Rick767 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 2662 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (11 years 12 months 23 hours ago) and read 10706 times:
In fact, many pilots did not tell the truth. On several flights, including one a friend of mine was on, the passengers were informed of a small mechanical problem, requiring diversion to a nearby airport as a precaution.
Once on the ground, with many other aircraft surrounding them, the Captain told the passengers the real cause for the diversion.
Not sure what I would have said, or as a passenger, what I would have preferred to hear! I was in Orlando at the time with a few days off, had flown over NYC on the way down to MCO just 2 days before.
A very sad day for all involved.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
DeltaAir From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1094 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (11 years 12 months 23 hours ago) and read 10691 times:
Another great story of pulling together for our fellow world citizens......
If you wondered about all those flights that were in the middle of the great blue Atlantic Ocean on the morning of September 11th, here is an up-close-and-personal story written by a Delta Airlines flight attendant en route from Frankfurt to Atlanta. This was the first accounting that I had read of one of the diverted flights to Canada. I found it both compelling and inspiring. And the question the writer poses at the end is a good one: "Why not?"
We were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt flying over the North Atlantic and I was in my crew rest seat taking my scheduled rest break. All of a sudden the curtains parted violently and I was told to go to the cockpit, right now, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had one of those "All Business" looks on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. I quickly read the message and realized the importance of it. The message was from Atlanta, addressed to our flight, and simply said, "Emergency situation developing, all airways over the Continental US are closed. Land ASAP at the nearest airport, advise your destination and ETA."
Now, when a dispatcher tells you to land immediately without suggesting which airport, one can assume that the dispatcher has reluctantly given up control of the flight to the captain. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. It was quickly decided that the nearest airport was 400 miles away, behind our right shoulder, in Gander, on the island of New Foundland. A quick request was made to the Canadian traffic controller and a right turn, directly to Gander, was approved immediately. We found out later why there was no hesitation by the Canadian controller approving our request. We, the in-flight crew, were told to get the airplane ready for an immediate landing. While this was going on another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area.
We briefed the in-flight crew about going to Gander and we went about our business 'closing down' the airplane for a landing. A few minutes later I went back to the cockpit to find out that some airplanes had been hijacked and were being flown into buildings all over the US. We decided to make an announcement and LIE to the passengers for the time being. We told them that an instrument problem had arisen on the airplane and that we needed to land at Gander to have it checked. We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There were many unhappy passengers but that is par for the course.
We landed in Gander about 40 minutes after the start of this episode. There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world. After we parked on the ramp the captain made the following announcement. "Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. But the reality is that we are here for a good reason." Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the US. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. Local time at Gander was 12:30 p.m. (11:00 a.m. EST) Gander control told us to stay put. No one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near the aircrafts. Only a car from the airport police would come around once in a while, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In the next hour or so all the airways over the North Atlantic were vacated and Gander alone ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, out of which 27 were flying US flags. We were told that each and every plane was to be off loaded, one at a time, with the foreign carriers given the priority. We were No.14 in the US category. We were further told that we would be given a tentative time to deplane at 6 p.m. Meanwhile bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were trying to use their cell phones but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada. Some did get through but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the US were either blocked or jammed and to try again. Some time late in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. Now the passengers were totally bewildered and emotionally exhausted but stayed calm as we kept reminding them to look around to see that we were not the only ones in this predicament.
There were 52 other planes with people on them in the same situation. We also told them that the Canadian Government was in charge and we were at their mercy. True to their word, at 6 p.m., Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would come at 11 a.m., the next morning. That took the last wind out of the passengers and they simply resigned and accepted this news without much noise and really started to get into a mode of spending the night on the airplane.
Gander had promised us any and all medical attention if needed; medicine, water, and lavatory servicing. And they were true to their word. Fortunately we had no medical situation during the night. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without any further complications on our airplane despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements. About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th we were told to get ready to leave the aircraft.
A convoy of school buses showed up at the side of the airplane, the stairway was hooked up and the passengers were taken to the terminal for "processing". We, the crew, were taken to the same terminal but were told to go to a different section, where we were processed through Immigration and customs and then had to register with the Red Cross. After that we were isolated from our passengers and were taken in a caravan of vans to a very small hotel in the town of Gander. We had no idea where our passengers were going.
