The Crash Landing of Southwest 345

southwest345Last week the plane my family and I were traveling on crash landed.

I read somewhere that technically what we experienced isn’t considered a crash landing, but in my mind when a plane hits the runway nose first, crushes the front landing gear, and skids 2,175 feet in a shower of sparks before stopping, it’s a crash landing.

As the plane approached the runway, I was already a little nervous. The landing had been delayed due to bad weather and the plane had been in a holding pattern for over 30 minutes. At some point a flight attendant instructed everyone to not only check their own seat belt, but also check the seat belt of the passenger next to them. I’d never heard such an instruction before, so I thought something must be wrong.

Our descent felt shaky, then without warning we hit the runway with a loud BANG. People whose seat belts were loose yelled in surprise as they were thrown into the seatbacks in front of them. The engines made a horrific noise as the plane scraped down the runway, drowning out the sound of falling belongings and scared passengers. Amazingly, someone captured the experience on video.

After the plane stopped moving, we heard nothing from the cockpit. We sat for a moment wondering what to do next. Some people got up to retrieve their carry-on bags from the overhead bins, causing a flight attendant to grab the intercom and yell, “We are not at the gate, please stay in your seats!”

Then I smelled something burning. Could just be the brakes, I told myself, and I didn’t see any smoke in the rear section where I was seated (those in the front section, however, did report seeing smoke).

Soon we were told to exit the rear of the plane using the emergency chute. Everyone was on their feet, and there were shouts to “leave your carry-ons.”

Rescue personnel surrounded the bottom of the chute to catch people as they came down, which they did admirably (although I did witness one unfortunate woman tumble into the grass somehow). I slid down, then waited for my son to slide down behind me and was quickly pointed to an area some distance from the plane that I needed to get to right away.

Once we reached safety, I turned around to see the plane for the first time. That was when I realized what had happened and how serious it could’ve been. The landing felt very rough, certainly, but I didn’t expect to see the plane nose down at the edge of the runway being sprayed with fire hoses.

Like many other passengers I pulled out my phone and started capturing pictures and videos. A policeman angrily approached me, asking me to “stop filming please.” I asked why but couldn’t hear his reply.

Soon we were corralled into buses which remained motionless for quite a while. Every few minutes the doors would open so someone could come onto the bus and count us, or ask us if we needed medical attention. They’d leave, and a few minutes later someone else would do the same thing.

Eventually the buses took us away from the runway and to the airport, where we were led to a room set aside for passengers of the flight. Everyone was asked whether they needed medical attention, and now that the adrenaline was wearing off several people were feeling the pain and chose to be looked at. I should’ve been among them – I hit the seat in front of me pretty hard – but didn’t want to leave my family.

We sat waiting for information about what had happened, how we could get our bags, and when we could leave, but Southwest seemed ill-prepared to deal with the situation. To their credit Southwest made sure we had plenty of food and water while we waited, but representatives sent to talk to passengers tossed out platitudes like “your safety is our biggest concern,” which did little to assuage those who needed medicine that had been left on the plane.

At random intervals a woman would pop into the room and say, “we have no further information at this time, but we will let you know as soon as we have any information.”

Hours earlier everyone was thankful for walking away from that botched landing, but now people were becoming tired, frustrated, and angry at Southwest. We were given conflicting reports of what to do and how long we’d be there. One minute we were told our suitcases were waiting for us in the baggage retrieval area, the next minute we were told they were still on the plane.

Eventually my family and I decided to leave and have Southwest deliver our bags once they were retrieved from the plane. I was hesitant to do this because my carry-on contained an expensive Retina MacBook Pro and several other electronics, but it was very late, we were very tired, and Southwest had just offered to pay for everyone’s transportation away from the airport.

A Southwest representative told a group of us to follow “the guy in the red jacket” who would take us to the ground transportation area. Instead, he took us to the baggage area to retrieve our bags – which, of course, weren’t there. We had to explain to him that he was supposed to get us transportation.

When we arrived outside we saw a large group of fellow passengers waiting, unhappily, in the taxi line. Whoever was making arrangements was unable to “contact the right manager” about getting everyone on their way efficiently, so instead an unfortunate Southwest rep was leaning into every cab, explaining the situation to each driver – who didn’t always understand English – then paying for the ride up front with a credit card. In our case, the taxi driver didn’t understand the rep at all and kept asking if he was riding with us. It would’ve been comical if we weren’t so tired.

