No Fuel, Hot Weather, Out of Time for Wedding

September 11, 2015

in Weather Stories

June 2006 – Montreal to Memphis: After a wonderful trip to Canada with my aunt and uncle, we were looking forward to coming home to Memphis and attending my cousin’s wedding that evening. We were approaching the Memphis area when the pilot began circling; a massive storm was barreling down over Memphis causing all incoming flights to divert and all departures to be grounded until it passed. Yay.

After circling for what seemed like an eternity, we were forced to divert to the closest airport (Little Rock, AR) because we were running very low on fuel. (Side note: I will never understand why pilots feel compelled to make that announcement in MID AIR – but I digress).

We landed in Little Rock to wait out the storm, but unfortunately about a trillion other flights had the same idea and the airport did not have enough gates to accommodate the large number of diverted flights. So, you guessed it, we had to wait on the tarmac, and after about an hour our plane finally ran out of fuel.

Keep in mind it is June.

In the south.

In a large metal tube with over 100 people and no air conditioning.

To say it was hot and humid would be a profound understatement.

Our only way to cool off after consuming what was left of the cold drinks (because we couldn’t exit the plane) was to open the emergency exit doors to get a very warm crosswind. It helped… sort of.

TWO MISERABLE HOURS later, the storm finally passed and we got the all clear. We were convinced that we were going to miss the wedding, but we landed in rainy Memphis, sped home, showered off the airplane sweat, and made it to the wedding minutes before my cousin walked down the aisle!

Delighted all ended well, but it was quite possibly the longest day of my life.

– Elizabeth

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave September 13, 2015 at 6:47 am

How dare the pilot not try to land in a dangerous thunderstorm! I'm sorry he inconvenienced you by choosing not to risk your life by flying through a dangerous area!


RedHead0186 September 15, 2015 at 2:41 pm

That wasn't really what the OP was complaining about. Pretty sure the point was more about how they were stuck in an airplane for two hours with no A/C in heat/humidity.


Peter September 13, 2015 at 10:18 am

That's a pretty horrific flight experience. I was shocked with the flight experiences that I saw in this youtube clip too:
Maybe I should refrain from flying completely


mensa58 September 15, 2015 at 1:35 pm

I know what you mean about the mid-air announcements. Once I was on a flight to PHL from DCA. We got as far as Wilmington and then kept circling. The pilot came on and said the fog wasn't lifting; we didn't have enough fuel to keep circling so we went back to DCA.


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