You almost lost this guy today…
On my flight back from Louisville (I was a guest at the great WonderFest convention) to Burbank our pilot announced that one of the plane’s landing gear wasn’t lowering (code for “prepare for a crash landing”). He had to divert our plane from Burbank (runway not long enough) to LAX. You know you’re in trouble when your flight attendant straps in and starts to cry…
Fortunately, we had an ace pilot. He tried to manually lower the gear. He didn’t know whether it worked or not until his life-saving action was visually confirmed by the LAX fire department and Air Control (the pilot couldn’t see under the plane to see if what he did had worked; his instruments said he had failed).
Our entire cabin, a completely full flight, was absolutely silent on approach. I — and several other passengers — braced ourselves for the crash. We had a fire and police escort racing alongside the plane as we landed, their red lights flashing. When the landing proved successful (without crashing), our pilot got a huge round of relieved applause from the passengers — and we learned it was the pilot’s birthday!
Southwest offered to put us on another plane and fly us from LAX to Burbank Airport.
I instead opted to collect my luggage, get the hell out of there and take a taxi home.