The next day Southwest delivered our bags to our hotel but my carry-on wasn’t among them. It arrived a day later – without my MacBook Pro. That, along with an Apple TV and a Lightning cable, had been stolen from my bag.

Southwest has agreed to reimburse me for these items once I provide proof that I purchased them (no problem, I have receipts). They claim the items weren’t stolen but were more likely “misplaced” by someone sent on board to retrieve carry-on bags.

I am, of course, concerned about my stolen belongings and bothered by Southwest’s initial sloppy handling. But it’s hard to complain too much given that my family and I walked away from what could’ve been a much worse situation.

And in the end we had a fantastic week in New York together, which ironically is due in part to my not having a laptop to distract me with work-related things.

Update: Last night we flew home (yes, we were nervous during the landing), and on our doorstep found a FedEx package from Southwest which contained a check reimbursing us for the trip along with two round-trip tickets anywhere in the U.S. for each family member.

83 thoughts on “The Crash Landing of Southwest 345

    1. Couldn’t of said it better self. Lets call up Sue! LOL Southwest should charge for bags, snacks & drinks. I have know problem paying it. Southwest doesn’t outsource their maintenance this was a pilot error, called a flare landing. The NTSB report has stated this, so the pilot made an error. The burden of that on your conscious the rest of your life would be horrible. It wasn’t done on purpose, god forbid, I know no one has ever had an accident or incident in their life. Shameful! Also, you could be giving libel information about Southwest. I would be-careful posting things unless you know their protocol.

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  1. The passenger gets to call it a crash landing — not matter what the airlines calls it. Also, I recently had a “lost” baggage issue with American Airlines and they used pretty-much the same language, “It’s not lost, it’s misplaced,” they kept telling me. “If you don’t know where it is,” I said, “it’s lost.” Fortunately, it turned up a few days later…but I have no idea where they lost it…or found it.

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  2. Hope the Airport police and the airline actually investigate the theft. That’s just evil to steal a guy’s stuff after you almost kill him.

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    1. It wont be a southwest employee who stole the mans laptop but some cheeky little local scallywag taking advantage of the situation, one of the airports handling agents.

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      1. The theft is still South West’s responsibility for failing to secure the aircraft. Their amateurish handling of the incident is bad enough. But now when pax on an aircraft are required to evacuate I guarantee they will try to take valuables with them BECAUSE of South West’s failure in their duty of care to people’s belongings.

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  3. Take it from someone who knows a little about the industry – Southwest is known for coming in too fast. You may save a $ or two, but this type of thing has been a long time coming. Fortunately it wasn’t worse! If people knew just how Southwest pilots flew compared to other airlines, combined with their shady business practices, more people would take other safer airlines… but I guess they have redneck funny flight attendants and that appeals to some. As does not having an assigned seat.

    Glad you are safe, thats the most important thing. Second most is getting your Apple gear back!

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    1. As a somewhat frequent traveller I find this statement really dubious. Southwest lands no differently than any other airline I have seen, sometimes landings are perfectly smooth and sometimes a little rough. If Southwest were doing anything systematically bad on landings passengers would be complaining and we would have seen an incident like this long ago given how many fights southwest handles now.

      The defiantley need to work on emergency procedures though in dealing with people who have to be evacuated from a plane!

      Nick, I think you should post any details you have from your Macbook pro (like MAC address or other technical details) and let a few hackers seek out the bastard that took your laptop for some good ol’ vengeance… at the very least inform Apple it was stolen, I think they may be able to do something if the laptop with your serial number shows up at a genius bar for repair.

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      1. Southwest used to have their pilots literally fly the planes into the ground with very little flare at the end. Additionally, if windy, they would maintain a high angle of attack on the landing but still execute very little flare. I assumed the purpose of this was to enable the pilot to take the first turn off the runway, rather than float down the runway, saving jet fuel and time. A consequence of this practice is sometimes striking the pavement tail first or dropping the nose on touchdown so hard that it slams down. However, I thought I read that this plane had a defective tire which suffered a blow-out on touchdown. Anyways, in the last year I have noticed more and more Southwest pilots going back to conventional landing techniques.

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    2. Umm… Southwest lands on the same glide slopes as every other jet. A few extra knots on landing might squeeze out a couple seconds, but certainly not enough gain to become an informal policy. Besides, a pilot could gain more from just cruising a bit faster.

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    3. Take it from someone who knows a lot about flying airplanes – fast approaches do not cause nose gear collapses. They may lead to overruns like Burbank. This was not that.

      And now you know why it’s important to ensure that your seat belt is *securely* fastened.