The town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people. Red Cross told us that they were going to process about 10,500 passengers from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander. We were told to just relax at the hotel and wait for a call to go back to the airport, but not to expect that call for a while. We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started. Meanwhile we enjoyed ourselves going around town discovering things and enjoying the hospitality. The people were so friendly and they just knew that we were the "Plane People". We all had a great time until we got that call, 2 days later, on the 14th at 7 a.m. We made it to the airport by 8:30 a.m. and left for Atlanta at 12:30 p.m. arriving in Atlanta at about 4:30 p.m.. (Gander is 1 hour and 30 minutes ahead of EST, yes!, 1 hour and 30 minutes.)
But that's not what I wanted to tell you. What passengers told us was so uplifting and incredible and the timing couldn't have been better. We found out that Gander and the surrounding small communities, within a 75 Kilometer radius, had closed all the high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to a mass lodging area. Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up. ALL the high school students HAD to volunteer taking care of the "GUESTS".
Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 Kilometers from Gander. There they were put in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were given no choice and were taken to private homes. Remember that young pregnant lady, she was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24 hour Urgent Care type facility. There were DDS on call and they had both male and female nurses available and stayed with the crowd for the duration. Phone calls and emails to US and Europe were available for everyone once a day. During the days the passengers were given a choice of "Excursion" trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went to see the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests. Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the school for those who elected to stay put. Others were driven to the eatery of their choice and fed. They were given tokens to go to the local Laundromat to wash their clothes, since their luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words every single need was met for those unfortunate travelers. Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. After all that, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single one missing or late. All because the local Red Cross had all the information about the goings on back at Gander and knew which group needed to leave for the airport at what time. Absolutely incredible.
When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everybody knew everybody else by their name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. It was mind-boggling. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a party flight. We simply stayed out of their way. The passengers had totally bonded and they were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.
And then a strange thing happened. One of our business class passengers approached me and asked if he could speak over the PA to his fellow passengers. We never, never, allow that. But something told me to get out of his way. I said "of course". The gentleman picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers. He further stated that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of the town of Lewisporte. He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide a scholarship for high school student(s) of Lewisporte to help them go to college. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers.
When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, it totaled to $14.5K or about $20K Canadian. The gentleman who started all this turned out to be an MD from Virginia. He promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.
Why, all of this? Just because some people in far away places were kind to some strangers, who happened to literally drop in among them? WHY NOT?
747firstclass From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (11 years 12 months 21 hours ago) and read 10601 times:
I was on LH flight#414 nonstop TXL-IAD. We were well over Nova Scotia, well on our way to an arrival at IAD, 40 minutes early. The captain came on and spoke in German first, I can understand a fair amount and the flight attendants near me were turning white as a ghost. He repeated his speech in English and my understanding of German was correct. He said we had turned around and were returning to Berlin as there had been terrorists attacks in New York and Washington and as many as 25,000 people could be dead and that US air space was closed. He did mention the WTC and the Pentagon. He said there would be a refueling stop in Shannon in 5 and a half hours and more detailed information would be provided there.The captain said that becasue all the air traffic controllers were busy redirecting planes etc. it was impossible to get updated news reports. I cant begin to describe how creepy, quiet, eeriie the ride to Shannon was. AWFUL. We had no way of making contact to the outside world, no way.Many of us, presumed it to be some kind of nuclear attack. As we neared Shannon, the captain came on and gave more details, which were on target, with a revised downward death toll.
Upon arrival back at TXL, 13 hours to the minute after we left, we landed amidst heavy security. There we were told that the flight the next day to IAD was canceled and all flights to the US were canceled indefinetly. My heart sank.
We were put up at a wonderful, luxurious hotel in Berlin for what turned out to be 5 nights and fed 2 meals a day. We were given free, unlimited internet access where we monitored the situation. Over the 5 days we were there, some of my fellow passengers made alternate arrangements etc. Those that stuck the ordeal out were rewarded with free upgrades to business class on the first flight from TXL-IAD on sunday. Had there been a scheduled flight on saturday, we would have gone as parts destined for a Ford plant in the US were being stockpiled in Berlin and the shutdown was starting to have empolyment implications for both countries.
