United777
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NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:31 am

Just heard this on the local news here in Seattle.

It turns out a NWA DC-10 from HNL to SEA had to be diverted to Boeing field due to poor visibility at Sea-Tac. In a span of 36 hours the Seattle area went from record rain-high winds-record temps to heavy snow. When the DC-10 was coming into Seattle it was snowing pretty hard so the ATC asked the NWA flight to divert to BFI. The DC-10 could not be put in a hold pattern due to fuel.

Once on the ground at BFI the DC-10 was stuck on the ground for three hours! NWA did not want to bus the passengers SIX miles to the SEA-TAC terminal! They just made there passengers from a long flight from HNL sit there for three hours. Once the passengers were allowed to depart the flight attendant was heard saying to complaing passengers "JUST GET OVER IT"

I'll have to say if I was on this flight I would be pissed! First all SEA is six miles from BFI.

Hasn't NWA done this to there passengers before during a snowstorm in Detroit and some other situations.
 
gigneil
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:35 am

The just get over it part is likely complete bullshit.

The rest of it does sound like a pain.

N
 
mlsrar
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:35 am

The DTW snowstorm problem is always referenced, and, yet there are so many who choose to overlook the other environmental factors surrounding it. Factors like the fact that the closed roads prevented many employees from getting to DTW to relieve the fatigued crews and airport personnel. Factors like DTW receiving a number of diversions that seriously oversubscribed the ability for NW ground crews to accomodate the traffic. Don't use this as a crutch to criticize NWA.

Alas, there is little that may apply from the prevoius experience to the supposed BFI experience.
I mean, for the right price I’ll fight a lion. - Mike Tyson
 
AgnusBymaster
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:42 am

What exactly were they supposed to do? How easy is it to arrange bus transportation for 200+ people with no advanced notice? Anyway, the aircraft had to get back to SEA at some point...
 
OPNLguy
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:52 am

First things first...

Take what you hear on the radio/TV with a grain of salt. ATC didn't divert the flight to BFI--the NWA dispatcher did. This might seem like a minor quibble, but when the media reports these kinds of inaccuracies, it gives one reason to doubt the accuracy of other items.

As far as not "wanting" to bus the folks from BFI to SEA, I don't know that's necessarily accurate. Off-line diversions (going somewhere your airline doesn't fly to) can be a pain. You don't have personnel in place. You don't have equipment (like stuff to unload DC-10 containers). Once there at BFI, part of the delay might have been waiting (hopefully) for improvement in the weather at SEA so they could go BFI-SEA and avoid the ground handling problems (the lack of stuff) at BFI. If the deteoration in the SEA was unexpected and unforecast (as I suspect it was) waiting for improvement while at BFI was not an exact science, and a "check the weather" every X-minutes kind of situation.

Another possibility was that when they diverted to BFI, NWA started efforts to get buses, but this sometimes takes time to set-up and get them where they are needed. These kinds of buses usually carry 45-50 folks, so a fully-loaded DC-10 would have needed several. Were there that many available? Did other airlines beat NWA to reserving them? We don't know--neither does the media.

There are scads of other variables associated with off-line diversions, and it's unfair to compare this event with what happened at DTW a few winters back, especially based upon the media's reporting of stuff, which is often out of operational context.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
nwcoflyer
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 7:55 am

They were on the ground at BFI for just under 2 hours. If they had to charter a bus, It would take 45 minutes to an hour to get the bus there, and then it would take the passengers 30 minutes to deplane. Then it would take the pax another 30 minutes to get on the busses and drive to SEA, which is another 15 to 20 minutes. That is just around 2 hours, give to take a few minutes. NW made the right choice IMO. Yes, it sucks that the pax had to endure this. However, there was no real good choice.

BTW, I don't even know if NW could get enough busses in such short notice for 200+ pax.
The New American is arriving.
 
Bronko
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 8:07 am

I can vouch for the crazy weather. I was up from 2:00 until 5:00 this morning, and the winds were extremely heavy. Power was lost briefly a few times. Then, when I woke up at 7:00, we had an inch of snow on the ground! By 7:30, we had lost power, and it was out when I left the house around 11:00.

As I sit here at work, I see alternating high winds, clouds, and some clear skies with sun.

