Only once ever have I been freaked out on a flight. It was years ago in the middle of winter and we were coming into Cincinnati (CVG) on a CRJ200.
It was snowing like crazy and the winds were tossing us around like a ping pong ball. As we were on final and about to land, the pilot kept adding and adding and adding power – we landed hard and fast. It was the only time I have ever been gripping the arm rests on my seat.
As we deplaned I asked the pilot if he was a Navy pilot and he just grinned at me.
Fast forward to this past week. I had a quick trip to Dallas booked. Yes, I went to the mess that was DFW.. But when I got up for my early Delta flight, I had emails and text alerts that my flight was delayed — by a lot (like, almost 3 hours).
The weather at my departure airport — South Bend — was fine, as you can see from above, but my crew had been delayed the night before and needed the legal amount of rest.
On the short SBN to DTW flight, only first class gets service so I decided to test the new Prosecco that Delta offers. It is good, BTW; not so sicky sweet as the old one. The flight was fine but since we took off so late I had very little time to make my connection in Detroit DTW.
And then things got a bit weird as the weather in Detroit was not as nice as South Bend.
The above is from FLIGHTAWARE and the path of my flight into the airport. We got down to the level where the familiar 3 chirps indicated the pilots turned off the auto pilot and taken over control of the jet and dropped the landing gear.
But there was a problem.
The weather ceiling was so low we could not see the ground (even at 1500 feet). I mean nothing at all but clouds.
We did a go-around.
Now, I know go-arounds are no big deal. I have been on dozens of flights with a go-around and likely you have had a few as well. Heck, once I was on a 747 that did a go-around because there was a jet on the runway where we were to land (it was sunny that day, thankfully).
Anyway…. as we made our second approach the same thing happened. Three chirps and no visible ground and up we go again but with MUCH more power than last attempt.
Then the pilot called the lead FA.
All this time, during both failed landing attempts, the pilot said nothing to us.
Nada, zip, zero. He only called the FA.
It was a bit unnerving — and this from someone who normally flies several times a month (pre-COVID that is).
On the third attempt, just before the autopilot was turned off, we broke free of the clouds and we could see the ground.
My connection was tight when we took off. After two aborted landings our time was even shorter to make the connection. But, thankfully, there was help from Delta.
This is, I think, the third time I have had the pleasure of the gate-to-gate car transfer in Detroit. You can take a look at a YouTube video here of what the experience is like from start to finish. As we walked up the outside stairs, we made it onboard as they were boarding the main cabin. The driver walked up the jet bridge to check us in for the flight allowing us to easily board. Nice!
The flight to Dallas was smooth and uneventful. The lunch, as I reviewed here, was disappointing and I hope Delta ends the box lunch experiment soon or simply downgrades it to shorter flights that in the past did not get anything other than a snack basket.
I was only in Dallas for a day and the next day was looking much better than the one before weather-wise. Yes, there was still wind but the sky was clear and sunny. As we have seen DFW this weekend should stand for “Doesn’t Function Windy” as Delta started again to notify me that my flight home was delayed.
Here we go again.
I had much less of a buffer in Detroit for my return and I was neither looking forward to another overnight in DTW in as many weeks nor missing my Friday meetings I had booked all day long. Time to call the Diamond line and I was dreading a very long hold. I should not have been fearful.
I was on a very short hold with the Delta Diamond line and simply asked the rep to move me from the Delta flights I was on (that would now miss connect) to the Dallas to South Bend direct flight on American Airlines. She put me on hold and in no time I was all set.
I was stunned and thrilled (this was an award ticket, BTW!).
The AA regional flight home was also uneventful and I landed at home just before my Delta flight was to arrive.
Many in the Comments section here on the blog question why I maintain my loyalty to Delta when they:
- are doing so many nasty things to the SkyMiles program
- have such poor meal service (for now)
- most days have very long call back time to get help
I think these few days of flying answers this.
As a Delta Diamond Medallion, the service to get me where I needed to go and when I needed to be there was outstanding! – René
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