Three Takeoffs in a 4-Hour Delayed Flight and other Balinese-themed (Mis)Adventures

The Bali-bound Jetstar aircraft was just about to takeoff and I was starting to feel that familiar but queer sensation in my stomach. The upper half of me was being taken upward while the other (heavier) half was still battling with gravity. But just when the wheels of the plane were about to leave the runway, the pilot shifted gear (or at least that's what it felt like) with full force and the plane landed with a loud, clumsy thud. I do not know any aircraft lingo but what happened to us in that flight was more than a yawing motion. It was not due to any air pockets; it was intentional. The captain held back in mid-takeoff because according to him, one of the generators was sending an error signal. Time check: 11PM

At this point, we were already restless because this same flight had already been delayed for four hours and nobody from Jetstar informed either one of us (the four of us were holding two separate booking references) prior to the original 4pm flight. We talked to the counter/ground staff but they said that they just learned about the new timing and we should call the Melbourne office to complain. After an hour of holding the customer service phone line, a certain Kish (who said that it is company policy not to give her full name) told me that they were also not aware of this until then, when I asked them to go into the system and check the re-timed flight details. She even said, "If I were you, I would talk to the ground representatives about this..." Huh?

Fast forward to the failed takeoff incident... The captain then called a couple of engineers to look into the problem. They asked us to alight the aircraft so they could perform tests. Several minutes later we were back on our seats and ready to experience another takeoff. The passengers who I reckoned were mostly Aussies did not even utter an unpleasant word. Time check: 12 AM.

We circled the runway for what seemed to be a dozen times and just when my eyelids were starting to droop, I sensed that we were about to ascend again. WHIZZ......WHIR.......YANK....THUD! Ding dong...This is your captain speaking. We are having the same technical problem that was supposed to be fixed by the engineers but still isn't and here we are back on the bar....

And we never heard him speak again. Twenty minutes later one passenger carrying a kid said, "You're crazy to stay here, guys." He left the plane shouting, "It's okay if you don't want to spend a penny on our hotel." Time check: 2AM.

We later found out that it was still safe to fly even with the generator blinking an error signal. But because our pilot needed to abide by the airplane protocol, he had to hold back. More than 20 of the total passengers left. A few were bombarding the pilots and crew with questions. I myself was not at my nicest that night. They left us uninformed for 30 minutes. The pilots were inside the cockpit without updating the passengers and without any effort to ease us up. The cabin crew gave us....water.  Nothing else.

Jetstar pilots and crew could have handled the situation better but did not.

Nevertheless, we stayed for the third takeoff because:
1. Murphy's law is not valid. Come on, our flight was only delayed for four hours, and we only had three takeoffs. They are pretty normal, ok.
2. The captain assured us that it was still safe for the third time and if it wasn't, he would not risk his own life, too. He has a family. Plus, it appeared to me that he was pretty calm that night. He's just not a good communicator.
3. It's our first time to go to Bali aka Surfer's Paradise. Need I say more?
4. I personally believe that in this life, nothing will happen to us apart from God's will. And according to Izanne, if God was forbidding us to go to Bali, He should have let Jetstar cancel the flight in the first place. Made sense to me, too :-)

So in the end, a three-hour flight turned out to be an eight-hour one. But we were ready to have fun in this beautiful place. Nothing else could go wrong anymore. Or so we thought....

(mis)adventure stories to be continued...

P.S. What about you guys? What would you do in this situation? Would you still go for a third one?


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