Current Mood: Remaining Positive Deep On The Gulf O’ Texas
Current Music: Back In The USSR - The Beatles
I guess Katrina & Rita's wrath wasn't enough for the evil gods of tragedy. Three days ago a Jet Blue airliner's landing gear went out of whack shortly after take off from a Californian airport. The tires were twisted sideways. When the flight crew became aware of the problem they had no other option than to circle the airport for three hours, burning off a full tank of jet fuel to lessening the chance of fire during emergency landing. The precious lives of 292 fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts & uncles in the hands of the pilots. These heroic passengers watched onboard satellite TV reports of what must have seemed their approaching death. I would have had to have been restrained and thrown into a padded luggage compartment.
Jet Blue is one of the airline industrys’ new kid on the block. I became aware of them when they first popped up on the runway back in 1999. My boss at the time was a high volume traveler and had me scheduling flights constantly. "Get me to NYC now or grow me some wings!" was often hollered out his office door. Last minute flights are enormously expensive, so I had my work cut out for me. The boss was, ummmmmm, frugal. That's where Jet Blue came in. Cheap, cheap, cheap! The only problem we had was location. Jet Blue is a US only carrier so we had to make the 2 hour trek south to Buffalo in order to use them. It was worth it! $99 return to JFK, $109 to Boston. Rescheduling? No problem! No charge! Jet Blue's funky attitude caught my fancy as well. The website was upbeat, "with it", and pulled no punches. "We keep our costs low, so if you're hungry, brown bag it". Unlike the other airlines that charge $350 for the same flight and offer a shot glass sized soft drink or toss out a miniscule bag of stale peanuts (if you're lucky) at mealtimes. With Jet Blue you got what you paid for and never walked away feeling ripped off. I'm not mechanical, but by all appearances the fleet looked well maintained. We have an airline in Canada somewhat alike in attitude but don't come close to copying Jet Blue's cool style or great pricing. I'm hoping they land in our Canuck airports soon.
I couldn't watch the live CNN landing footage. I take to the skies often, and come close to peeing my pants if turbulence so much as wobbles the wings an inch or two. I've even perfected the white knuckle technique. I did however read and see pictures during my morning ritual of online CNN reading. A big grin crossed my face when the picture of the big craft jumped up on my screen. It didn't shock me that the emblem on the side of the aircraft read Jet Blue. All the dealings I had back in the day were always a pleasure.
The airplane came down on the runway, tires ripping off, metal to metal contact creating flames & smoke, the landing gear held. Not surprising that the sheer grit in landing the aircraft under such terrifying circumstances brought those 292 passengers safely to the ground by the skills of a Jet Blue pilot. There were a number of touching passenger testimonials reported. Tears everywhere. Utter Relief. The grin returned to my face when I read the final line of the article. Once the aircraft came to a screeching halt the pilot said this over the p.a. system:
"Ladies & gentlemen my apologies. I was 6" off the center line".
Gotta love it. So now it's two down and one to go. I'm praying Rita's landing is miles off the center line, like somewhere out in the middle of the Atlantic. Batten down Texas, our thoughts and prayers are with you.