London Hotels Articles

April 15, 2010

Travel experiences: A trip to London

A Day Out

We were flying to London, England, from Denver, Colorado, for a one-day shopping and theater trip: leaving Friday morning and returning Sunday evening, and because we enjoy flying, the 11,000 miles were part of the fun. They were a chance to read, talk, eat and drink a enjoy relief from phones and the office and normal household chores.

An hour out on a Boeing 777 en route for Chicago and Heathrow, my wife was reading and I was playing chess against a hand-held computer. It was sunny above the white fluffy clouds and we were both at ease enjoying ourselves with a glass of wine, having enjoyed our meal.

Suddenly my wife said, “What happened? Have we turned?” She had noticed that the sun was no longer warming her through the window. It was now on the opposite side of the plane indeed, we must have turned, unless the cosmos had reversed itself.

Almost immediately, the Captain spoke over the public address system. “I have to tell you that we are returning to Denver,” he said.

There were groans throughout the cabin from all the businessmen.

“We have a little trouble with one engine, an oil leak perhaps, so we’ve had to shut it down. Now we are returning to get you all on a new plane to continue the journey.”

By this time, I was counting although it hardly needed a mathematician’s skill. The Boeing 777, a huge plane, only has two engines. With one shutdown, I envisioned the plane’s enormous weight including an almost full load of fuel being held up by the engine in one wing. It was rather like holding a very large weight on the end of an outstretched arm. I felt like leaning towards that side in sympathy perhaps we should all lean.

My wife said, “Do you think we are all-right?” and she grasped my hand.

“Yes, sure. Of course,” I said, and as if in confirmation, the Captain continued.

“This plane is perfectly capable of flying on one engine and it has been tested for many hours doing just that. However, you may notice a little more vibration and as we get closer to landing in Denver, the plane may fly at an angle for a while. To keep you fully informed I am connecting the cockpit communication to channel 9 of your headsets. Please listen in if you like.”

It was nice to know that someone competent was in charge.

My wife went back to her reading (still holding on to my hand) and I returned to my chess, but I couldn’t concentrate. My thoughts varied between wondering whether the airline was going to credit us with

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