Monday, August 16, 2010

A Scare in the Air

I hope after our recent trip to Portugal and our flight experience in getting there, we have now become two of the safest airline passengers out there.

It all started with a drive down to London Luton's airport to catch our flight to go to Lisbon, Portugal, for a short holiday break. Our flight to Lisbon was due to be fairly short, only about 2 and a half hours gate to gate. We boarded our flight (slightly delayed due to a mechanical issue - only later did we find out there was a REAL mechanical issue with this plane!), buckled our seat belts, and the airplane took off on its way.

As soon as the plane took off, I was fast asleep and slept for about an hour into the flight. I was woken up by a sudden jolt to the plane, and immediately after I woke up I heard a message on the intercom that said:
and then with that announcement, the jungle of oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling and no further instructions were given. Meanwhile the flight attendant at the front of the plane was in tears, so the signs were not positive

Scott was seated next to me, and so we both immediately put our masks on and tried to remain calm while breathing through the yellow nozzle masks. The entire plane and passengers were eerily quiet during the entire time we were wearing our masks. After about 15 minutes of wearing the masks, the lady seated on the other side of me started to panic as she said she was smelling something burning.....I smelled it too, but wasn't going to say that point, I was not sure there was much we could do about it. I tried to talk to the lady sitting next to me, to help calm her down, and then finally after a while later, a flight attendant FINALLY came on the overhead PA system to say it was alright that there was a burning smell - it meant the oxygen was working.

(AFTER we landed) I took this photo of my view of the plane with the oxygen masks hanging down.
After about 30 minutes of wearing our masks, another flight attendant (not the one in tears from the front of the plane) came on on the PA system and finally said he thought the pilot was trying to get the plane down to a lower altitude level so we could breathe without the oxygen system. When we finally reached the lower level, we were allowed to take off our masks. At this point the plane started to get very warm, as the air was not working and we had been inside the plane for nearly 45 minutes without air circulation. After about an hour since the masks came down, we finally landed back in London at the airport.
Post landing - Scott holding our two oxygen masks...
While I fully expected fire trucks, ambulances, etc. awaiting our arrival back to the airport, I was shocked to not find anything waiting for our plane's return! In fact, we had to land, and then wait on the runway for about 20 minutes while the airport found a staircase for our plane, and then another 15 minutes after that for the airport to bring buses for all of passengers so we could return to the terminal.

Overall, WE ARE JUST THANKFUL to have landed SAFELY back on the ground without any real issues. It was the most frightful flight experience I have ever had and hope to NEVER experience another flight with such issues! In the end, we never really had a full explanation from Easy Jet airlines, other than there was a failure of the plane's cabin pressure and so oxygen was needed during flight. We did actually get on another flight after we landed that night (a new plane and new crew) and so we did make it to Portugal for a few days. We surely were glad to have a few days of rest after this incident. Someone had to be watching over us and I am very thankful for that.


Almost American said...

How scary!

Iota said...

That sounds horrendous. You were very brave to get on another plane straightaway, but probably wise. If you'd left it a while, you might not have had the courage!

They should really have given you more information, and looked after you better than that.