Two years previous I had been on a holiday of a lifetime, a holiday (in my opinion) to the greatest city in the world, Orlando, Florida. Now I would be in that fantastic city again and I would go on more fast rides because I was older and more adventurous.
We had chosen to take the plane from Manchester to Florida via New York. On the plane journey from Manchester to New York all I could think about was my last trip to America. I tried to remember how hot it had been, the adrenalin filled rides which I thought could only have got better since the last time I went. I thought about how refreshing it was to jump in a pool in the middle of the afternoon, when the humidity and the sun were at their most intense. I remembered how I went down a two hundred-foot vertical drop in a water park, how I had nearly fainted due to thirst, and I remembered the luxurious villa and apartment we stayed in. In about twenty-four hours that life would all be mine again, for three weeks. I had to make the most of it.
Finally we arrived at our destination; J.F.K airport and I took one glance at the place and thinking to myself “Wow!” This airport was by far the largest airport I had ever been in. We checked in and everything was perfect. We went round to all the duty-free shops because we had time to kill for our flight to Orlando was not scheduled for another hour. About three-quarters of an hour later my Dad went to the reception area just to check everything was alright. It was a good job that he did go because the plane had been delayed for another two hours. I thought nothing of it at first but then, about another hour later I started to get very bored. The airport had given us eighty dollars worth of food vouchers so we decided to go and have a nice meal at the airport’s expense. We went to the monitor were they were telling people what planes were delayed and which were on time. I had a bad feeling about it and I was right. Three hours more we had to wait due to a fault in one of the engines. We (well my father really) complained about this to the Delta-Airlines representative and found that many other English travellers who were booked on the plane to Orlando were doing the same. We were given more food tickets and cans and snacks that were meant to be on the plane. The novelty of all the free ‘goodies’ we were receiving began to wear off and I was beginning to feel very tired.
The next three hours were very unclear in my mind, I think I fell asleep during some of the time but that is questionable. Finally we were on board the plane and we were eagerly anticipating the trip to wonderland that lied in wait for us. We started to move ever so slightly towards the runway. I know I had been before yet I could not contain myself for I was bursting with excitement. As we approached the runway we took a sharp turn to the left and it seemed as though we were doing a complete U-turn. Most passengers on the flight were asking the same questions, and just then, quite appropriately the captain said,
“We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties in the engine so we are just going to ask maintenance to help fix the situation. We will take off as soon as we can, sorry for any inconvenience that has been caused.”
About half an hour later we took to the runway once more, but this time we took off with little trouble. We started gaining altitude rapidly, as is normal with any take off. Except this flight I sensed was going to be different, not just because of the lengthy delay I had endured over the past six hours but I sensed that the worst was yet to come. About fifteen minutes later more questions were being asked, because we were not gaining altitude any more. Then suddenly out of nowhere a man of about forty years of age jumped out of his seat and ran down the corridor shouting at the captain, going ballistic at him, screaming something about the petrol. My brother tugged at my T-shirt frantically and when I finally turned round he pointed out the window and I saw a sight I never was to forget. The plane was tilted at a forty-degree angle over the ocean, and petrol was being fired out of the petrol tank like a fireman’s hose putting out a wild fire. The whole plane turned into chaos and even the air-stewardess joined in the turmoil. Again the captain spoke, this time he was a little bit more nervous than the last time he had addressed us over the plane speakers; “This is your captain again, just to inform you that we are still experiencing technical difficulties and we will shortly be making an emergency landing and we are currently getting rid of excess fuel because if we tried to land now we would be too heavy. Please remain calm as we will be at the airport shortly.”
At least we knew what was going on which restored an element of calm back to the aircraft, improving the morale of the passengers. When all the fuel had been disposed of successfully we looked out of the window to see a fire crew of and a few ambulances on the runway, which made me very ‘on edge’. Those few minutes as we approached the runway seemed to take longer than the whole holiday did. I was very nervous and all types of questions were running through my mind like ‘Am I going to die’, ‘Will we be alright’ ‘What is going to happen’. I thought about all my friends at home, and my girlfriend Kate. I thought about what their reaction would be if they heard that I had been involved in a plane crash. As we approached the runway I remember nearly tearing the armrests off the seats, and then a sudden jerk, a large thud and an amazingly loud screech as we hit the ground. Fortunately we had a successful emergency landing to which we applauded the captain. We were told we were going to be put up in a hotel for a night and we would be transferred to a different airport in the morning. We were then taken to the luggage department were we picked up our suitcases and boarded a minibus to the Ramada Hotel, which was very luxurious. My sister had been feeling ill so she and my mum went to bed as soon as we got there as did my brother and nana, whereas me and my dad went down to the bar for an hour or two.
The next morning we were taken to La Guardia airport were we were scheduled to leave on the next plane to Orlando. As we checked in at the airport we were in for yet another unfortunate surprise. Our scheduled flight had been cancelled so after about an hour of quarrelling, we were put on standby for the next three flights and guaranteed a place on the fourth flight, which was in six hours. Again we were given more food tickets and were left to amuse ourselves for six more painful hours. Every flight to Orlando was full so we went on the fourth flight even though the airport were offering four-hundred dollars a ticket, and five-thousand dollars off your next flight with the airline.
The rest of the holiday went brilliantly apart from the heat getting to an almost unbearable point, but apart from that it was everything we expected and more; it was a holiday of a lifetime.