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What was the worst, worst, worst of the worst flights you've ever taken?

What was the worst, worst, worst of the worst flights you've ever taken?

Old Oct 5th, 2000, 11:43 AM
  #1  
Winging it
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What was the worst, worst, worst of the worst flights you've ever taken?

Please describe in excruciating detail. Maybe it will make us all feel better about a mediocre flight.
 
Old Oct 5th, 2000, 12:05 PM
  #2  
CMcDaniel
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It would have to be a flight 27 years ago, still remember it as if yesterday. We were moving from Boston to New Orleans, and me, 7 months pregnant with our second, got to fly down, rather than drive.

Coming into New Orleans in the midst of one of those torrential summer afternoon downpours. I was white knuckling it as we approached the runway, plane tilting, wings dipping sharply left then right then left again with seemingly no control, flaps constantly in and out, in an out, we could see nothing because of the heavy rain, but sensed we were seconds from touching down. I said nothing, nor was there a sound from a soul in the airplane except for our 2 year old daughter, who, with no prompting from anyone, echoed what virtually everyone else had been thinking: "Damp IT, Gol Damp IT, DAM IT" gt;

Just feet off the ground we saw the runway for the first time, then with a roar it was full throttle again and rather than landing we sped up, and climbed quickly. No word from the cockpit forever it seemed...we were over the Gulf and in bright sun again before he spoke and advised that visibility had been too low for a safe landing. Phew. Makes my palms sweat just thinking of it!
 
Old Oct 5th, 2000, 12:21 PM
  #3  
Mikey
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Last spring on charter flight home from Cancun to Denver our pilot announced that we were low on fuel (supposedly from flying around thunderstorms)and would have to land in El Paso and refuel. By this time they were out of food and drinks and all of the toilets were backed up and inoperable. Once we landed in El Paso, we were told we couldn't refuel until we deplaned and we could not deplane until customs and immigration showed up. Both had gone home for the night so we had to sit on the runway for two hours until they arrived. Finally about 1 am we got off the plane, but not before we were told that the plane would not be going anywhere (no reason given). We waited in line along with the other 200 people at the only open restaurant in the airport while one poor employee had to take orders, cook burgers, and make change. It took about 4 hours to get everyone fed. Finally we were told that another plane was being flown in to take us back to Denver. At last we were back on the plane. I wasn't too happy to see the same flight crew in the cockpit. They had been up for 24 hours and looked as tired as the rest of us. Apparently there are no restrictions on how many hours pilots can fly on charters. We were almost ready to take off when suddenly one of the weird flight attendants went ballistic at a comment one of the passengers made and we were forced to go back to the gate so that she could eject the poor guy. Of course we ended up having to go back a second time so that the guy's wife could give him a credit card so that he could buy a ticket home. We finally did take off and arrived safely - 12 hours late.
 
Old Oct 5th, 2000, 12:38 PM
  #4  
Gary
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Easy: a weather-related fiasco on a connection from Huntsville, Alabama to DFW.

In the summer, thunderstorms tend to wreak havoc with DFW's exceedingly large traffic schedule. The flight in question was a "turnaround"--that is, it flies from DFW to Huntsville, dislodges passengers, is refueled (or not, as I later found out), boards passengers, and returns to DFW. Due to weather delays, it was two hours late arriving in Huntsville. But they turned the plane around quickly, and we left the get only an hour behind schedule. Not so bad...but, we then sat on the runway for another hour waiting for clearance by DFW approach control.

By the time we left, it was around six-thirty pm. The plane was "vectored" on a slow route intended to deliver us to DFW in two-and-a-half hours--about forty-five minutes longer than usual.
Unfortunately, the aircraft and another storm arrived simultaneously at DFW. We circled for two hours, at which time the pilot informed us that since we had not refueled in Huntsville (because they were in a hurry), and since we were about twentieth in line for landing, we had to divert to Shreveport, Louisiana, where American has an agreement with the airport for occasions such as this.