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    4. You sound really knowledgeable. How fast were they coming in? How fast should they have been coming in?

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    5. Knows a little about the industry? What does that mean=? You work at an airport shop and listen to the gossip? You fly twice a year? As a Southwest pilot for over 25 years, I’ve listened to this crap too long. EVERY Southwest pilot I know flies the plane at the speeds prescribed by Boeing. The flaps are extended for landing at the speeds in the book. The landing gear is extended at the speeds in the book. The final approach speed is calculated by the on-board computer and is flown as precisely as humanly possible. As near as I can tell these rumors are started by employees of other airlines who are jealous of Southwest’s success, while their own airlines are so incompetently run that they take turns declaring bankruptcy and cheating their creditors,, customers, and employees out of what they owe them. It’s POSSIBLE that the pilot in this plane made an error. But to then take one incident and use it to disparage over 5000 pilots, who fly for the airline with the best safety record in aviation history, is disgraceful.

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    6. As a person who really knows the industry, AA employee of 33 years, Southwest has an unbelievable safety record! In fact the highest safety record in the industry. This was not a matter of crazy landing but an equipment mishap. Accidents happen, but their record tells the story and is one to be envied by the rest of us.

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  4. I would always store my most irreplaceable belongings in a back-pack underneath the seat in front of me or in my pockets in case the plane crashes. I would always take this carry-on with me even if told not to by the flight attendant. Airline employees steal. You are lucky if they are honest. Laptops and jewelry are easy targets.

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    1. Advocating taking your belongings with you is dangerous and selfish. In the event of smoke and a fire, you are threatening the lives of people behind you. If you look at the crash of AF 358, they had 90 seconds to evacuate 309 people before the fuselage was engulfed in flames.

      Unfortunately, I bet that Southwest has enough problems to deal with than to track down the theft of a laptop and stories like this are going to end up increasing injuries and deaths.

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      1. Taking a small backpack from under your seat would not endanger or slow anyone, since it would be strapped to your back and you could put it on while waiting to exit the row. I totally agree you should not take overhead bags, at the very least because even opening the compartment could send a lot of luggage down on people or fall to block the aisles.

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      2. Oh yeah, Sam, they’ve got plenty of problems – like figuring out how to keep a straight face while telling passengers that their belongings were “misplaced” from inside a zippered bag. You make some good points with respect to safety, but there’s no need being an apologist for a company’s lack of integrity.

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      3. What happens if everyone decides to strap a backpack on? What about the space constraints, with a backpack on your keeping someone further behind you than normal. What about when you go down the slide and your backpack tears the fabric causing it to deflate?…. fool.

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  5. Hard to complain?!

    You should be screaming from the rooftops. They injured you, treated you disgracefully and then allowed your computer to be nicked. Sue them senseless.

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    1. A lawsuit about the stolen computer is likely to be fruitless — they did pay for the replacement already, and that is all a judge or jury is likely to offer up. At best you could try for value of anything not backed up since leaving the house, but if you are asking for value of things you failed to back BEFORE you left home SW does at least have a leg to stand on.

      (I’m not a lawyer, so my legal “training” is a class two decades ago in high school, and watching LA Law, so don’t take this as real legal advice, go see a real lawyer, like one that give a free half hour consult, they have real training, maybe even experience!)

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  6. Last time I checked, airline flight attendants in the US made south of $30k per annum and slept in their parked cars between shifts. They’ve had their jobs de-professionalized and destroyed by their managers. We can blame the lack of training — the un-preparedness — on low-level workers. We can blame this on managers and owners. Your call.

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    1. The problem wasn’t with the flight attendants though – they seemed to do OK since they told people not to grab carryons, and got the slides deployed OK after seeing what the situation was. It was management of all the other personnel that was poorly organize.

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  7. Gosh – that sounds scary. How shameful that somehow would think to steal from you after your plane crashes. Really low. Good news though that you and your family are all alright.

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  8. It may not have been South West responsible for handling the baggage at the airport. Frequently baggage handling is done by a different company contracted to either the airport or the airline, and what happens in the case of a flight incident, is possibly down to a an entirely different decision making structure than just the airline and airport management.

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    1. See my comment above. South West can contract out the work to another company but not the responsibility for safe keeping of other people’s property. They failed in the landing and then in their duty of care for their passenger’s belongings. There was no fire and the aircraft was inert after the evacuation. Recovering bags should have been a simple step and under the oversight of South West personnel.

