A while ago I wrote about a slightly unfortunate flight I had from the UK back to Mallorca. Back then the flight was slightly disturbing based on the other travelers and the amount of alcohol used during the flight. well this time my story ain’t pretty either, but for an entirely different reason.
Last week I was very early at Eindhoven airport to catch a flight to Warsaw with Ryanair to visit a friend. The weather was good Dutch autumn style so we were not put off by the amount of rain currently coming out of the sky. We boarded our flight bright and early and all went smoothly. We heard some stories that there was some fog at Warsaw airport, and we might had to deviate to the city centre airport, which would suit us just fine. We flew with three girls and we immediately started to tell our worst flight experiences just to get ourselves in the mood. My story related to a broken off landing at Copenhagen airport due to heavy wind.
I was kindly told to shut up and we all started on our rather silent morning flight without any shocking stories. When it was about time to land our pilot informed us that there was indeed very heavy low fog and we had to circle for about 15-20 minutes in the hope the fog would disappear. In the back of my mind immediately the stories sparked again about the limited extra fuel of Ryanair, but decided for the sake of my sanity and that of my fellow travelers to keep this hopefully urban legend out of the discussion. After about 20 minutes our pilot informed us that it was time to “give it a shot”, which I considered to be not the most reassuring words coming from a pilot that has to land a plane in thick fog.
We started our descent and we could clearly see the fog hanging around the tree tops, which made it impossible to see the actual runway. We got down very slowly, going down two, going up one again, it was obvious our pilot wasn’t too sure about the whole situation too. We had to be quite low by now, but still we couldn’t see anything until all of a sudden the fog broke slightly and we could only see treetops, and not a runway down in sight! It appeared we were next to the runway rather than on it! I guess that was also the reason why the pilot decided to aboard our landing and we had to get up full power to increase our hight again. To say this was not a smooth take off is an understatement.
After a few minutes the announcement was made that indeed landing was not possible and they were now deciding if we would (a) wait, (b) give it another shot) or (c) go to the real city airport of Warsaw which was not fogy at all. I can assure you everybody in the plane was very much in favor of option c, and we were very happy when the pilot announced that indeed landing was deemed impossible at the airport and we would deviate. So the plane started in a happy chatter which almost made us miss the casual announcement that we were going to give it one more shot. Needless to say the passengers in the plane was not too happy and the atmosphere in the plane turned really really quiet. I have never heard such a big applause when our plane finally hit the runway and we landed safely! When we exited the plane it turned out the airport itself hadn’t really trusted the situation and 2 fire trucks were next to the plane when we landed….
So that was part 2 of the bad flight experiences, and I’m sorry to announce that part 3 was in the same weekend, this time the flight back. After an amazing weekend in Warsaw (tips will follow) it was time for our flight back. We had been following the Dutch news a bit (all those free WIFI bars in the city centre) and we were aware that a massive storm was scheduled for the flight day. It was expected to be the worst storm in about 15 years with winds over 140 km an hour, yeeeeyy. Still having our previous experience in mind we were not too enthusiastically about the prospect of yet another rocky flight, but hey, nothing we could do about it. So we went off to the airport, half expecting to get a cancellation or at least a serious delay, we left exactly on the planned time.
Our pilot, blessed with a sense of humor, announced that it was a bit windy, so we should keep our seat belts on. The flight was surprisingly smooth until we were above the Netherlands and we had to lower a bit. We felt the massive winds on the plane and shaking us up quite bad. We kept going lower and lower, and praise to the pilot, we were shaking quite badly. In the mean time, the atmosphere in the plane had gone quite silent, even the loud group of guys behind us had lost their appetite to make inappropriate comments awaiting the landing. Having still the experience from 3 days ago in mind we were less than comfortable as well, and I can assure you, when we finally hit the runway with a massive bang (in 1 go luckily!), I was extremely relieved, even to the point that I reconsider flying for a bit! well… at least until the beginning of December when my flight to Miami is planned. Being afraid is one thing, canceling a holiday is a whole different league of course!