So, this is a story from a week ago that I’ve been a little hesitant to share, if only because I’ve explained it verbally many times now. But it’s worth noting for posterity, I suppose. On my connecting flight back home from Houston, my airplane lost an engine shortly after takeoff. I was actually looking at the engine the moment it failed through my window, but saw nothing from my vantage point. People sitting in the rows behind me could see flames coming out the rear. It happened rather suddenly, like the sudden jolt of heavy turbulence, followed by the unmistakable sound of the airplane slowing down and getting ready to land. As we turned around to head back t the airport, the captain came on the speakers and informed us what was happening. Through it all, I remember feeling very calm and relaxed – after all, there was no sudden drop, and we weren’t careening toward the ground. It was one of the smoother landings I can recall, followed by applause from the grateful passengers. After landing, we diverted to a side road, where several rescue vehicle came over to make sure the airplane was stable. After a few minutes we headed to an available terminal and waited as the captain got out and discussed what happened with several officials on the tarmac.
Soon we were allowed to deplane, though we were told to stay close by in case we could get a replacement plane. Unfortunately, it was too late and we were soon told that our flight was cancelled. We were directed to the customer service desk near a different gate. I realized I got there too late, as I was about 2/3rds back in the line – which wasn’t moving. It was probably half an hour before I decided to call up the airline’s customer service phone number and reschedule a flight through there. After an hour on the phone, I was set for the next day – leaving Houston at 7 am, arriving in California at 10 am. I had to stay in the line to get my hotel and food vouchers, though, and find out what happened to my checked bag.
I finally got through the line at 1 am, after about 3 hours of waiting. I could get my checked bag, but that would take longer, and it was scheduled to arrive within 5 minutes of my flight back home, so I left it with the airline. I knew I would get barely any sleep at the hotel – 3 hours maximum – but thankfully it wasn’t terribly far away, and the line to check in was short. Without my toiletries, I relied on what the hotel had to give out – a toothbrush and toothpaste were nice, but they had no contact solution to allow me to take out my contact lenses. I had to sleep with them on or else be blind for the next day. After a few hours of sleep, I got up, took my shower, and took the very neat underground and automated shuttle to my hotel terminal to check in for my new flights.
Thankfully, these flights went off without incident, and I got home safe and sound. My parents were there to pick me up from the airport, my luggage arrived mostly intact (a wheel had broken off the suitcase), and I went home and got a few more hours’ sleep. I also finally got to take off my contacts, after wearing them for about 30 hours!