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Tart Behind The Cart: Emergency Landing

Congratulations to SpeedyRod for winning this week’s TTS Swag!

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SpeedyRod asks: Have you ever been on a flight where it was necessary to make an emergency landing?

Yes I have. I have been a working crew member on two flights and riding as a non-revenue passenger on another flight where it was necessary to make an emergency landing.

The first time it happened an elderly lady was experiencing chest pains. I made an announcement asking for a doctor. No doctors on the flight, but we did have a nurse who helped out. The lady was experiencing a lot of chest pain and having trouble breathing. The nurse was not sure of the seriousness of her condition, but recommended we land as soon as possible. All we could do for the lady was give her water and assure her we were landing soon. Despite her condition she was a very sweet lady and very sorry she was causing a commotion. Luckily we were over Kansas at the time and landed in Topeka. Medical personal meet the plane. After about an hour delay to get fuel and re-dispatched we continued on to Los Angeles.

The second time I was involved in an emergency landing as a working crew member we lost an engine on the way to Hawaii. The pilots later told us the right engine lost oil pressure and they had to shut it down. This slowed down our flight significantly and it was nerve racking knowing we only had one engine left and we were over the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say when we got on the ground in Honolulu and to our crew hotel it was time for cocktail.

The other time I was involved in emergency landing I was riding as a non-revenue passenger on another airline. Airlines generally have a system were a crew member (pilot or flight attendant) can travel on the airline they work for or another airline as long as there is an empty seat.


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I was sitting about mid-cabin when I heard shouting from the first class. The flight attendants working the back of the aircraft quickly walked up to the front of the cabin and grouped around a passenger. I left my seat and walked up to the closest flight attendant, showed my airline ID and asked if I could help.   I was informed a young man was pissed that he could not have any more to drink and was threatening the crew member that had cut him off, talking loud, and getting all kinds of negative attention. This went on for about 10 minutes before I could feel the plane beginning to descend. Two flight attendants keep talking to the enraged man who was not calming down as we descended into Seattle. The man never left his seat, but keep shouting and saying offensive things that I will not repeat here.

I returned to my seat and was not required to assist, but I would have been happy to if I was needed. Even though it was not the airline I work for, a non-revenue passenger is still considered part of the crew.

When we got on the ground and as soon as the cabin door opened, several uniforms rushed into the plane and immediately took the irate man off the plane. Causing a flight to deviate is serious business and I have not doubt this guy spent some time in the gray bar hotel


These are not really considered emergency landings, but I have several times had to land at other than destination airports due to weather. Fog was the culprit a couple of times, thunderstorms a few other times, and an ice storm once going into Pittsburgh. This situation is always a nightmare for a flight attendant. Passengers and flight crew are all irritated by the unscheduled change in plans. Sitting on an airplane with 150 pissed off people feels like being thrust into a den of lions. Most of the time passengers are sympathetic to the situation and understand that shit happens. But there are always a few passengers that need their frickin neck’s ringed! I am now going to my happy place!

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