The week that was....

July 10, 2008 3 Comments A+ a-

You know, it has been six days of flying and I am trying to remember what I wanted to blog about--and it all seems like a year ago!

First, our emergency landing. Don't get too just sounds scarier than it was!

We took off from San Jose, California. We flew for about 15 minutes--and I was out of my jumpseat setting up the cart for our beverage service. The Captain called the Purser, and she came back to tell us what the Captain said, and he made an announcement to our passengers--that they had a light indicating that the leading edge flap had not retracted. He said he thought it was an issue with the light itself, not the actual flap.

We had a deadheading First Officer who was able to go back and look out the window and confirmed that the flap had, indeed, not retracted after take-off.

Here is my Blondie description of the flap thingee. It is on the front part of the moves forward and retracts back--it is used to change the shape of the wing for take-off and landing. It is important, but is something that the pilots are able to work around.

Whew! Enough technical stuff, okay???

So, with the situation confirmed by the deadheading First Officer, the Captain spoke with the Purser, then made an announcement that we would be landing in San Francisco--that he was declaring an emergency, and that people needed to listen to the Flight Attendants for direction. Suddenly, we had everyone's attention! He also stated that he expected our landing to be completely normal.

The other two Flight Attendants and I spent some time reviewing our procedures and commands in our FA Manuals. Then, the Captain asked us to prepare for landing. We prepared for landing as normal--seatbacks up, bags stowed, seatbelts on. There were some people who were anxious, especially the Mom in the back row with her two kids. I reassured her that this was what we were trained to do, and we spoke for a few more moments, and she dried her tears.

We landed on the long runway in San Francisco--and rolled to a nice stop. I've never had fire engines meet my flight before, but, thankfully, they weren't necessary! Our passengers applauded the safe landing--it really was a non-event.
This is the runway in SFO from our hotel--it really is a looo-oong runway and the pilots have plenty of space to land and (just as important) stop.

Two SFO supervisors met our flight and wanted to make sure that the Flight Attendants were okay. We were. They took us off the rest of the trip and sent us to the hotel for the night. So, we headed over to the hotel. The Purser was anxious to get to the bar, the #2 FA was anxious to get to her room and chill, and I had pent-up energy and decided to go over to Burlingame and shop.

Burlingame, California

The hotel we stay in in SFO is near the airport in a little town called Burlingame. After having been through the inflight incident, I felt the need for some retail therapy! Burlingame has the cutest streets with shops and restaurants lining up and down, and a trolley that will give you a ride to and from the hotel. I enjoyed the lovely, lovely weather and the solitude. Bought a few things at J. Crew and had an appetizer at a restaurant called Straits.

I ordered the Grilled Beef in Grape Leaves appetizer--the menu describes it as marinated beef wrapped in grape leaves, grilled with mint, basil and toasted nuts. Along with a glass of chardonnay, it was delicious!

After a couple of hours of shopping, I joined the Purser and a few stray crew people from other flights who were laying over at the hotel for a quick drink before heading to bed.

The next morning, the Company positived spaced us back to Washington--on the 777 in Business....suh-weet!!! (The Company really did a good job of making sure that we had whatever resources we needed.) As I type this and look back, the landing was really just a normal landing (except for the firetrucks!) and now I know that the flap issue was was not that big of a deal. But, at the time, while we were in the air, the Flight Attendants did not know that--so we were in an emergency state of mind, as required by the situation as the Captain expressed it.

That evening I arrived home with just enough time to exchange my dirty clothes for clean ones! The Crew Desk called at 10 p.m. and I was assigned a three day trip with a 7 a.m. check in. I was to fly from Washington to New York to Denver to Billings, Montana. I have now added another state to my list--and now only need to go to Wyoming and I will have visited every state in the US!

I was flying with a great crew--Nicole as Purser and Chris was in the back with me. Chris and I walked over to one the little casinos they had in Billings. This casino is like a tiny dive bar, with Keno and Poker machines. Dive bar or not, I won $114 there. Okay, some of those winnings I re-invested in the casino but I actually came out ahead about $60. Not bad!

The next day we did one leg to Denver, then one leg to Orange County. We arrived in the OC around 10 a.m. I went to The Block at Orange, a really nice outdoor mall across the street from our hotel. I bought some T-shirts for Brendyn, the Most Amazing Child on the Planet at Ron Jon's Surf Shop--and got a manicure and pedicure while I was there. Had enough time left to go back to my room and take a nap before all of us met downstairs for Happy Hour and dinner. The weather was warm and not humid, with a nice breeze blowing--so, we sat outside and traded stories and just had a great time. It was a perfect layover!

The next morning, we flew from Orange County to San Francisco. From SFO, we were supposed to fly to Las Vegas then home to Washington. When we arrived at SFO, we discovered our flight to Vegas was cancelled. We checked our schedules and learned the Company was deadheading us back to Washington. After changing into our street clothes and a couple hours delay because of weather in Washington, we were on our way home.

This is a picture of Chris, my Casino Cohort and the Flight Attendant in the back with me this trip--he is great to hang out with on a layover. Or lay out with a hangover! Whatever!

Today, my Supervisor called and wants me to work a flight tomorrow with a bunch of other new hires so we can get our check rides done. So, I may have a check ride, but I am also going to Frankfurt, Germany--and I've never been there before!

Actually, I am trying to be very cool as I type this--something that just doesn't come naturally to me, a bona fide nerd! I am flying with four of my classmates from training, and am also flying, for the first time, on a 747. I am very, very excited!!

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flying mum
July 10, 2008 at 10:07 PM delete

Have a great time in Frankfurt! I just flew Purser on the 747 this past weekend. Not qualified but everyone on our base ID was under a year. It was quite an experience!

July 12, 2008 at 8:57 AM delete

Wow, what a week, have fun in Fra. Sounds like they treat you guys pretty well over there unlike our management.