So we were off to Shreveport, which, by the way, was about one-third of the way back to Huntsville, where I had earlier checked out of a very comfortable Marriott. We landed in Louisiana and were indeed refueled. But we were then not allowed to take off for the same reason we had not been allowed to leave Huntsville--too many airplanes in Dallas. So we sat.

For three hours.

We could not get off the plane, because there were no jetways or little stairways (I suspect both reasons were untrue; more likely, there was nobody left at the airport to operate either). Three hours in a coach seat on one of American's less-than-luxurious (they SUCK) Fokker F100s. No drinks, no Bistro Bags (well...I guess that's a positive), and no ground equipment to allow the pilots to turn on the aircraft air conditioning system. (From this entire woeful experience, I learned only this: an assemblage of one hundred tired, sweating businessmen does not exude a pleasant odor.) Meanwhile, the two flight attendants hid in the safety of the cockpit.

Finally, around 1:30 am, eight hours after leaving the gate in Huntsville, we flew to DFW and, amazingly enough, landed without another interminable interval of circling over eastern Texas. But there was no gate--or, more accurately, there were lots of gates but too many aircraft arriving at once for the Texas-sized group of ground controllers to direct us for what seemed to me a much-more-than-reasonable amount of time. We sat in a line of ten other wayward American jets until we were finally, as if it were a winning lottery prize, awarded a gate. At three a.m., I at last found myself in the relative opulence of the DFW terminal, where I was only too happy to sleep on the floor underneath a waiting lounge bench.

So...it was either that experience or the time the air conditioner caught on fire (another F100) while we were waiting for the jet bridge to arrive. But I guess that's another story.
 
Old Oct 5th, 2000, 01:21 PM
  #5  
joseph cameron
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On a United flight across country to San Fran some years ago, I ran out of cigarettes (I was younger then but just as foolish) 20 minutes after take-off. Flight attendants said they had none on board for sale. Wow, five hours without a puff. I was too embarrassed to bum! Then they announced the plane had no water - thus no coffee (I'd hoped caffeine might get me through). Well, my god, that also meant no toilet flushes. So, I ordered a drink (a bloody mary) to ease my pain. I was wearing a tan suit, and had to drive from SF to Sacramento for a very late night meeting. Of course, the damned can of Mr. T mix blew up and drenched me. They cleaned me up with soda water and sent me on my way. That was my worst flight.
 
Old Oct 5th, 2000, 03:46 PM
  #6  
Rich
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Even though this is the U.S. forum, I can't help but tell my story:

Obviously, none of you have ever flown Iran Air! Like CMcDaniel, my experience happened 24 years ago, but I also remember it very well even today...

I flew Iran Air from JFK to Tehran, with an intermediate stop at London-Heathrow. I was expecting a 747 or at least a 707 to fly us on such a long journey....what aircraft did they use? A 727! The flight to London was uneventful (except for no movies or entertainment to pass the time, unless you count the awful in-flight magazine!), but the IRA was bombing in London at that time, and when we deplaned in London to stretch our legs, they taxied the plane away from the terminal, and parked it at a remote area of the airport. We had to take a bus to a tent, where we had to stand in the freezing cold (it was December) for 1 hour, until we could be roughly patted down and have our carry-on luggage torn through by the British authorities, before we could re-board the aircraft. Mind you, they searched everyone--even children (I was 9 at the time)!

We then were allowed to re-board the aircraft, where we were forced to sit for 2 hours, while they "cleaned the toilets." Whenever I am lied to by the airlines nowadays, I think that mabye they need to go to Iran Air's "liars school" in order to come up with some fresh (and quite creative!) lies!

After nearly 24 hours, we landed in Tehran, where it was the middle of the night. All of the people waiting for passengers had to stay behind a fence, and there must have been hundreds of them pressed up against this fence, screaming and crying. ...And you thought O'Hare was bad?!?

