So I’m in Germany at the moment, but it wasn’t a straight shot to get here.
I left last Saturday from PDX with a connection in LAX. I had a couple hours in LAX and considered calling my family there to meet me at the airport, but elected not to. Little did I know I would see them anyway.
The flight from PDX to LAX went smoothly, with very little turbulence. LAX was LAX; not the nicest of airports, but I did get a chance to walk around outside a bit going from one terminal to the another. Big place.
I found a place to plug in my laptop so I could listen to some of the intereviews that I had downloaded to drown out the crowds, but eventually boarding time arrived and the normal ordeal of sitting on a plane for 10 hours was about to begin. I got on the plane and immediately was uncomfortable. I don’t remember there being as little leg room on a plane as there was on that one. This is gonna suck but at least we were almost on our way. We already had a delay of about 45 minutes.
Flying that long always sucks, so I tried to settle in and make the best of it. Everyone finds their place, the safety video starts and we begin to taxi.
Then I hear a sound from ahead of mean. It was the sound of compressed air being released. Didn’t sound too horrible; it wasn’t an explosion or anything like that, but it did get me to lift my head out of the magazine I was reading and look forward towards where the flight attendants were standing.
There were three or four of them and all of them had an expression of, “this ain’t good”. One of them had her hands on her cheeks.
I look in the direction that they were looking and while I could see what was going on, I did notice the door is open. At the time this didn’t seem strange to me. The only thought that crossed my mind was that maybe someone had fallen out as we clearly were not at the gate anymore.
It turns out that the electrical panel cover, the one that the cleaning crew needs to move to plug in their stuff, was stuck in the door and one of the attendants wanted to put it in it’s place. Not thinking of the consequences, he turned the handle to open the door, and in doing so, activated the emergency slide.
A couple minutes later the captain got on the intercom. His voice didn’t sound mad, or annoyed. I would characterize it more as “I’m too old to have to deal with shit like this. Sure could use a drink.”
“Well, folks, we have a little problem….” The first thing that needed to be done was to get some technicians out to come and remove the slide. Can’t have the plane driving around the airport with an emergency slide hanging off the side of it. Not only would that look really ghetto, it’s probably not that safe. So we waited.
Next course of business is to go back to the terminal. We passengers were all hopeful though. “get a couple techs out, to put the slide back and we’ll be on our way. Mabey an hour or two late, but let’s get on with it.”
Nope. Lufthansa doesn’t have the facilities to do that there, and even if they did, it ain’t that simple. Nothing on a plane is. So here we are. a 747 with a missing slide. Even worse because of the missing slide that portion of the plane will need to fly empty, but I still maintainted hope. The missing slide is on the left side of the plane and I’m on the right.
Wrong again. That WHOLE section must go. What if the plane were to crash on it’s side? I’d need to be able to exit from either side and since side selection cannot be scheduled in advance.
In all 120 people had to leave the plane and would need to wait til the next day, since this flight was the last one of the day to Frankfurt. Normally, this would have sucked, but I have family in LA. It’s where I spent over half of my childhood.
Plus Lufthansa offered each one of us 600euros (~$830) CASH or 700 euros travel voucher. Not back for a day of not working.
Either way, it cut a day out of my vacation, so while they were rescheduling my outbound flight, I asked them to push out the return as well. Since returning one day late would have given me only one day back to work, I had them make it two.
But I did get to visit with my grandmother. We had a very nice visit.