May 27, 2010

Unplanned Oahu

"Ladies and gentleman, we're returning to Hawaii to make an emergency landing on Oahu."

Those are not the words you want to hear when you're an hour and 40 minutes from the stated place of your emergency landing. Those aren't the words you want to hear when you are hundreds of miles over the Pacific Ocean with absolutely no land in sight. Heck, those aren't words you want to hear any time you're sitting in an airplane no matter how far you are from land or what you're over.


We left Hawaii this morning to head for home. Our flight was completely uneventful until we'd been flying for almost two hours and Cara asked me why the plane was turning around. I honestly hadn't noticed that we were turning around so I just shrugged. But then I noticed that she was right. We were definitely turning around.

Moments later the pilot came on and let us know that we were in the process of returning to Hawaii to make an emergency landing on Oahu. There was an overwhelming "metallic" smell in the plane that had made several of the flight attendants sick enough that they were wearing oxygen masks.

Those 100 minutes were some of the very longest of my life as I sat strapped in my seat wondering what was wrong with our plane. I was trying my best to read the unauthorized Oprah biography and I think I read the same page 25 times before I finally put the book down and decide to instead concentrate on trying to read the looks on the flight attendant's faces.

We did safely land in Oahu where the mechanics couldn't figure out what was wrong with our plane -- not that any of us wanted to get back on that plane -- and, after more than an hour, our flight was canceled.

And then began the passenger shuffle as the airline tried to get us all on other flights. We were lucky enough to be booked on the red eye on another airline that night. Many of the other passengers were told they would need to stay on Oahu for a couple more days before being able to go home.

Since we had a pretty long layover, we hopped on the shuttle that was taking many of our fellow passengers to their hotel and then took a cab to Waikiki Beach. I've never been outside the airport in Oahu so it was fun to see Waikiki but next time I'd really like it to be a planned visit.



  1. What a scary experience - I can so much relate! DH and I were on a flight to FL the morning of 9-11 when we were told we were going to have to make an emergency landing (no other details and no one had a clue what was really going on other than the stewardesses were visibly very upset). Our plane took a severe turn very quickly over the ocean and I remember my stomach turning in knots and worrying that the plane had a mechanical failure. As soon as we landed we found out what was really happening - and that the reason we turned severely was that we had to get out of Air Force One's pathway. That experience is actually what led us to adopt - because you understand in a moment like that how much family means. I am so glad you were able to land safely and get home to hug your family! I loved all the beautiful pictures on your trip!

    Barbara (Chrysanthemum DTC family)

  2. You're right- words you never want to hear! I'm happy you made it on another flight! It was a joy to see your vacation in pictures this past week- just beautiful!

  3. Okay, that was scary!! I think I would have thrown up! You poor guys. I hope the girls are ok and did well traveling even though there were all kinds of delays.

    Let us know when you finally get home. I al looking forward to more pictures.


  4. I am so glad you are safe and sound. Welcome back home!

  5. Yikes, that is scary! I am so glad you are all safe and sound!!

  6. Oh my palms are sweating just thinking about it....this is one of my worst nightmares..... SO GLAD you are safe.

    Looks like your trip was fantastic....and umm I just have one more question...would you like to be my Godmother?

  7. Wow, that must have been a very frightful experience! I'm so glad everyone is ok! They never figured out the source of the smell? Very strange!



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