Since then, I have been bumped, had my luggage lost forever, watched the emergency vehicles scramble out to the runway as we were getting ready to land, and had to endure many of the same indignities and general inconveniences that others who post on this forum have had to endure. But I'd take any of them again before I'd EVER fly on Iran Air!
 
Old Oct 5th, 2000, 04:08 PM
  #7  
Cindy
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So far, my worst flying experience has been entirely self-inflicted.

I was a new mom flying for the first time with a one-year old. All went well. I brought plenty of distractions and healthy snacks. You know, the usual: juice boxes, crackers, raisins, bagels.

We started a mildly turbulent landing -- nothing special. Just as we touched down, it happened. My kid started acting funny. So I did what any mom would do: I clutched her to my bosom.

And that's when she hurled right into my cleavage. The first round was the juice box and raisins, then the bagel hunks and unrecognizable nutrients. The stench was just awful, and passengers and crew alike recoiled in horror at my weak attempts to sop it all up in an airline blanket. We were near the front of the plane, so every passenger got quite an eyeful as they filed past. And of course, I had no change of clothes for either of us. So I just stripped her to her diaper, and I deplaned with partially digested raisins clinging to me.

At least my luggage wasn't lost.
 
Old Oct 5th, 2000, 05:36 PM
  #8  
tweedy
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Well since I have over 500,000 miles under my belt I have several stories, like looking out the window at 37,000 feet to see a huge U......nited and we were 2 747's wingtip to wingtip going in opposite directions. I told the flight attendent and she asked me not to say anything. Boy was I dumb back then.

Or the Eastern flight where the air did not work and children were running up and down the aisle as we were taking off.

Or maybe the flight from LA to a smaller regional airport during the Santa Anna winds and at 50feet off the ground the wing "dipped" and I was looking straight out the window at the ground, luckily the pilot was able to get the plane to "flop" on the ground and tho we blew all the tires we were fine.

So guess this shows just how well the pilots are trained for every contingency and I always say thanks for the ride as I deplane.

As far as I am concerned since I have to travel for business, those guys generally deserve our thanks and they aren't paid enough sometimes for the job they do.

tweedy
 
Old Oct 6th, 2000, 08:56 AM
  #9  
Neal Sanders
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Without a doubt, the most memorably worst flight of my life came in the last, sad days of Pan Am. I was flying non-stop from Sydney to Los Angeles in coach aboard a fully-loaded 747-SP (the "SP" apparently stood for "sardine pack").

Our planned 16-hour flight was supposed to depart Sydney at 3 p.m. local time and land in LA at 12 noon local time, same day. Therefore, Pan Am felt that a light snack was ample sustenance.

About ten hours into the flight, the pilot reported that we were experiencing unexpected head winds rather than the tail winds that usually aid flights from the South Pacific, and our arrival time was in jeopardy. At 12 hours into the flight, there was no more food on board, only liquor. At 15 hours, the plane was down to a single working toilet. At 17 hours, the air conditioning system failed along with the last toilet. A triage system was set up to allow those with the greatest need to use the now-overflowing toilets. Everyone else was told, "just hold it."

We landed after 18 and a half hours. The plane smelled like a backed-up sewer and everyone on board made a simultaneous rush for the exits. Of course, 450 passengers still had to go through immigration where, for security reasons, there are no bathrooms.

At baggage claim, a Pan Am representative was passing out certificates good for $20 off our next flight as a "good will gesture." Like most passengers, I declined to take one. Pan Am sold off its Pacific routes to United a few weeks later and, shortly thereafter, Pan Am was no more.

I have always found humor in most harrowing flights. Not for that one.
 
