B777LRF From Luxembourg, joined Nov 2008, 1769 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 6897 times:
Damn. Flew this very route very recently and wouldn't have minded a single-engine 757 approach into Billings.
2 reasons: Never been to Billings and never done a single-engined approach in a 757 outside training. Would have been interesting to see it handled in real life, knowing that as long as it's just one donk you've lost and nothing else is bad with the kite, then a 1-engine job is a peach of psih in a '75.
I'm not normal though
From receips and radials over straight pipes to big fans - been there, done that, got the hearing defects to prove
UAL757 From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 808 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6643 times:
I was UA635 yesterday...what a mess. I knew it would be when I got 6 or 7 easyupdate text messages to my phone changing the departure time from ORD. The agents in the ORD Red Carpet Club were telling me the aircraft was having mechanical issues in PHL. The original departure time out of ORD was scheduled for 8:10am, and I believe it ended up being 9:30am. One thing about this flight that I noticed was that it was very elite heavy. First class was checked in full, with 50 people on the upgrade list, including 8 1Ks. Crazy. I've taken this flight on a Monday morning before, and it's never had so many people on the upgrade list (this comes into play in BIL).
Everyone boarded rather quickly, and once the door was shut, the captain came over the PA and said that ground would have to manually start the right engine or we could have a mechanical delay in ORD for several hours. It was the reason for the earlier delay in PHL. Besides that, and the very rude purser (EGGS OR CEREAL?), everything was pretty much normal.
After breakfast was served, I took a little nap, and woke up to the captain's announcement that we would be on the ground in fifteen minutes doing an emergency landing into Billings due to the right engine being shut down. It was having trouble with the oil filter and if he didn't shut off the right engine, it would have had a "catastrophic failure". He then said, "don't worry, we both train for this every six months in the simulator." That made everyone have a nervous chuckle.
The FAs were running through the cabin to prepare it for landing, and I heard one mention it was her first emergency landing in fourteen years of flying with UA. The announcements were all in a very authoritative tone, and the cabin became very silent. I was curious if we needed to "brace", which we didn't. The approach was very fast into BIL with a hard right turn, and I could see the right engine from my seat (5C). The engine was obviously not on, as it was spinning at a much slower rate from the wind.
As we touched down around 11:30am, you could feel lots of rudder being used, and it was very fast. Apart from slowing down very quick, and reverse thrust only coming from the left side, it was a pretty normal landing. As we taxied to the terminal there was no FA announcement, and I saw fire trucks along the runway. I immediately called AS and had booked a seat on the 1:55pm BIL-SEA flight in about two minutes. As I was on the phone, the captain came on over the PA and said that they would need to fly in mechanics and parts from DEN or a new A/C which would be a minimum of three hours. We were soon let off the AC into the terminal to two places to eat, where we were told that food would be free if we showed our boarding passes.
I left security to go get my boarding pass for my QX flight/find a UA agent, and went back through security when I saw that the UA desk was totally unstaffed. I went to the UA gate, and saw there was a flight to Denver at 1:29pm. I called the 1K desk to see if I could get rebooked on that flight, and I was then told it was cancelled. Another person on the phone with the 1K desk was told the same thing, that the BIL-DEN flight was cancelled and that aircraft was being used for BIL-SEA. Keep in mind, this A/C is an A319 with 120 seats, vs the 757 with 182 seats (which was 100% full of revenue pax). I was standing around the UA gates waiting for an agent, until about 12:45pm when two agents showed up and said that the DEN flight is actually on time, just a new flight number. Also, we were told an A320 would be showing up to ferry us to SEA, and she'll process us by elite status and then by fare class. She made sure to tell us the 100 "Premiers" would make it on the flight (which included Star Alliance elites).
However, they had to recheckin all the pax on the flight to DEN as the flight number had changed. They had three computers, and at that point, three agents. After the DEN flight left, they'd process us on the 3:30pm BIL-SEA flight. When I found out that I'd be getting home soon, I cancelled my QX flight. All elites were rebooked automatically, and I had ended up in Y when I got my new boarding pass. I asked the agent why I was in Y on a ticket that was booked in "F" class - and she told me that she just went alphabetically by status (Globals and 1Ks on upgrades trumped all the paid F passengers because their names were higher on the list alphabetically). Ah, whatever, I was just glad to be getting home without having to spend that extra $300 for the QX flight.
The other 40+ passengers were rebooked on other airlines or later flights on UA and everyone was booked out of BIL that same day. Pretty impressive handling of the situation, and the flight landed in SEA around 4:10pm. I already had a generic email in my inbox from UA offering me a $250 ecertificate, which I thought was totally unacceptable, along with the other elites around me. Being downgraded, delayed 6 hours, and an emergency landing that made the news, should at least warrant a partial refund, or something other than airline currency. I will have to deal with UA later, since this post just took up much of my free time.
Hopefully this doesn't happen on my 757 from LAX-OGG tomorrow
Thanks for reading this long post, but I figured I'd rather give all details than leave some behind. It was a crazy travel day, much more exciting than a usual ORD-SEA flight. I'll make sure to keep my Billings-Seattle UA boarding pass