In the end, we appreciated LH and the captain being forthright, frank and candid and truthful about what was going on. It was a day and an experience, I will never, ever forget. Impossible.
747firstclass From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (11 years 12 months 21 hours ago) and read 10580 times:
PS Forgot to say that the entire hotel and food bill was picked up by LH and I was traveling on a free ticket from UA MIleage Plus. Be you would not see that kind of customer service from any US carrier.
747firstclass From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 12 months 21 hours ago) and read 10570 times:
We were 40 minutes early, so that helped. We were on a A-340 and the captain said we could probably make it back to TXL without a refueling stop, but to play it safe we would stop in Shannon. When we landed in Shannon we had been flying for 10 hours 30 min. Flight time from TXL-IAD was for 8hrs 40 min.Flying time from Shannon to TXL was about 90 minutes.
B747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (11 years 12 months 20 hours ago) and read 10537 times:
I was on a DLX flight EWR-MCO and unfortunately had a panoramic view of the second plane hitting the tower from our location on the taxiways at EWR. I'll never forget the captain's words -- "Folks, you probably saw the same thing I did. I guess we won't be going anywhere for a while."
747firstclass From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (11 years 12 months 18 hours ago) and read 10431 times:
Fast forward to Sunday Sept. 16. I as back on LH flight#414 nonstop TXL-IAD and we were over Boston when teh captain said that we were starting our descent for arrival at IAD. It was a crystal clear day and we all knew that there was a good chance that we would be passing over NYC. The captain made no mention or reference to it, but a few minutes later, we were directly over NYC. We got an excellent view of the smoldering, burning WTC. I think that everyone who was not in a window seat got up to take a look. Later, while on the approach to IAD, you could see the Pentagon destruction.
Of course, when we finally touched down, the cabin filled with a thunderous applause, whistles, cheers etc. It was than that I fully realized something, that in addition to the carnage, destruction etc of Sept. 11, it was our freedom that was taken. Freedom of many things. While, I was able to do and see more things during my 5 day "return" visit to Berlin, many, many others had far, far less luxurious accomodations during their ordeal in Canada and various other places. For me the inconvenience was not the fact, that there was no real need for me to return to Washington, DC, it was the fact that I was denied the freedom to do so, if I wanted to return home. Being held in such a situation, without alternate means, is to put it mildly, an unsettling experience.May all of us never have to live through anything like this again, icluding a 5 and a half hour plane ride back across the atlantic, not knowing the full extent of what happened on that ghastly day.
TheSilverBirds From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 92 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (11 years 12 months 18 hours ago) and read 10375 times:
I was not in the air when it happened. In fact I was on my way to class. Im majoring in Aviation Management. I was on my way to my Airline Management class to find my professor watching MSNBC on the TV in the classroom. He didnt say a word, and I watched, not believing what I saw. My professor turned to me and said, 'Everything you have learned has just taken a drastic change. Go back to your dorm, I will see you next class.' It was very wierd.
Flying machine From Spain, joined May 2002, 223 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (11 years 12 months 14 hours ago) and read 10259 times:
My sister was flying from Paris to Mexico City and the plane was diverted somewhere in Canada, Gander in New Founland I think an the pilot always told the truth .She was flying by aeromexico.The planes where evacuated by local school buses.She met wonderful people that help those passengers to feel like at home.
Spotterboy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (11 years 12 months 12 hours ago) and read 10160 times:
My uncle was onboard an US Airways flight with a B 767-200 from CLT to FRA during those horrible things happened. Hewas stranded at Halifax with several US Airways , Lufthansa , British Airways and Alitalia , American Airlines and United planes.