Old Oct 6th, 2000, 02:53 PM
  #10  
edie
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it was spring 1995, from JFK to Rome on Alitalia. as it was easter time, the plane was full of high school italian classes, soccer teams, etc. plus a whole bunch of Romans going home.
we get on the plane at the regular time, taxi out to the end of the runway, and are then told that there is a mechanical problem so we won't be taking off. they instead are going to serve us "dinner" and show us some taped Seinfeld episodes to entertain us.
apparently they wouldn't let us off the plane, b/c the delay was their fault and if people wandered off and then missed the call that the flight was leaving, it would be alitalia's responsibility to get them to italy and they didnt' want to deal with that.
after two+ hours on the runway, everyone was stir crazy. the italians who wanted to smoke had been told that though this was a smoking flight, they could only smoke while in the air, not on the ground. this held them for a while, but at a certain point, a few beautifully dressed italian ladies stood in the aisle and lit up right in the face of the flight attendants. much cursing in italian ensued. i guess b.c of this, they let us off the plane. six hours later, we finally take off. about halfway through the flight we got struck by lightning!!! the stewardesses announced that "something nearby got struck" What exactly is "nearby" when you are a million miles above the atlantic????
and on the return trip, another flight attendant heard us talking about our flight there and said " oh you guys are the ones who hit by lightning" hmm.

after a week in italy, we get on the plane in palermo, to go to rome to head home. after a delay in palermo, we arrive to total pandeomonium in rome. unbeknownst to us, the federal building had been bombed in OK City, and at that moment in time, the suspects were thought to be going through italy. so every passenger and piece of luggage was painstakingly searched and questioned individually. we finally get to NY, and my family gets picked up. i had to take a bus to LGA to get the shuttle to Boston, where i lived. when i got to the terminal, there had been a fire there, so i had to go to the other shuttles terminal.
arrive in Boston during rush hour, 60 minute ride from Logan to Cleveland Circle, and 24 hours after i left Palermo, i am finally home.


 
Old Oct 6th, 2000, 04:31 PM
  #11  
John
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This is so long I have to break it in half. Sorry.

My only group tour ever consisted of a visit in the mid-70s to several of the (then) Soviet Central Asian cities, including Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva in Uzbekistan, and Dushanbe in Tajikistan. It was early days of tourism in these places, and the whole thing was arranged by Intourist, the Soviet one-size-fits-all tourism bureau, all transport via Aeroflot.

The last internal flight we had to make was Tashkent to Moscow, about a 5-hour flight on an Ilyushin 62, a 4-engine jet which was a clone of a British VC-10 used for long haul flights. The IL-62 was the flagship of Aeroflot at the time. Whoopee.

So the scene is thus: late August, late afternoon, Tashkent airport. Outside temperature around a thousand degrees. 200 of our closest friends (about a dozen tour group members in Proletarian class, 20 or so Party members up front, the rest just Russians and Uzbeks going about their business) pile into this cigar tube, doors close. It's hot inside, the air conditioning isn't on. I should also mention that Tashkent is a long way above sea level, so the air, already thin from the heat, is also thin from the altitude. Means airplanes have to go like hell to take off.

Engines start, commandments given by the Aeroflot flight attendants (in the case of a water landing Party members out first), plane taxis. Still no a/c. Now quite hot.

End of runway reached, engines spool up. Then down. Time passes. Now one engine (I'm in the back where the engines are mounted, like DC-9s or MD-80s so I can tell) revs up. Then down. No. 2 engine up, down. Minutes pass. No. 3. Passengers now getting a little uneasy. Inside temperature now hazardous to plastic, humidity at near-fog levels. No announcements, just Uzbek and Russian voices, some now being raised. No. 4 engine up, down, then No. 1 again. Clearly the drivers are concerned about something on the panel.

It's now been about a half hour parked on the end of the runway while the pilots test the engines, one at a time and in groups. The man next to me, a very nice physician from Bombay, as in India, tells me he's never been this hot and he thinks he may pass out. Bombay.
 
Old Oct 6th, 2000, 04:33 PM
  #12  
John
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(Part 2)
An Uzbek man, aged around 90, dressed in full regional outfit (turban, robe, with curved dagger - I am not making this up) leaps from his seat and starts screaming and waving his knife around and running up the aisle. Gang-tackled by the Aeroflot nickel defense and strapped, howling, into his seat. Heat now at pass-out levels.

