

7:15pm - board flight. get settled.

7:30pm - flight is airborne.

10:50pm - It's very turbulent. The wind around Phoenix is knocking us all over the place. The pilot says although the wind is bad we need everyone to be seated, including flight attendants, we're put in a holding pattern with 4 other planes to try to wait out the storm.

11:00pm - pilot informs us that the other planes have diverted. we are going to attempt to land.

11:05pm - insanely turbulent. scary.

11:10pm - turbulence dies down. i look out the window and see phoenix and we're going away from it.

11:20pm - Pilot tells us we gave it a try, however the winds are gusting at 70MPH and that's way outside the limits for an aircraft to land. We are diverting to Ontario.

11:40pm - Land in Ontario. Have to wait for a gate to open up. There's not many gates available.. a lot of aircraft have diverted here that were supposed to be in Phoenix.

11:50pm - find out another flight from Seattle diverted here. Pilot says he is trying to get everyone on the other aircraft to get them to phoenix as quickly as possible.

12:00am - The other aircraft has closed their door. We are going to have to wait for this one.

12:10am - They close our door in preparation for us to leave...yay! New arrival time in Phoenix should be about 2am.

12:30am - Still sitting at the gate waiting for a ramp crew to push the plane back

12:40am - I see the other flight push back a few gates away.. finally.

12:55am - Our flight is pushed back.

1:05am - Flight is airborne for a 3rd time.

+1 hour time change

2:45am - Begin our descent into Phoenix. Incredibly turbulent again. However, can see the ground getting a lot closer outside the window.

3:00am - Land in Phoenix.. finally.

3:05am - Pull up to the gate. Deplane.

It ended up being 6 and a half hours later than we were originally supposed to land. It was a crazy night. the sad part was, as a gate agent, I had worked a delay exactly like this before.. sometime within the past year. And I felt bad for my friends/coworkers working the flight (I should mention this aircraft was scheduled to leave phoenix at 9:20pm.. it finally left at 3:47am.. with a lot of happy passengers.)

Given the choice between being on that flight or being at the airport dealing with customers who are 6.5 hours delayed.. I think i'd take being on the flight

Oh what a night.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 10th, 2009 11:03 pm (UTC)
omg what an insane experience. i'm glad you were ok at the end :)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )