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April 11, 2007

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 Emergency Landing

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Tudo Bom from Brazil! That's right I finally made it to Brasil (that's how the Brazilians spell it). Getting here was an adventure in itself! I had my first emergency landing on the first leg of the trip from California to Florida. If you want to find out what happened, check into the new and improved Hollywood Beach Marriott, and more importantly, hop on a TAM flight to South America, then grab your passport and bags because we're on our way to Rio! Yeah, baby!

When we left off last week, we were 35 miles off the coast of Venezuela on the island of Curacao. What a fantastic trip that was (here's the link). On the way home to L.A., I stopped off in South Florida to see my sister, niece and nephew in Delray Beach. To get there meant I needed to fly from Curacao to Miami. It was my first time clearing customs at the Miami International Airport (MIA) and I was shocked at how smoothly it went. I was prepared for the worst after hearing many horror stories about MIA. It took just two minutes and the agents were friendly. I then took the Tri-Rail ( train up to Delray, which took an hour and twenty minutes, cost only $5 and saved me not only money, but also time (I didn't have to deal with I-95 traffic) and the environment. TIP: Check Tri-Rail schedules online and buy your ticket before boarding the train.

As I mentioned once before, my sister's house in Delray Beach is practically a modern day Noah's Ark. They have almost every pet imaginable including a black mallard named Quackers. They rescued her and she loves her new home (and the dog, too!) Would you believe that Quackers sleeps with the dog? It's hilarious but it's still going to take me some time to get used to sharing the pool with a duck.

It would've been much easier if I had just stayed in Florida since I needed to fly back there a week later to catch a flight to Brazil. My American Airlines flight home to L.A. went smoothly (as expected) but on the flight back to Florida, it was anything but. I took American's 7am flight out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL). It started out well, even though the airport was completely packed, but I breezed right through the madness because I had checked in online and I wasn't checking any bags. I had an aisle seat in an emergency exit row and we took off on time. So far, so good. About an hour into the flight, I heard the flight attendants whispering to each other that something smelled funny. I caught the words "like electrical". Not what you want to hear when you're 37,000 feet up in the air! Shortly afterwards, the pilot came on the PA and said, "I realize a few passengers in the middle of the plane smell something funny, so we're not going to take any chances. We're going to divert to Tucson, just to play it safe." That's all he said and it was in a calm voice, as if we were driving down the road and had gotten a flat tire. No one panicked. I always had visions that if something like this were to happen, passengers (or myself) would stand up, run down the aisle with their arms flailing through the air, screaming at the top of their lungs that WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE! But luckily that didn't happen.

During the next 20 minutes on descent, everyone was real quiet as the plane made sharp turns. Then, out of nowhere, my knucklehead seatmate (who didn't say hi to me when he sat down) says, "There goes our on-time arrival." I looked at him like the idiot that he was and said, "Look buddy, all I want to do is ARRIVE!" And we did, thank God. Seven fire trucks greeted our Boeing 757 plane and followed us to the terminal. They wouldn't let anyone disembark for about 15 minutes while they were waiting to find out what was going to be done either fix the plane or get a new one. They went with the latter and amazingly American just so happened to be ferrying a plane from Fresno to Dallas and their headquarters had the empty plane come pick us up. It worked out well and cost us just three hours. As for the passenger sitting next to me, it turned out he really was a knucklehead because he said he was now going to miss his cruise. I wanted to knock on the top of his head and say "Hello, McFly! Anyone home?! Don't you think you should've flown in a day or two early?"

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Copyright 2007 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


My Sister Carol






Quackers Escaping




Tom and Quackers


American Airlines


Emergency Landing in Tucson

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