Then all four engines make a lot of noise and we start rolling, faster and faster, the runway and terminal buildings flashing by like Luke Skywalker's driving, all wheels still firmly on the ground, faster and … and then the nose comes up and the main gear extend with the usual terrifying thunk, and outside my window, at that very instant, the runway ends and Tashkent begins. We might have had all of 50 feet of runway left. We are flying, very fast, very low. Still no air conditioning.

The plane climbs out and points itself toward Europe, and somebody up front must say, "Damn, what about the air conditioning back there?" Then they must open a window or something, letting in the minus 30 outside air, and the heat in the main cabin goes away right now. Like right now, it's around plus 20 (F).

But wait, what about all that moisture in the cabin air? You know, that cup of tea you had this morning? The cup of tea the guy in front of you had? Well, dew point has been reached, so it distills out on anything metal, like the overhead panels and metal strips on the coat rack (or is that goat rack) and…it rains on us. Really.

We arrive in Moscow five hours and a cucumber (usual 70s Aeroflot in-flight menu) later. Everyone, including the Party members, are sick. Thank you for flying Aeroflot. We hope your future travel plans will include Aeroflot. (Like you have a choice, comrade.)

On the bus to the Hotel Rossiya, the big enchilada on Red Square, where we are informed that the hotel food service has had a problem and the only things available are bananas and (Uzbek) champagne. Na Zdrovaya, pilgrim.
 
Old Oct 6th, 2000, 08:30 PM
  #13  
judy
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Oh, my gosh! All these flights are horrible, horrible; I'm trying not to think about my upcoming flight a few weeks away. I tend to think that any flight's a good one that lands safely. Several years ago on a Delta flight to Atlanta during a severe thunderstorm, we experienced awful turbulence from the time we took off until we landed - luckily it was a short flight of an hour and a half, but one which I thought was going down during the entire duration. I will omit the excruciating details, but it has been the flight by which all my other flights have been measured. No matter what kind of air pockets and turbulence I've experienced since, I always think "this doesn't come close to the Atlanta flight, and we made it then."
 
Old Oct 7th, 2000, 08:49 AM
  #14  
Suzanne
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I can only pray it's not the one I'm taking Saturday. I'm scared, I don't feel well and I don't know how much of it is nerves.
Here's to good and happy and calm travels.
 
Old Oct 7th, 2000, 11:38 AM
  #15  
Patrick
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Not a major flight, but one of those Grand Canyon sightseeing flights from Las Vegas. It was just us and a whole group of Japanese tourists. I have never had motion sickness, but when that little plane starting dropping into the air pockets over and over again I started to turn green. The fact that it was about 95 degrees inside the plane didn't help either. We landed at the Canyon rim for a hour or so and I started to feel a little better, then we got back on the plane and it was worse. I thought I'd make it until the Japanese guy in front of me started barfing up his sushi lunch in a bag. One whiff and it was all over for me. Suffice it to say that I carried three bags full off the plane with me.
 
Old Oct 8th, 2000, 05:57 AM
  #16  
Kathleen
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I have had many bad flights white knuckle and knucklehead airline management included but the one I remember most was in the late 80's. A prominent (but now defunct) airline decided to offer cheap coast to coast red-eyes on planes that were being repositioned for the next day's flights. The deal was one bag in the overhead, one under the seat and nothing checked, Seating was to be in order of arrival with numbered boarding cards. Our flight was a full L-1011 and the attendants (who had no doubt spent considerable time trying to explain to management that this would not work) were distant and surly. Boarding was allowed to proceed as a free-for-all, numbered cards ignored. Luggage space was gone almost immediately. Attendants hid in the galleys except for occasional, forced trips to the cabins to assist the handicapped and elderly, which they did by shoving bags under yet-to-be occupied seats. Later boarders had even small carry-ons confiscated abruptly, apparently to be checked but this was not clear. The woman in the seat next to me cried for sometime about the things in her little bag that she had packed for the long flight. Snack and beverage service was not sufficient for the full plane. But the end of the flight was the most memorable - as the attendant finished the routine about choosing this airline the next time our plans called for air travel spontaneous, incredulous laughter bubbled up from all corners of the plane - and swelled to a crescendo as we all discovered solidarity and released our frustration and misery. I believe this type of "re-positioning" flight was discontinued within nano-seconds of our landing.
 