Whatever.
Jet City Aviation Photography
 
767Lover
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 8:07 am

If the snow was that bad, perhaps they couldn't be bused anyway.
 
User avatar
eta unknown
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 8:22 am

Bad day for NW HNL flights- the LAX-HNL flight is cancelled due to mechanical problems.
 
Bronko
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 8:52 am

People here in Seattle don't know how to drive in the snow anyway. Seriously, the city is paralyzed by an inch of snow. You have these idiots and soccer mom's in their SUV's who think that they can still drive normal speeds because the light says four wheel drive is engaged.
Jet City Aviation Photography
 
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clickhappy
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:01 am

You have these idiots and soccer mom's in their SUV's

Haha, what kind of car do you drive, Dave?

 Big grin

 
RiverVisualNYC
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:17 am

Once again, more proof of the media's lack of understanding of aviation logistics. The airline industry should stop paying big bucks to advertise on TV until some reporters get a lesson in the safety, financial and logistical issues involved in civil aviation. 90% or more of the time, the airline industry does the best it can to get passengers to where they are going safely, comfortably and on time. Alot of industry employees have endured pay cuts, pension shortfalls, and irate customers just to keep their jobs. The fact that the media latches on to the small number of flights that don't operate successfully and harp on it repeatedly should be unacceptable. When was the last time you saw a news report about computers crashing due to software problems, something that I am sure is more likely to happen than a major flight diversion? Why are the American people willing to accept inferior quality in many products and services, yet go postal when their flight is a couple of hours late?
 
OPNLguy
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 9:22 am

Don't forget that this is a "sweeps" month for the media...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Mizzou65201
Posts: 192
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 10:06 am

Ok, as both an aviation enthusiast and a news reporter and producer, let me try to quell some of the media-bashing going on here.

Without knowing exactly the chain of events in this particular story, I can tell you what *probably* happened, based on personal experience covering similar wx-related flight diversions.

The first word of the diversion could come from any number of ways. The last time I covered one, it was from a family member awaiting arrival of someone on the plane.

A competent reporter will make three calls: airport operations, the airline's designated media/PR contact, and airline information. Airport ops will tell you the status of the airport and of any diversions. In this case, ops may have simply said "NW flight X has been diverted to BFI."

PR people widely vary in reliability and quality. Even if you get a hold of one immediately--quite often you have to have them paged, or you get a voice mail--they frequently don't know the answer to your question, and have to check back with internal sources.

The call to airline information will probably be done without identification as a reporter...generally, airline people (and people at any other company, for that matter) are under strict internal orders to refer all media questions to corporate PR.

The long and short of it? We report the information we get our hands on. If Sea-Tac airport ops tell us "NW flight X has been diverted to BFI," we go on the air with "Sea-Tac Airport Ops says NW flight X has been diverted to BFI." Of course, you can see how people who hear this report could think it means air traffic control, and pass it on from there...

Does that mean "the media" sometimes reports inaccuracies during breaking news situations? Of course! But that's not a flaw inherent in the media, that's a flaw of the fact that we're being told inaccurate information, which we don't know is inaccurate until later. That's why competent reporters and stations attribute facts we hear.

Rivervisual: I'm not sure if you're attacking the media, the American public, or both. If you think "the media" ignores business problems in the aviation industry, I respectfully disagree. The Wall Street Journal covers the nuts and bolts of aviation very well. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch did thorough coverage of AA's pull out at STL and the numerous angles from which the decision had repercussions.

But customer service is a problem in the eyes of the flying public. And stories like this, with a high "gee whiz" factor (a flight getting diverted to an airport 6 miles up the road) are bound to get attention.

And the "sweeps" month has less relevance than you might think. News stations program special reports during those months, but spot news--such as this--is always a priority. Reporters and producers don't say "Gosh! We had better go all out on this big story, because it's sweeps month" or vice versa. Breaking news the public is interested in gets us in gear. Ratings periods don't.
 
bahadir
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 10:48 am

Bronko,
I agree with you about the bad driving habits of residents of my home town.. I love the way people drive in Montreal ..  Smile
Earthbound misfit I
 
AIR757200
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 10:56 am


The just get over it part is likely complete bullshit.

Actually, that was my favorite part!  Smile
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
Posts: 6091
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 11:11 am

The major issue as mentioned is......