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      1. Can you point to incident management procedures at the FAA were the company retains control over the aircraft after an incident? The aircraft, it’s flight recorders, and so on are usually in the control of the ATSB as it investigates the causes of the incident.

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      2. Scot M. Is right, The aircraft is actually turned over to the NTSB after an incident and the Airline has no access! They were the only ones on the plane until released back to the airline so not necesarily a Southwest person!

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  9. I get a “video not found” message at the Gawker link. Looks like Southwest may have issued a takedown?

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  10. @Nick: It’s interesting that you don’t mention the ‘brace’ command in your report. Did you really miss it?

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  11. I have been flying SW since they started at Orange County Airport CA and I have never understood how they get away with the kind of landings they do–not to mention the other cost cutting gimmicks (check out their maintenance checks between stops–if you are quick enough you can often see them from the boarding area). Remember the high speed landing at Burbank Airport a while back where the plane was stopped by a downtown gas station? SW passengers, including myself, have been remarkable fortunate. Now I know that high speed landings is not their best effort. They are now apparently working on short landings. No fatalities so far. Where’s the FAA?

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  12. Wahhhh! Its Southwest, a bus with wings. What do you expect, sounds like you were treated very fairly… minus the “stolen” laptop. I like how you point out that people that were not strapped in were thrown about, as though that is Southwests fault. I also like that you’re upset that Southwest isn’t accustomed to “crashing”. Would you want to fly on an airline that was like “hey we crashed no big deal this happens all the time”!

    TBH Nick, it sounds like you would complain about receiving a gift of a gold bar because after all what could you possibly do with a gold bar, and hey this gold bar is not easily broken down into smaller tradable units. Finally who would give me a gold bar when all I wanted is something heavy and shiny?

    Glad your ok… sucks about your laptop, the worse thing to come from this is your ungrateful needy post on why the world doesn’t revolve around you enough.

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    1. I second that one, a crash landing is so far from a normal flying experience that it’s not surprising that it would be chaotic. The fact that once that was sorted out thier great service kicked in, full refund, two tickets for each member wow, plus reimbursement for stolen laptops. I can just imangine the reaction of Ryanair, shut the F up you’re alive aren’t you.

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    2. Idiot.

      I would say more, but instead I’ll just repeat my internet mantra: “Don’t feed the trolls… don’t feed the trolls… don’t feed the trolls…”

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  13. I’m so glad you and your family are OK. I’m obviously also disturbed by the response by Southwest and their utter inability to have an emergency plan in place. That’s not about “expecting a plane crash” like some of the jackasses in this comment section are saying, it’s about having a protocol for when shit hits the fan and having a good communications strategy with employees on the ground.

    But what compelled me to comment are all the astroturfing Southwest apologists who have the temerity to somehow criticize you for writing up your situation, treatment and theft.

    Frankly I don’t care who stole your laptop — it’s Southwest’s fault and you were smart to blog this, if only to put pressure on them to actually reimburse you.

    I’d like to see those fools be in your situation and still defend the “mighty” Southwest. And FWIW, although I refuse to fly SW as general policy, any airline could behave this way and my reaction would be the same: shame on them for not having an emergency plan in place and for letting your stuff get stolen.

    Glad you had a good week with the family in New York!

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  14. stopped reading after the comment you exited before your kids. What dad does that? Oh, the kind that tries to exploit a tragedy…

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    1. I don’t have kids, but if I had, in a situation like this, I’d try my best to ensure that my kids would be tightly sandwiched between me and their mother, not ahead both of us in the line. So I guess that I’d have a 50% chance of being the kind of dad that tries to exploit a tragedy….

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  15. @Nancy Campbell,
    Maybe he exited before his son so that he could catch him as he slid down so he wouldn’t go tumbling into the grass like the other woman he mentioned.

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  16. Wow, I’m glad you’re OK and don’t have any more serious injuries to add to your already-long list. And looking on the bright side, you can now top almost anyone else’s story. :)

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  17. Whoa! Nick, so glad you and your family are ok! I’d say I’ll never complain about my own trivial flight delays again…but I probably still will.

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  18. I have to say that you are very lucky that the pilot was good enough to keep the plane under control and on the runway. To all the people saying that Southwest lands different you are crazy and as a private pilot I know that weather along with other things can cause havoc on your landings, too fast too slow can be bad either way but I can assure you that the POH for the plane the pilot was flying has a set airspeed that they approach at and that is what they do “every time” if possible. If this were a mandate from management to squeak out a few Knots on landing, it just doesn’t make sense.

