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Red eye flight interrupted

One of our airline flights from Honolulu to Philadelphia, via Dallas, made an unscheduled stop in San Francisco because of a mechanical problem.

An excerpt from today's Honolulu Star-Advertiser:

LOS ANGELES—An American Airlines flight from Hawaii has landed safely on one engine at Los Angeles International Airport after the pilot reported engine trouble.

Airline spokesman Matt Miller in Dallas says instruments on Flight 246 showed trouble with the left engine about an hour before its scheduled arrival and the engine was shut down.

This story reminded me of the time that one of our American Airlines flights from Honolulu to Philadelphia, via Dallas, had a problem. The pilot of this red eye flight woke everyone up with the announcement that we were about 160 miles east of San Francisco but had to turn around and go back to San Fran airport so that "something" on the plane could be fixed and, the pilot assured us, that this airport was the only place that the "something" could be fixed.

As we approached the airport, the pilot announced that "all the precautions that you see when we land are perfectly normal."  We looked and saw a fire engine and an ambulance parked, at the gate, on each side of the plane.  Oh sure.  Perfectly normal.

We all deplaned, waited for a couple of hours in the airport, talked and complained among ourselves, and, after being told that the plane could not be fixed as rapidly as expected and so, we were all being put on another plane for the trip to Dallas.

This plane must have been dragged out of mothballs.  But it worked.  Forget about assigned seats.  It was first on the plane, first served.  But no one hurried.  Everybody was too tired.  And, good news, as is obvious, the plane landed in Dallas OK and, although our scheduled flight to Philadelphia took off hours before we got to Texas, we were put on another flight and arrived home just fine.

There's more to this story.  These events took place about a month after 9/11 and I was sure that our plane was being forced down by military jets because of a terrorism threat.  I'm happy to say that I was wrong.

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