A terrifying flight I experienced in 2010…

I saw in the news that A US Airways Flight hit turbulence and suddenly dropped, injuring several passengers. This reminds me of a ‘turbulent’ flight that I was on back in 2010. It wasn’t as serious as this one and nobody was hurt, but it was quite an adventure.

I was flying non-stop from Brussels (BRU) to Washington Dulles (IAD) in early September, 2010. The plane left the gate a bit ahead of schedule, made some turns, paused, then began to speed up for departure. Only this time instead of leaving the ground, it slowed down again and started to turn back. Announcement said an indicator light was on so we’d better abort the departure and go back to the gate for a check. Oh well. Nobody really complained as we all agreed that it was a good idea.

It took an hour while we were sitting in the plane. Not bad at all. Finally we were airborne.

It was an eight-hour flight so we should get a meal. However, we were in a turbulence and the plane was shaking at the meal time. It was not safe for flight attendants to push carts around. As a result, the lunch was delayed for an hour.

Finally we got our food. It was pretty good for my starving stomach, but the satisfaction didn’t last long. We were in a second turbulence that was worse than the first. Felt like the plane was tossed around. We ended up protecting our food instead of eating it. I tried drinking some water but almost got choked. We held tight to our plates to keep them from falling to the floor. I looked out the window at the plane’s massive wing and worried that it might break off.

We suffered for about half an hour and the plane calmed down at last. The rest of the flight was thankfully uneventful. I was pleasantly surprised when they told us that they would give us some compensation for the ‘inconvenience’ that the flight caused. By the time we landed and left the plane, I already got an email with an apology and a link. There were 3 options we could choose from:

  1. $250 E-Certificate for a flight within the 50 U.S. states and islands, within a year.
  2. 20% off for a flight to any city in the world that United operates, within a year.
  3. 10,000 frequent flyer miles.

They all looked pretty good to me. Not bad at all for an hour’s delay, or did they also take into consideration of the turbulences? In any case, I was happy with how United handled this. Guess which option I chose?



2 thoughts on “A terrifying flight I experienced in 2010…

  1. Sounds really scary. I mean, who would have thought anyone would want to protect airline food? 🙂

    Glad you made it back okay so you could travel again.

    I’m going to say you chose the second option. Is there a prize if we guess right?

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