Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hello, this is your Captain Speaking

I am flying through Cathay Pacific, which is a good, solid, safe carrier.  And for those of you who know about Korean Airlines or China Airlines, you know that there is no why I would EVER fly either of those carriers.

So we have a smooth take off, we are in the air, I am slightly inebriated, and the Twilight Movie is one of my many movie selections...I am in my happy place.

Flash forward forty minutes into our flight.  Our Captain gets on the intercom and says, "Hi Folks.  You may have noticed that this flight has been a little loud.  We have been unable to retract our landing gear and we have attempted to bring it up twice.  We have sent the error messages down to ground control and they have advised us to return to SFO.  Unfortunately we are too heavy to land so we need to release our gas before we land.  We will be spending the next forty-five minutes releasing the gas out of our plane."

What am I thinking?  I hope the plane doesn't explode while we release a 50,000 gallons of gas out into the ocean?  Yes, although from the pilot's perspective, I am not sure if that is really a concern--the gas might evaporate fairly quickly.  Mostly I'm thinking, "Thank you God it was the landing gear coming up that was the problem, and not the landing gear coming down."  Could you imagine.  14 and a half hours later and we can't get our landing gear to come down?  We definitely would have had to land in the ocean with sharks.  I am also thinking, if this happened on a cheap Podunk airline, they may have tried to save a few bucks and fly us with the landing gear down because 50,000 gallons of gas and a four hour flight delay is not cheap.

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