No employees to handle ground ops.....
No airport facilities
No portable airstairs
No GPU
No tugs
No container handling ability

For the plane even to be unloaded, NW employees would've had to come over from SEA. Now, if the roads were truely that bad, how is that supposed to happen? How are the busses going to get to BFI and SEA? What are the passengers going to do if they get to SEA with the airport shut down? Unloading bags and putting them onto buses is a logisical nightmare as then every single bag then continuing on would have to be rechecked. Each person would have to go back through security screening, etc.

NW employees in SEA had enough problems to worry about than let along go over to BFI to work an aircraft.

People would've complained just as much if they were unloaded at BFI....
The the media headlines would read:

"Ancient NW aircraft runs dangerously low on fuel, lands at BFI, passengers feared for their lives, stranged, panic broke out, reports of canabalism, eye-witnessed reported seeing flames from the engines, held hostage by NW, finally unloaded onto busses, terror in the sky, bussed on icy treachorous roads, all lost their luggage, all this and more tonight at 11...."
 
DL328
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 11:12 am

Want to see bad driving in bad weather, come to Georgia.
 
RiverVisualNYC
Posts: 926
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:11 am

RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 11:27 am

Mizzou: Maybe the story should be "HNL to SEA flight lands safely at BFI, passengers and baggage all accounted for" or is that not exciting enough for you? Thanks for your defense of the talking head industry. It's always nice to hear the aviation views of someone who got their job because of a slick headshot or editing the high school newspaper. Surely more valuable than the views of some of the engineers, pilots, technicians, frequent fliers, and other people in this forum. I only wish the public had as much choice in media as they do in air travel, then people who rushed to report sensational non-stories like this one would be out of business. If you truly think that airline diversions are an easily resolved customer service issue similar to those in other industries, you have no understanding of weather, traffic, security or technical considerations. As for your defense of the Wall St Journal, this is a newspaper that has advocated opening up our domestic airways to foreign competition, and a survival of the richest mentality in all industries. I only wish you media types could have your jobs outsourced to low paid foreigners as easily as most other Americans jobs could be. But then, that's why you are known in the industry as "personalities." The rules of efficiency don't apply to people like you.
 
mlsrar
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:02 pm

I only wish the public had as much choice in media as they do in air travel, then people who rushed to report sensational non-stories like this one would be out of business.

A simple solution is to source your information from relevant, proven sources; those who have historically proven to have been fountains of reliable, accurate news, not a bastion of gossip. If you have yet to find one, you can contact me via e-mail and I would be happy to enlighten you so you don't have to better yourself by criticizing the media.

If you truly think that airline diversions are an easily resolved customer service issue similar to those in other industries, you have no understanding of weather, traffic, security or technical considerations.

I'm not sure who you were aiming this ridiculous charge at, but are you countering that the whole of the forum is uneducated about such matters?

As for your defense of the Wall St Journal, this is a newspaper that has advocated opening up our domestic airways to foreign competition, and a survival of the richest mentality in all industries. I only wish you media types could have your jobs outsourced to low paid foreigners as easily as most other Americans jobs could be. But then, that's why you are known in the industry as "personalities." The rules of efficiency don't apply to people like you.

The WSJ is mired in a history of accurate reporting. Sounds to me like you have been brainwashed by the rob-from-the-rich (whom may have earned their monies and fiscal security through hard-work) and give-to-the-poor media yourself. I happen to take exception to your ridicule of the media. I happen to work in an industry which demands just as much time and attention to detal, working long hours, with little or no reward, and a fractional tangible result at the end of the day.



I mean, for the right price I’ll fight a lion. - Mike Tyson
 
prosa
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:07 pm

The call to airline information will probably be done without identification as a reporter...generally, airline people (and people at any other company, for that matter) are under strict internal orders to refer all media questions to corporate PR.

Would that be ethical on the reporter's part?
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
RiverVisualNYC
Posts: 926
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RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:12 pm

"time and attention to detal, working long hours, with little or no reward, and a fractional tangible result at the end of the day."
sounds like aviation, not media....