Old Oct 8th, 2000, 06:51 PM
  #17  
Ohio
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I was in Philadelphia for a day long business trip in mid January 10 years ago. Flew in the night before and got to the office for my meetings. Locals were late getting in because a major snowstorm blew in in the middle of the night. It snowed all day but I didn't think about it because the meetings were inside. I got to the airport at 4:32 for my 4:30 flight due to traffic. Found out later that the airport had ben blizzarded in since about 7 that morning. The 7:30 flight was cancelled. The airport is low on food because it's been packed all day. The 10:45 flight was packed with everybody who waited. We were boarded. Every seat taken. Luggage reck and underseat spaces crammed full. We sat forever strapped down at the gate and then were moved out on a runway to wait some more. Oh, by the way, its's still snowing. We taxi out and they de-ice the plane. Sounds like they are trying to shoot holes into where we are sitting. Then we sit for another 45 minutes while all the passengers speculate about how long it will take for the plane to re-ice. It's still a blizzard out the window. We take off, just barely, and spend an hour and a half flying from air pocket to air pocket, juking left, sliding right, right again, then left, followed by a deep gully bump, etc. The flight staff didn't even try to serve drinks.I struggle not to heave, but since I missed dinner, there's nothing there. There is a fellow pushing 300 pounds in the aisle seat in front of me. The seat warps and groans every time we bounce or he wiggles. If the plane doesn't go down, I'm convinced the metal will snap off and I'll never walk again. We finally get to Cincinnati sometime after 2AM and I drive an hour through more snow to fall in bed. For me, nothing will ever challenge the cumulative terror of the Philly blizzard flight.
 
Old Oct 9th, 2000, 03:22 PM
  #18  
Teresa
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College days...the first leg of my flight back to school was cancelled without any explanations. Panicked about connecting flights, 4 other passengers and my parents booked a small plane to fly the 6 of us to Denver. Very, very small plane. Since I was the youngest and lightest (and obviously the dumbest since I agreed to it), I was made to perch in back with the luggage--for some reason there was a seat belt back there. As we were flying into Denver, one of the other passengers screamed bloody murder and pointed out the window at a HUGE jet zooming right for us. Our pilot took a steep dive and went under the jet. I'm sobbing at this point and continued to cry when we landed and I found out that my connecting flight to Kansas City had already departed. 18 years old, alone, and thinking maybe I'll just set up camp in Denver and never, ever fly again, I finally got back up to the ticket counter where the ticket agent took pity and upgraded me to 1st class on the next flight (this was 20 years ago, mind you). One hour later I'm swilling champagne (no matter I was obviously not of age) and happy as a clam. One horror story with a happy ending. Oh yeah, my luggage did eventually arrive 2 days later.
 
Old Oct 9th, 2000, 09:32 PM
  #19  
Charles
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In 1978 my wife and I took a 22 day trip around the world on a PAA special. Most of it was great with stops with relatives in Germany, Kuala Lumpur, and friends in Singapore. We arrived in Teheran the night the Shah had declared martial law. The pilot told us that anyone on the streets after 9PM was subject to being shot. We were landing about 7PM and he said we will not distribute baggage tonight.. We suggest that you find the quickest way tonight to your ground destination and come back tomorrow for your luggage. We went outside the terminal and found that all the cabs and commercial limo's had folded for the night. A young man professing to be an airport employee on his way home in Teheran said he would take us for $15 (1978) to the Hilton where we had reservations. He had to deliver us and get off the streets before 9PM. We took off and at times reached 90mph on the road into town. We passed army trucks with machine guns pointed at us. As you may surmise we survived. The Hilton had soldiers guarding their doorway. There was no food service that night and only in the basement cafeteria in the morning. Several airlines cancelled their scheduled service to Teheran, Two days later PAA took us to Bangkok per schedule. Our return from Singapore to Houston is another story.