    Also Nick I do feel for you and your family but it was an accident that couldn’t have been foreseen. There are countless investigations as to what happened, who and how they got hurt and how things need to be handled so that the NTSB can do its thing so this doesn’t happen again. I am sure Southwest had its hands so tied up with red tape that it was impossible for you to just be on your merry way. I hope this helps you understand the process of how a airplane “crash” is handled, and keeps the Southwest haters at bay.

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    1. I have to say that you are very lucky that the pilot was good enough to keep the plane under control and on the runway.”

      Newton’s first law, “Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.” Applied to this situation, the jet will roll straight with its nose down so no special skill required. Any directional control issues can be easily taken care of with differential braking. Not that there isn’t any skill required, but it’s not special skill. All pilots can do it.

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      1. The next time you are POC and responsible for 150 people and skidding down the runway let me know how easy it is to use differential breaking. Anyways, not trying to disrespect Nick or his family and I very happy they are alright, just more defending the Pilots and southwest from the people that are making comments that just don’t make and sense. I do get that you had a traumatic experience but its not likely that they will just let you take off after a major accident like that. Glad you and the family are good and didn’t mean any disrespect.

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  19. Wow, what’s up with the hostile comments from your readers! Totally uncalled-for. 10% trolls on an upbeat post about how you and your family cheated death and had fun on your vacation despite/because of your work laptop’s being stolen by your air carrier’s employees… that frightens the hell out of me almost as much as the accident itself.

    Anyway, thanks for the post and stay frosty!

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    1. 10% of any comment thread will reside on the spectrum from angry to lunatic. One of my YouTube videos went viral a few years back, and among the thousands of happy comments were literally hundreds of death threats, rage-filled insults, and the like. Anonymity and distance bring out the worst in some people’s demented hearts.

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  20. It is sad that the thieves continue to steal when they have an opportunity. I thought SW employees were better than that.

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  21. When the nosewheel problem is known to the crew, the landing is not all that difficult. It might be spectacular, with a lot of noise and sparks, but the fire service and ambulances are right there and ready. It is like every other approach and initial touchdown.
    The touchdown on the rear wheels first would be like the first part of every other landing. I expect the nose would be kept off the runway until the speed reduced a bit. While there was still sufficient speed for elevator control, the pilot would gently lower the nose onto the runway and apply the brakes. Of course things do get a bit noisy, rough and uncomfortable at this point for about 15 seconds.
    I would not class this as a spectacular crash landing. As far as landing accidents go, this one would score very low on a scale of 1 to 10. It is unlikely that there would be a fire or other than a few bruises to those with correctly tightened seatbelts. The fire engine foam probably caused more damage to the aircraft than the accident. Pilfering of carry on baggage probably harmed SW reputation more than this straightforward accident with a very predictable ending.
    Of course, there can be a few minor injuries, especially going down the elevated rear slides, and everything is quite dramatic. Mostly it is a good story to tell the grandkids. I do not think it is justification for SW bashing.
    I have thousands of flying hours as a pilot on similar airline jets, but not with SW.

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    1. The problem in this instance was that the aircraft had all three wheels down and locked but then did a negative flare landing nosewheel first and sufficiently hard to break the nose wheel leg and ram it up into the avionics bay above and behind it where it smashed the autobrake avionics box and flap control system. As soon as that happened the aircraft became unguided and unbraked sliding forward on its nose, its extended main undercarriage and the front of the hamster hutch engine intakes.

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  22. Glad everyone was safe. Except for the crash landing, everthing else it sounds like every other trip to Laguardia… The confusion, the lost bags, the long lines for cabs, the “nobobdy knows nothing” attitude…

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  23. Ha. You know how they tell you not to use any electronic device when you’re landing or taking off? The person that recorded the video on landing caused the crash. :)

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  24. No one has mentioned wind shear as a possible contributing factor. A gust from behind at the end of the flare could cause a sudden and negative pitch movement, dropping the plane on its nose gear. (Since no one ever wants to wait on the NTSB report, just thought I’d toss in my two cents.)
    And all the non-pilots speculating about too-fast, too-slow speeds in the flare for various imagined fiscal purposes — they’re showing their ignorance of aircraft operating procedures.

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  25. I should think in a situation like this a few seconds must seem like minutes, as for trying to grab possessions crazy. I would grab the wife and kids, they would be the only possessions I need, the rest can be be sorted later

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  26. Why is a SW employee being blamed for the theft, is it known who was responsible? Come on, people! The alledged thief hasn’t been identified, so why assume.
    As for the person who took the video, shame on them. Whether or not it impacts the actual operation of the plane is questionable, but that people ignore multiple requests to turn off electronics during take-offs and landings is abhorrent. Why?

