White Finger Nails
I was flying TWA from St. Louis to Indianapolis in August 1996. It was
shortly after the crash of flight 800 and weather was bad, so people were
already nervous. Even though the rain was pouring and lightning flashing,
they hustled us onto the plane, closed the doors, and then told us they had
"just been informed" that we couldn't take off because of the weather
(yeah, sure). After sitting crammed on the plane for 45 minutes, clearance
was given for take-off, and our plane waited in line for another 30 minutes
before it actually did take off. As soon as it did, the passenger area
filled with smoke.
The plane made a number of sickening turns and steadily
lost altitude. We were relieved to finally see that we were landing on the
runway instead of crashing, although the sight of all the fire engines
waiting along the runway was a little concerning. The crew did not speak to
the passengers at all during this whole time, until we pulled up to the
gate and were told to wait in our seats while they figured out what was
wrong with the plane! Needless to say, the crew was informed that if they
didn't let us out, we would let ourselves out.
Although the experience was very frightening, TWA probably still wouldn't
have lost me as a customer if they had said something over the intercom
right away to the effect that they were aware there was smoke, they weren't
sure what the problem was, and that they were turning around and going back
to the airport. If I want to be treated like cargo, I'll fly UPS.
Editor's note: Since this incident in 1997, TWA has dramatically improved itself.
TWA now ranks (2000) in the top three airlines for customer satisfaction. Well Done
Submitted by Ann Hake
updated December, 2004
9.0 million served
Copyright 2004 R Ryan. All Rights