Friday, May 7, 2010

Some Things Were Never Meant to Fly

Since posting this, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the plane's tail clipped the runway during take-off. That explains the loud ka-thunk I heard!
Today it was ME. I was never meant to fly on May 7.
On Friday, May 7, I said my tearful good-byes to family and at 2:00 p.m. boarded my United flight to San Francisco.
In my window seat I took these last looks at Sydney, and Australia's beautiful coastline.
Within 15 minutes of taking off, it was apparent there was a mechanical problem. Not only did I hear a loud ka-thunk, but my ears were continually plugging up. I couldn't swallow fast enough. The captain let us know that the tower in Sydney had seen smoke from our plane during take-off and the problem had something to do with the air pressure system. Continuing to stay in communication with the tower, we were told a decision would be made about completing the flight.

After another 15 minutes or so, we learned we would be returning to Sydney, but all the fuel had to be released first, so our landing would be lighter. For the next half hour, I watched this out my window. Fuel being dumped...

After our 90 minute flight, we returned to Sydney, coming in on a little-used runway, with ground crews ready to assess the plane's need for repair.We waited in the hot plane for an hour before we learned we would be disembarking. But the most frustrating aspect of it all was that we had to go back through customs, queuing-up in the same long lines as the other three flights that arrived when we did! Argh. Everyone on our flight was offered a ride to a motel for an overnight stay and $35 for dinner. Fortunately for me, my family came to my rescue, picking me up and giving me a place to stay. Well, I have mentioned how much I like it here, haven't I?

At 1:00 a.m., United phoned to let me know they could return me home on Saturday via Hong Kong with an eight-hour layover, and a connection to Chicago with only one hour to go through US customs. I declined. Instead, I will be returning home Monday, May 10, on the same combination of flights I first planned - Sydney to San Francisco to Denver to Des Moines.

Whew! Friday was sure a long day. I'd left my daughter's home at 11:30 a.m. and by 6:30 p.m. I was back. God sure had me to praying mightily, and I am grateful that the pilots made the wise decision to return us to Sydney.

The morals of this story? 1) Never stop praying; 2) God hears our prayers and protects us; and, 3) Some things, like Linda, were never meant to fly.


  1. Wow! I'm so glad all is well. Another few days in Australia is a good thing. :) blessings, marlene

  2. Oh dear. Glad to hear you are safe and sound. An extended stay with family is the upside. Downside - it all starts again on Monday and more tearful goodbyes. Have a safe trip home.

  3. Well, that's an interesting experience! Enjoy your extra few days here.

  4. Glad to hear you are safe. It's a long enough trip before having to lose all that time in the air and in a cramped plane.

  5. I'm so glad you are okay, but sorry that you have to go through this all again. I will continue to ask for travel mercies for you. Take care.

  6. OMG you will do anything not to leave Oz Linda. Better safe then sorry and we are happy to keep you.



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