Air Travel Adventure Part I

I’m on my way to Bangalore. The planned itinerary was JL 057, SFO – NRT (Narita, Tokyo) departing May 5; JL 753, NRT – BLR.

Everything went fine for nearly all of the first leg. On-time departure, everything going smoothly. We were coming in to land at NRT, when — the pilot aborted the landing and went around again.

Okay, I’ve had that experience before, except that this time it seemed like a very long go-round. I wondered if they were avoiding traffic, or burning off fuel in preparation for a rough landing. Anyway, after a bit, they came in for a landing again. And — the same thing happened. Aborted the landing. Went up and around. By now, I was wondering what was up, and whether I was in the territory of Sylvia Wrigley (owner of the Fear of Landing blog and aviation writer of books like “Pilot Error“!)  I actually made farewell messages to family, but didn’t send them. (One of them was, “If this is a problem, this is a more interesting exit than any alternatives.”)

After a few minutes, they announced we were going to ??? international airport. (Not Haneda.) I asked the person sitting in the next seat, and he explained we were headed to Nagoya because of high winds at both NRT and Haneda. We landed uneventfully at Nagoya. So now I knew it wasn’t aircraft trouble at least.

And we waited. People around me were all ready to deplane, but the cabin crew asked us to remain seated while they awaited instructions from the company. Then they announced we would return to Narita after refueling. (Instructions: Please unplug your devices, and do not do anything that would cause a fire, including smoking.)

We took off and headed back to NRT. The pilot brought the plane in for a landing and – aborted. Oh oh, I thought, Nagoya here we come. But they went around again, brought it in. It was turbulent and the aircraft was juddering, but we passed what was clearly the point of no return, and then soon we were on the ground. The windsock looked like the wind wasn’t at 90 degrees exactly, but maybe 70 or so? Anyway, a strong cross wind. We clapped. The picture below is from the inflight Airshow on the screen, shortly before the actual landing.
Of course everyone with connecting flights had missed their connections, including me. The crew told us information would be waiting after we deplaned.

That was the beginning of the next part of the adventure (blogged in Air Travel Adventures Part II).

Well, at least I was in Mary Robinette Kowal  territory (Mary Robinette, the well-known author, having had so many travel adventures that she started a Mary-go-round drinking game!), not Sylvia’s air-space!