Holes in planes

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Southwest Airlines Co. inspected about 200 planes overnight after a football-sized hole opened up in the passenger cabin of a jet in flight, forcing an emergency landing in West Virginia.
From the Globe and Mail

This reminds me of my most recent travels.

When I was leaving Calgary a week and a bit ago to return to Kuwait our departure was delayed because the plane was hit by lightning on the landing. The British Airways pilot came into the departure lounge and fully explained the process being followed. He noted that he didn’t want to stay on the plane because due to an unrelated problem the on the ground air conditioning wasn’t working so it was too hot on the plane so he would stick around if there were any questions or concerns from the passengers.

He said that because the plane was hit by lighting they have to inspect the plane to find out where it was hit and what if any damage was done. I thought that planes were hit by lighting all the time and didn’t know it was such a big deal. That is what they have been saying about the Air France flight that was lost over the Atlantic recently.

Then about 45 minutes later he said they found the hole. It was a pencil sized hole near the rear of the plane. And he said now they had to give the news to the head office in London and possibly even a photo to London and maybe even have to consult with Boeing to get the OK to fly.

Oh and he said don’t worry he wouldn’t get on the plan if it wasn’t safe.

So about another hour later the news came back that the hole was in an unpressurized area of the plane and wasn’t a concern. So we were good to go.

On the plane I was lucky to seat in an exit row. This often means you will be face to face with the flight attendant. She was very helpful in all ways. The service was very good. I told her that the delay would be no problem for her and she said well they don’t get overtime anymore. Part of cost cutting these days.

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