Mt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6574 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (11 years 12 months 9 hours ago) and read 10021 times:
had a 4:10PM deparure our of CDG aboard AF to ORD. We had been sitting dont on the plane for about 20 min. and still people were boarding (our A340 was parked very far from the terminal and we had to take busses). After 25 min and still watching people board. hoping no one would sit in the two empty seats next to the window so i could move there after take off, the capt came and said something in french... in my limited knowlwdge of the language and the low volume of the speakers i though he said that we were late beacause we waiting for people that were going to New York!. there was a little gasp in the plane. Then 2 min later he comes back in English (and louder) and says that "Due to terrorist attacks in New York City, the United States Goverment has closed down all airways above the US. This Filght has been cancelled". Then there was a huge gasp! people started to get out of their seats, people with working cellphones began calling people and news startede to leak in while we waited for the busses to come back to pick us up. 1 plane and 1 helicopter, 2 planes, WTC, Pentagon.. didnt make much sense.. I will never forget the worried look of the flight attendants. The terminal was a mess.
anyway... making a long story short... 4 extra days "trapped" in a forest outside of Paris, all meals, all accomodations courtesy of AF, including entrance to an amusemnt park for 1 day (Wed.) (excelent, crisis managemt), aand perhaps one of the most surreal days in my life. One day i will write about those 4 days.
ClipperNo1 From Germany, joined May 1999, 672 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (11 years 12 months 4 hours ago) and read 9849 times:
It is really nice and let's my eyes swell again, to hear all these stories of hospitality and warmness you guys mention. In these terrible days the cruel reality went beyond our imaginations and fears. I remeber everyone at work (at the airport) was panicing and leaving the facilities driving home to their beloved ones and finding out on the radio that the WTC was no more. I find myself forgetting or even fighting these memories. Stuff like this let's you forget your 'small', egoistic everyday problems and reminds of things that are truly important.
Sorry to be off topic, but I felt like it.
Keep the stories coming.
"I really don't know one plane from the other. To me they are just marginal costs with wings."Ã¯Â¿Â½ Alfred Kahn, 1977
B747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (11 years 12 months 3 hours ago) and read 9791 times:
to hear all these stories of hospitality and warmness you guys mention.
Similarly, there were also stories of inhuman treatment for many passengers. Air India's LHR-JFK and LHR-ORD flights were returned to LHR where passengers were held for 5 days in overcrowded detention centers. Saudi Arabian's flight from MCO was diverted to NAS where passengers weren't even allowed to leave the plane for the first 3 days. Passengers on diverted Midway Airlines flights were stuck at diversion stations as planes were ferried back to RDU without them aboard after Midway ceased operations, but still with their luggage in the holds.
It wasn't all good for everyone, that I assure you.
Ual777contrail From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (11 years 12 months 1 hour ago) and read 9697 times:
WHEN all this terrable crap took place i was at lake powell in utah,my father in law and i always try to spot planes on their way to SLC, for about two days or so we didnt see anything.after two days of no planes we got to thinking,then some boaters stopped us needing some oil and they said how about all this crap with the terrorist? we said what terrorist? and they explained.we didnt find out until thurs.my wife and i and brother in law left powell that night(all work for ual) and headed home,no contrails or newspapers in sight.we had to drive 11 hours throught the mountains until we reached DEN and finally turned on 850 koa and they talked about it alot.it was a freaky feeling like in red dawn.we were so out of the loop,no tv's or radio's on the boat.
this was a good story thought of the nice people of gander.
ual 777 contrail
: I remember how strange it was to look up in the sky for 2 days and not see or hear any planes, see no contrails, nothing.
: Air India's LHR-JFK and LHR-ORD flights were returned to LHR where passengers were held for 5 days in overcrowded detention centers. Saudi Arabian's f
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: Wow these stories are great. I cannot imagine my own reaction if I had been told that nearly all global airspace had been shut down. I too would have
: I know from speaking with a few flight attendants at USAir that captains were reluctant to make announcements for fear that additional terrorists on b
31 NBC News1
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: One of the best topics I´ve read so far. Thanks for sharing your stories with everybody. I was not in the air, witnessed the collapse of the WTC on a
: "Did every single Trans Pac flight manage to land?" Aviation has a perfect record- they've never left an aircraft up there! A lot of aircraft from the