From my seat — 1B — I have an excellent vantage point when the power on the MD88 suddenly cuts off.
The pilot leans out of his cockpit window and yells down: “Can you hook us back up? You cut off our ground power!”
Meanwhile, I’m gratified to note that the aisle path lighting has in fact illuminated, showing the way to the exit.
The power comes back on, but the surge has fried a computer component. The pilot comes on the intercom to explain that it’s critical, and that maintenance is looking to see if they have one at the sprawling Detroit airport.
Cue the exasperated groans and cell phone calls to friends and family detailing the situation and spinning out the worst possible scenarios.
Turns out they do have the component close to hand, however, and maintenance actually gets it to us quickly. While they’re installing it and running the test routines, I can hear the computer voice in the cockpit saying, “Pull up! Pull up! Altitude!”
Since we’re on the tarmac, six feet above the ground, clearly the altitude warning is working properly.
When we pull back from the gate, 30 minutes after we were supposed to, the lead flight attendant comes on the intercom to say that our short flying time means we will make it to Kansas City just minutes after our scheduled arrival time.
So here we are at 30,000 feet, enjoying a drink and a snack, watching the sun go down on the starboard side of the plane, confident that the critical components are working, and a little impressed with the speed of the Delta maintenance crew at DTW.
“That this evening may be holy, good, and peaceful,” indeed.