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  27. Ok my head is about to explode with so much nonsense. Have you considered ?..
    All airlines – even SWA has an extensive emergency procedure in place from people at every area and level. On the plane, on the ground, etc. coordinating all those efforts takes time. Then you get the government involved the FAA the NTSB. They have their regulations that must be adhered to.
    *as far as taking your carry-ons down the slide .. It would slow things down and what happens when the slide tears and 100+ people are still on the plane having to go down a different slide?
    *flight attendants have extensive training on handling emergencies. Unfortunately, passengers don’t listen or care enough to pay attention when asked to do something as simple as making sure your seat belts are securely fastened (thus hitting your face on the seat in front of you). I’m pretty sure there were instructions being yelled out during the evacuation and there were people not listening.
    *also pretty sure the “slow” return of your personal belongings and information being given is due to the FAA and NTSB and their investigation. At some point the airlines hands are tied
    *as far as items claimed to be “stolen”…. No one knows this was the case and the assumption that it was a airline employee is horrible. Could it not have been anyone?… Another passenger, another agency involved with the investigation, clean up, etc? Have you ever considered that flight attendants also,have things that come up missing out of their bags once in awhile?
    **have you stopped to think about the crew on this plane.? As incompetent as you want to say they were in this…they did get everyone off that plane in a timely manner although they themselves suffered injuries. Have you considered that this is their job and having to get back to work after something like this -or any incident at any airline must be difficult. yes the passengers will have anxiety again when they choose to fly again but they don’t make a living and support a family by flying and taking on the responsibility if the safety of people who become ingrates if something goes wrong.
    They’re there primarily for your safety
    Flight attendants are there to save your ass not kiss it.
    So how about a little LUV for all of those in the industry that go out every day and put themselves on the line because they love what they do – serve you.

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    1. As a well worn member of the SLF (self loading freight) who has been involved in aviation for several decades and takes commercial flights around 4 times a week, I would like to make a comment.
      First, SWA does not operate 73s any differently to any other airline. Occasionally, the probabilities line up and you have an incident. The more flights you make the more chances you have for an incident. Therefore, busy short haul airlines appear to have more incidents but actually around the same or less in terms of incidents _per flight_. However, the more flights you make the more experience you have so the better you become at handling events.
      Second, securing what is left after an evacuation is a really important task not only for passengers effects but also for evidence for airline, FAA or NTSB inquiries. The fact that items go missing shows a lack of professionalism somewhere. Regardless, of the presence of the agencies, SWA is the one with the duty of care and this is why Nick got money to replace the equipment lost. I have no doubt that this like all incidents will be treated as a learning opportunity.
      Finally, pax evacuating with belongings is to be expected. The reason those belongings were taken into the cabin is that they are valuable possibly irreplaceable so there is a real personal fear about losing ‘stuff’ which in the case of paperwork can lead to officialdom making your life extremely difficult if lost or destroyed. Now all you cabin crew when you give your preflight safety brief – have you _ever_ briefed about leaving luggage and bags in an evacuation? If so you were not the crew on any airline I have flown with. The brief is on lap belts, oxygen and the position of doors and exits, to make sure you check where they are as the closest may be behind you – but never have I heard anyone say “and if you are evacuating do NOT take anything with you!” — So when the pax have an evacuation – they get all their valuable stuff together to take with them as nobody told them not to. It is too late to stop them once they appear at the slide with their rollaboard – the best you can do then is hurl the rollaboard out of the door clear of the slide – but you might have to fight the pax for it. Perhaps someone needs to brief the pax that they should leave bags on an evacuation – BEFORE – there is an actual evacuation? This should be added to the standard brief, Pax who are concerned for papers could carry them in their clothes or in wallets or money belts or some such. Its too late to sort it out once the queue of rollaboards is at the top of the slide.

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  28. Great to hear you had a safe trip and were ultimately rembursed. But as for Southwests immediate handling of the incident, if I was a proud SW employee I would not be to pleased with your comments generated by the experience you had w/them. How I handle the routine says less about me than how I handle the less routine things. Yes I know it’s easy for me to say cause I’m just an observer as I am sure SW airlines will learn tremendously from this too.

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  29. Thanks for your reply. We get very frustrated reading or hearing self-appointed “experts” babble about something they know very little or nothing at all.

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