We had bought a bamboo framed hampster in Kuala Lumpur, about 2 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet, very sturdy. We checked it in luggage through to SF. After about 16 hours, thru Hong Kong and non-stop from Hong Kong we arrived in SF. Everyone went to get their luggage. The system had a tunnel from outside to inside the pick-up area. After a few pieces came thru it stopped. People became frantic because they were missing connections and everyone was tired after 12 and 1/2 hours from Hong Kong. Finally a person crawled up the tunnel and found that a bamboo-framed hampster had jammed the baggage delivery system. I heard people swear off PAA that night, not knowing whose fault it was.
 
Old Sep 27th, 2005, 03:19 AM
  #20  
 
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A few years ago I was flying from Toronto back to Tokyo on American Airlines via Chicago. I arrived in Chicago without incident and was scheduled to leave around noon and that's when I learned that the connecting flight was delayed due to a mechanical problem. A short while later the airline served lunch to us while we waited at the gate and at one point they announced that the airline would be switching planes and would soon be on our way. Everyone watched as they switched a plane into our gate which had been scheduled to go to London Heathrow and new catering trucks loaded it up with sushi! A while later after a few more delays they eventually made a boarding call just after three in the afternoon. No sooner had everyone got into their seats when a police swat team came onto the plane and pulled somebody from the business class section. They also had to get his luggage off of the plane so we were delayed futher as they moved all of the containers out of the cargo section. Almost an hour later the purser announced that the present flight crew couldn't accompany the flight and we were to wait for a new crew to arrive. Forty five minutes later they cancelled the flight and they herded everyone out to form a line at the gate to issue new boarding passes. Meanwhile, none of the gate destination monitors in the terminal had been updated with our cancellation information so our plane sat in its spot which confused the hell out of everyone as subsequent flights had to get new gate assignments although none of the passengers were told about it. Soon our part of the terminal was filled with confused and angry travellers trying to find their gates as they overheard agents telling our group about bus transportation, hotels etc. The crowd noise was so loud that boarding calls and gate change announcements could barely be heard and I personally redirected about thiry people to their new gate to get to Miami! We were led out of the airport by a service rep that tried to organize 295 people onto a single mini bus designed to hold 25 people that was destined for the Double Tree Hotel(although the Hilton was right across the street)keeping in mind we had two Japanese tour groups that didn't want to be seperated! At first we were told that we would get our luggage back but then they decided to keep it on the plane. The agent started to hand out overnight amenity kits but only had 100 so 195 people didn't get one which caused alot of frowns to put it mildly. I was told that our new flight would leave at eight the next morning with a five am checkin and it was ten pm before I got a chance to use my voucher at the hotel to get some dinner. It only covered the cost of the meal,liquor wasn't included so I couldn't even drink my troubles away. The hotel room was absolutely disgusting with standing water left in the sinks and bathtub and after a quick call to Tokyo to arrange someone else to cover my office I hit the hay. Before I knew it I had to get up to catch the next flight and by four thirty am I was on a bus filled with flight crew that knew what flight I had been on just by the wrinkled look of me since I didn't have a change of clothing. Just as I arrived at the airport I learned that the flight time had been pushed back to nine am and I sat around with the other people that no doubt had bonded by now. Finally we boarded the plane at 8:30 and once we were airbourne the flight crew promised to spoil us silly to make up for the dismal service on the day before. A few minutes later (I'm not kidding) they made another announcement to apologize for a catering mix up that had left us without a breakfast service on board. We had a choice of lasagna or teriyaki chicken to eat at ten in the morning! As the flight approached our gate at Narita the customary "Thank you for choosing American Airlines..hope to see you in the future, blah blah.. announcement was played and a number of passengers myself included replied: "not bloody likely." Ever since that I have used Air Canada for my North American trips.
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