I’m just wrapping up yet another weekend sandwiched between two work days in Stockholm. At least southern Sweden is not in the midst of a deadly wind storm like it was the last time I got to do Friday and Monday trips up there.
But this past Friday’s trip to the capital was not without its own little drama. The webcast taping I was moderating was scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon, which meant taking a 6:45 a.m. flight, which meant catching a 5:30 a.m. bus from the city out to the airport. And then my plan for sleeping during the 55-minute flight was thwarted by an aborted take-off.
In hindsight, I don’t think we ever were in any real danger, but it was unnerving anyway. The plane was barrelling down the runway and a split-second before we should have lifted off, the engines throttled down dramatically. My initial reaction was, "Thank God that happened before we were airborne." But a split-second later I was wondering if we were going to run out of runway before the pilot could get the plane stopped. We didn’t, and he did…but not before I’d taken a mental inventory of the terrain and buildings surrounding the airport and calculated the distance to where the nearest exit ramp would be deployed.
The pilot came on a few minutes later and explained that he’d seen some data on one of the engines that didn’t look right and he wanted to get it checked out. I had a hard time understanding him…I assumed because of the stress of the situation…but then a very kind flight attendant sat down next to me and explained that he was Norwegian.
Whatever the problem was, it couldn’t be fixed with passengers on board, so we were all bumped to the next available flight at 8:30 and given vouchers to get some breakfast, but I think most passengers went directly to the airport bar. I called the Stockholm office and told them I was going to be late, and then managed to resist the urge to call Dr. Darling because I knew the incident would have just freaked her out.
The 8:30 flight went off without a hitch, except for the part where we had to wait for the runway to be swept of newly fallen snow before we could take off…the first bit of accumulation we’ve seen all winter. NATCH!