For avid readers of this blog, you will know that I’m not a great lover of air travel. I can just about tolerate it, but I’m not a fan in all honesty.
Which leads me onto today’s tale. I was coming back from a honeymoon in Malta. I had just recently got married and me and the wife (or the better half, or in this case the better three quarters) had spent a week in the sun kissed Mediterranean island.
The journey back from Malta was relatively trouble free, until we reached the outskirts of the UK. It was windy and the plane was being thrown a little off it’s steady course coming into Gatwick. I don’t like the landing part of a plane’s journey and as we came in to touch down, I sat bolt upright in the seat.
Just before the wheels touched the ground, the pilot bailed out and lifted the plane back into the air. Now I hadn’t been confronted with this before. I was scared and I also realised that adrenaline was brown….
I shouted “What the hell’s going on?”, “Why are we going round again?” and generally panicking. Nobody else was, including the wife, who I managed to bawl at at the same time, for which I received a ticking off in her own inimitable and frightening way.
The plane circled the airport for what seemed an eternity. Then the pilot made another attempt to land. This time, he was successful, though the plane landed with a large thud and lurched to the right. I was relieved we were on terra firma at last.
As the plane was taxiing back to the gate, the pilot announced what the problem was. “Sorry about that ladies and gentlemen, it was rather windy the first time and we couldn’t land. We had to adopt the go around procedure”. A bit more reassurance and then the pay off line, delivered with that clipped Home Counties accent that most pilots seem to have….”but we don’t charge you for going round the airfield again”.
Er….thanks for frightening the bejesus out of me and to say we don’t charge you for the privilege of the go around was rubbing salt into my panic induced wound. Off we got, and I was shaking like a jelly on a plate. Wobble, wobble, wobble.
Walking back through the terminal building, I was somewhat shell shocked by the whole experience. The wife found it all utterly hilarious of course, the laughter would have been on the other side of her face if I decided to end the marriage then! If I had done, I would have saved myself a lot of hassle, but that’s another story…..
It took me a few days back on solid ground to wipe the experience from my mind. Now that I know that pilots can perform this go around procedure, if it happens again, I can be assured that there is nothing to worry about. Flying and public speaking can be two of the most stressful things anyone can do, and yet I do these things, after a fashion it must be said. The mind is a complex thing.
Allen Brooks xx