"rob-from-the-rich (whom may have earned their monies and fiscal security through hard-work) "
you sound like one of those people that thinks the american worker is lazy, and the rich deserve all the breaks they can get....because they worked hard for it right? so if you worked hard and you aren't rich, would that lead you to conclude you didn;t work hard enough, or perhaps there's something wrong with our system...last i looked the wall st. journal writes for a target demographic of people who make more than $100k a year, which by definition excludes most in the airline industry, and in fact most in america.
 
mlsrar
Posts: 1384
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2000 7:41 am

RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:24 pm

so if you worked hard and you aren't rich, would that lead you to conclude you didn;t work hard enough,

Speak for yourself, pal. I work in an industry that is saturated with qualified professionals, and regulated by technological limitations that are constantly evolving. It is very difficult to break away and become 'rich' in networking. Then again, how do you define rich.

Where are you finding your figures for WSJ's target audience? Wall St. is devoted to being an informative source for investors, and anyone seeking a thorough fiscal evaluation of todays' market. It has nothing to do with wealth or income...it writes to those who wish to build wealth and manage their income in the process.

And, for the record, I think that there are many Americans who are lazy. And yet, the paradox is that their state and apathetic work ethic is a result of a government that promotes and enables that behavior.
I mean, for the right price I’ll fight a lion. - Mike Tyson
 
Mizzou65201
Posts: 192
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2000 2:11 am

RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:30 pm

Maybe the story should be "HNL to SEA flight lands safely at BFI, passengers and baggage all accounted for" or is that not exciting enough for you?

It's not news. Thousands of flights land safely every day. Millions of people go to work and school, do their jobs, and go home. Not news. Journalists report the unusual, the important, the interesting, the practical--not the monotony of daily life. Even if that was "news"...would people watch? I don't think so.

It's always nice to hear the aviation views of someone who got their job because of a slick headshot or editing the high school newspaper. Surely more valuable than the views of some of the engineers, pilots, technicians, frequent fliers, and other people in this forum.

I'm not sure if this is a personal attack at me or at journalists in general. Either way, it displays a gross misunderstanding of what it takes to become a journalist AND succeed in the industry. Do some 24 hour cable networks put "experts" on the air who may have questionable credentials, or present views that don't mesh with those of people on the board? Sure. But 24 hour cable news is a whole different animal...that's another topic for another discussion board.

I only wish the public had as much choice in media as they do in air travel, then people who rushed to report sensational non-stories like this one would be out of business. If you truly think that airline diversions are an easily resolved customer service issue similar to those in other industries, you have no understanding of weather, traffic, security or technical considerations.

"Sensational." I have yet to see any proof that this story was presented in a "sensational" manner. My guess would be it was presented in the larger context of an unusually major weather event which, more likely than not, affected the lives of everyone in western Washington yesterday and today. If that's sensational, then so be it...

Diversions: Of course it's not easily resolved! That's why it's NEWS.

As for your defense of the Wall St Journal, this is a newspaper that has advocated opening up our domestic airways to foreign competition, and a survival of the richest mentality in all industries. I only wish you media types could have your jobs outsourced to low paid foreigners as easily as most other Americans jobs could be. But then, that's why you are known in the industry as "personalities." The rules of efficiency don't apply to people like you.

I'll echo Mlsrar's comments here. Please note the difference between a newspaper's editorial stance and their reporting. Reporters do not serve on editorial (opinion page) boards. Disagreeing with the WSJ's (or any other newspaper's) editorial-page opinion is fine. But there's a huge difference between editorial pages and news content, the same way there's a difference between your top-of-the-hour radio news anchor and the right-wing talk show host who comes on afterwards. Just because news and commentary appear in the same paper or on the same channel *does not* mean they come from the same pot.






 
UAORD
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 4:01 am

RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:53 pm

Surprised the Northwest Flight attendant did not slip sleeping pills in some OJ and pass the drinks around while on the ground or do they do that just to crying babies?

 
Mizzou65201
Posts: 192
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2000 2:11 am

RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:55 pm

The call to airline information will probably be done without identification as a reporter...generally, airline people (and people at any other company, for that matter) are under strict internal orders to refer all media questions to corporate PR.

Is this ethical? Yes. It's information they're giving out to any member of the travelling public. If you say you're a reporter, they clam up and tell you they can't talk to you, for fear of corporate rules (at least some of the times...if you're just looking for basic FLIFO, some understand the "rules" really aren't meant to prevent release of that information.) Nevertheless, it's ordinary information being given to the public at large. No reason to go around shouting "Hey! I'm a reporter!"

