Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Flight 2451

Sometimes I see events for what they are and realize that they have life ending potential.  I don't think I'm special in this because I'm sure others could see the very same thing.  Yet, on Flight 2451 leaving Memphis the other day, fortunately the right events came together to stop that flight.

We were in the boarding process when all of the sudden they stopped the boarding and began taking everyone back off the plane.  I was within moments of stepping on to the bridge way with hopes of reaching my destination at the planned time.

First, it was confusion on everyone's part that there would be an initial two hour delay.  Of course, this set everyone scrambling for other flights because that meant the connections in other cities would be difficult or impossible to make.  I was like all the others and could see that there would be no way to make my connection.

Fortunately I felt good that an airline rep for Delta assisted me with another flight so I could still reach my destination.  As soon as I settled down for some greasy airport food, my phone began ringing again.  This time, the delay had been pushed out much later.  It was beginning to get annoying and the patience of many passengers were growing thin.

While Delta could have done much better in the chain reactions of things and not expected everyone to wait for a 7.5 hour delay, I'm glad I did not board flight 2451.  From what we found out, there was major issue in the pressure of the hydraulics in the wheel well of the plane.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand how critical that could be or how life threatening it could have become.  To think the plane had just landed with this problem is mind blowing to me.

All it would have taken is one mechanic to say, its not a big problem or overlooked it in some way.  I'm sure they are trained in what to do, but what if that person had been preoccupied that day.  What if they had not given it the full attention it deserved.  Whoever initially reported it could have been busy that day with some issue in their home life or maybe distracted from a boss yelling at them or feeling pressured to get the plane off the ground so there were no delays reported.

The point I'm trying to make is that it felt like something was watching out for me and for everyone that day.  It could have been catastrophic if we would have boarded flight 2451 and taken off from the airport.  The outcome of this is not lost in my mind.

While I was truly upset with Delta in how they handled the events after that, I cannot fault them for delaying the plane.  I fully understand and am thankful it happened.  I witnessed several passengers screaming and getting upset with the ticket agents.  I had a travel person trying to help me out and they were surprised at how calm I was.  My response was, "its not going to help anything if I get upset right at this moment".

Sometimes events happen and we can't see the chain reaction of what would have taken place.  In this case though, the delay of flights 2451 was a good thing.  I think many lives were saved that day, including my own.  I don't think for one minute that something much greater than myself is watching over me.  You can put any name on it if you so desire, but I just know from experiences in my own life, we're not alone.

Granted, I had to go through a lot of stressful moments that day trying to get on a US Airways flight which I prefer over Delta, so I could get to my destination.  I have no control over what airline I get booked on these days and so I have to take whatever I'm given which is utterly absurd in my mind.  In the end, through some very close moments of running from one connecting flight to another, I managed to get to my destination about 8 hours later than I had planned.

I will never forget those moments on flight 2451 and I will continue to cherish the moments I have.  While I am glad corporate profits didn't push that plane out of the gate, I wish that these airlines would have a little more respect for their passengers.  I know that I may just be wishing upon a star, but I hope airlines become people friendly once again.  It just amazes me that any airline would expect any passenger to wait for a 7.5 hour delay with no guarantee that the flight would have left the airport that day.

Blog Post And Images (c) 8/28/14 by Don Shetterly

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