Broken Plane

January 01, 2008 2 Comments A+ a-

I am sitting in my hotel room in Oklahoma City (OKC). What a weird couple of days I've had at work. And it is continuing...

Commuted in to Chicago (ORD) yesterday morning--we departed for OKC on time and fully loaded with customers....had a headwind that slowed us down about a half an hour. After landing, as the pilots turned off the runway onto the taxiway, the plane lurched/jerked as if one of them had slammed on the brakes. They continued toward the gate, and it did the same thing again: lurched and jerked as if someone slammed on the brakes. It did it a third time, but not as hard.

After we arrived at the gate and the cockpit door was opened, I stuck my head up there and asked who was the new guy driving the plane today....they laughed and then explained that the plane was broken.....that they had not tried to apply the brakes when it happened. This is bad. Planes that put the brakes on when you don't want are bad--and broken. (Imagine if it happened when you were about to take-off at 120 knots--and the brakes slammed on....I'd be doing evacuations of the planes shortly after that...)

So, they drive up the mechanics from Texas. They send us to the hotel and release us into rest--so we are available to take the plane back when it is fixed. Our new time to leave is the next day (today) at 12:30, and we will be taking an empty airplane back to Chicago. This is called a "ferry" flight. The reason they had the pilots ferrying the plane is that Crew Scheduling had no idea where I was. They thought I was in Chicago. The dispatchers were told that there was no flight attendant--and a flight with passengers must have a qualified flight attendant. So, the left hand wasn't speaking with the right hand--and the whole time, I was right where I had been told to be...with my crew, in the hotel, in OKC. How I got lost I'll never know....

So, we arrive at the airport today to take the plane back...there were customers trying to get out of OKC since the day before, and we were going out empty because they still didn't know that I was exactly where I was supposed to be! So, my Captain called the dispatcher and said "How would you like a late Christmas present? I have a Flight Attendant here...." So, they change the ferry flight to be a revenue flight and try and get some of the people on their way.

In the meantime, the pilots go out onto the ramp to bring the plane to the gate, and discover that the Captain has NO BRAKES on his side of the aircraft and the First Officer has about half as much as he should. Again--bad!!

So, all those people that were going to join us on our flight to ORD were now back to where they started from--stuck in OKC.

We spent the next three hours in the airport waiting for Crew Scheduling, Dispatch, Ops and Maintenance trying to figure out what to do with a broken plane/scheduling and legality issues and a crew they needed to fly the plane, but they just can't leave us at the airport forever. (Actually, our contract says that if we are going to be "stuck" in a situation like that, and they know it will be five hours or more, they have to get us a hotel room until they decide what they want to do with us.)

We were sent to the hotel, where we have been all day and evening on duty. We have finally been "released into rest," and will leave tomorrow for ORD, taking the hopefully not broken plane, without passengers.

In the meantime, ORD is having an "OSO" day. That means "Off Scheduled Operations." What it really means is that our entire operation is going to hell today and falling apart--they were, at one point today, having to de-ice the airplanes three times because of freezing fog! There are a ton of delays and cancellations, which is always a nice way to end your holidays! (NOT!) It has been a mess up there, so I am very glad to not be in it!

Last night, we went to Bennigan's near our hotel. The only other choice was Cracker Barrel. So, we had a few early drinks and called it a night well before midnight. I started 2008 in bed, almost asleep....

Happy New Year!

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January 2, 2008 at 6:30 PM delete

Good Lord Annette! What an awful way to birng in the New Years! I know all about crew sked not knowing where you are. I will call them and they ask me where I am. Hello you are looking at my line! You know exactly where I am. They sure know how to find us when they want to reschedule us huh? Well anyhow Happy New Years to you!

January 2, 2008 at 6:45 PM delete

omigawd...they sure DO know how to find us when they want to reassign us!! I just have a little chant in my head when stuff like this happens: "only the best and the brightest here at XYZ Airlines!" Keeps me sane!