Now that most airlines' internet sites have real-time FLIFO, and with the advent of web-based tracking systems, the same result can usually be accomplished by web based searching. Wasn't like that even just a few years ago...

"time and attention to detail, working long hours, with little or no reward, and a fractional tangible result at the end of the day."

I can speak from a broadcast news perspective, since that's where I've worked.
**When we get things wrong, not only do we hear about it from you, the public, but it damages our personal and collective reputations. This is not to say there are no bad reporters. It is to say that MOST reporters make their bread-and-butter living by tracking down stories and getting the details right...the first time.
**When news happens, we have to be there. Most TV reporters work 12 hour shifts. Just about every reporter has pulled more than their fair share of overnight shifts...after all, news doesn't stop happening between 11 pm and 6 am.
**The average starting salary for reporters (broadcast or print) is about $25,000/year. Only the main anchors in the larger cities make more than $70,000/year. Best guesstimate is that the average newspaper reporter or TV reporter (not anchor) makes $40,000/year. Some newspaper reporters are union members (Writers Guild of America) as are TV and radio reporters (American Federation of TV & Radio Artists). Especially in broadcast, we work in a highly competitive business environment where we constantly have to be in front of the "other guy" so that people will tune to us for their news. All this in a corporate environment that values business over journalism and has resulted in consolidations and staff cuts (especially in newspapers.)

And at the end of the day, we get bashed by the public we work our tails off to serve, because they think we're lying to them.




 
RiverVisualNYC
Posts: 926
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:11 am

RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 1:06 pm

It's always nice to be set upon by people with lofty financial goals and new economy jobs like "networking" and broadcast media. Hell, I am old enough (unlike many here) to remember when "network" referred to broadcast media, not the thing your computer is connected to. I'm also old enough to remember when people didn't take flying through the air at 33.000 feet at 550 mph for granted. But I still think any airline employee or true aviation enthusiast would agree that the media generally has a bias against the airline industry that has only gotten worse since 9/11. It's the media that whined about the high fares and flight delays when the economy was booming, and now that the industry is in the dumps they take every opportunity to take a cheap shot. Can anyone tell me what the last positive news story they saw about the airlines was in the general mass media, and when? UAORD, right on for the "crying baby" analogy, Unless you can afford to charter your own private jet (maybe from reading the Wall St Journal, it's full of ads for such services), passengers should sit down, shut up and hang on. You get what you pay for.
 
767Lover
Posts: 3254
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2003 6:32 am

RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 1:38 pm

It doesn't say anywhere in the original post that the media REPORTED that NWA didn't want to bus or that ATC request the diversion. We are getting hearsay from member "United 777."

People get so hostile around here!
 
SEANWAS
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:32 pm

RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 2:44 pm

I was on 924 last night. nwa did well. The pax clapped after both landings. The FA's and pilots kept pax as informed and comfortable as possible. On arrival the agents had already made arrangements and gave excellent clear instructions over the AC PA on what pax should do. I did not see the medias coverage of this diversion but if anything it seems it would should only have been mentioned in the context of the greater bad weather story.
 
nwcoflyer
Posts: 677
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2003 7:55 am

RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 3:16 pm

PSU.DTW.SCE,

"Ancient NW aircraft runs dangerously low on fuel, lands at BFI, passengers feared for their lives, stranged, panic broke out, reports of canabalism, eye-witnessed reported seeing flames from the engines, held hostage by NW, finally unloaded onto busses, terror in the sky, bussed on icy treachorous roads, all lost their luggage, all this and more tonight at 11...."

That was great! Gave me a good laugh.

Mabey you could get a job with FreePress in DTW, I am sure that if you could write that kind of NW bashing material all of the time, you would be one of their most respected columnists.
The New American is arriving.
 
COAB767
Posts: 1313
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:32 pm

RE: NW Flight Grounded For Three Hours

Thu Nov 20, 2003 4:25 pm

yes back on December 1st 2002, I was scheduled to fly on NW7 from Seattle-Narita. The inbound aircraft could not land at Sea-Tac so the plane landed at BFI. When we checked in for the flight, the monitors said "PSGRS FOR THIS FLT WILL BE BUSED TO BOEING FIELD"
Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"

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