Flying Can Be Fun!
I’ve had cause to take a few flights recently and it is always reassuring when the pilot gives passengers his update on the flight, the cruising altitude, the weather conditions and likely time of arrival at your destination. But there are occasions when the unexpected voice of the pilot sends panic through the cabin. I once had a pilot who, in asking passengers to take care when opening the overhead lockers, in case anything fell out, added, ‘’I don’ want any blood on the seats’’
With the summer here, more of us will be taking to the air for our vacation flights to Europe and beyond and we all hope for an uneventful flight to our holiday destination. The Daily Telegraph recently published a list of scary in-flight announcements from readers, each with their own terrifying tale to tell. I thought I would share with you a selection of what I think are the best:
1. ''BA flight from Kuala Lumpur ran into volcanic dust. Captain makes the following statement to the passengers: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damndest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress."
2. "On approaching Bristol in the pitch dark I think I'd have been happier if the pilot hadn't informed us that 'there is rather more snow on the runway than we'd been led to believe'."
3. "Flying across central India. Some dodgy storm clouds appear and the 737 started to pitch and roll, before suddenly dropping what seemed like hundreds of feet. The pilot came on and made an announcement in Hindi then in English. The English one was: 'Ladies and gentlemen the storm is very bad. I will do my best to land the plane'. I went white as the proverbial and the Indian gent next to me asked if I was OK. Made a bit of a stab at a stiff upper lip and asked him if he thought we would get down safely. He asked me why I was worried and told me the pilot had forgotten part of the English statement. Those little, but lovely, two words were: 'on time'."
4. "Flight from Helsinki to JFK, landing in heavy rain. Just before touchdown the pilot put all the throttles up and climbed back to around 2,000 ft. A few minutes later he announced in a deadpan voice, 'Ladies and gentlemen, there is too much rain to land and the visibility is not good. At the last minute I saw I was landing on the river, so we will stay up here until the rain belt goes through. There is nothing to worry about'."
5. ''On a flight from New York to Amsterdam, the pilot comes on and says: 'I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we have a 200mph tailwind so we should make Amsterdam in record time. The bad news is that it's going to be a bumpy ride'."
6. "Schiphol to Bergen flight. There was a very vicious wind shear and the Airbus we were on was on approach and veering with the wind. The runway lights were on and I stared out of the window to see the road alongside the airport. We could see the drivers of the cars peering up. Suddenly, the plane pitched up and the engines were on full tilt. 'Ladies and gentlemen, we have decided to go around again and this time we will land on the runway', in the best laconic Scandinavian accent I have ever heard. People start praying."
7. "On a plane flying from Kuala Lumpur to Borneo, a good hour or so into the flight, the pilot announced: 'Ladies and Gentlemen I'm afraid we are going to have to turn around and return to KL as there seems to be a problem with our navigation system. This is fine when we are over land but the problem is rather serious when we're over water'. Given that we had been over water for a considerable amount of time it was a fairly harrowing journey back."
8. "Flying in a certain sunny African state decade or so ago: 'Ladies and gentlemen if you look over our starboard wing you can see trail of obsolete Russian Strela 3 that somebody just fired on us'."
9. "Way back in the Seventies I was on a flight from Heathrow to Glasgow. After take-off there were bumps and the some long, loud grinding and thumping sounds. A little later the captain calmly announced: 'You may have heard some unusual noises shortly after take-off. It seems that the undercarriage did not fully retract. We therefore recycled it and will now continue our flight to Glasgow when we hope all will go well for our landing there.''
10. "I was sat next to the pilot on a small prop plane coming into land on a dirt strip in Central America. As we hit the ground, a cow decided it would be a good time to wander across the runway. We hit the cow pretty hard and the impact flipped the plane over on to its roof. Amazingly we were both fine, but upside down, still strapped into our seats and with some sort of fluid leaking over us. The pilot turns to me and says: 'Well that didn't go so well but at least we get steak for dinner'."
11. "I was flying to Nairobi sometime in the Seventies. We were somewhere over the Med when the plane seemed to hit a bump. The Captain came on the intercom and said: 'Ladies and gentlemen, if you would care to take a look at your in-flight magazine and check out our route on the large map in the centre pages, you will see that we have just crossed the fold in the middle...'"
12. "Flying into Bathurst, New South Wales, the pilot announced that he was 'taking a practice run over the runway to scare off the kangaroos'."
13. ''Please fasten your safety belts in case we come to a sudden stop - like against the side of a mountain''
14. "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome aboard this British Airways flight to Denver. If your travel plans do not include visiting Denver, then now would be the perfect time to make yourself known to a member of the cabin crew''.
15. "Coming into land in Bermuda on a rather stormy night in January, the pilot comes on and says, "We'll attempt this landing but we might not make it so we'll keep coming back around and try it again until we do, we have plenty of fuel'."
16. "Not really in the same category, but amusing nonetheless: arriving in London from Hong Kong on a Virgin flight the pilot announced: 'It's customary after a long-haul flight to ask for volunteers to clean the toilets. If you wish to volunteer, please stand up before the fasten seat-belt sign has been switched off'."