Our flight from Heathrow to San Francisco started normally enough:
The flight was delayed a bit, but the first hint of bigger trouble was when several hours into the flight, the pilot asked if there was a doctor on the plane. It transpired that a passenger had had an allergic reaction and we were going to turn around and take him to…Iceland.
We had got to know the flight attendant who told us this reassuring story:
All commercial airlines are connected to a hospital in Arizona that specialises in advising on ‘in the field’ emergencies. The cabin staff run a series of tests on the patient as advised by the Arizona hospital, who effectively take control of the plane if they decide the patient needs to be treated urgently. They are able to match the nearest airport that can take the plane to a local hospital with suitable medical facilities for the symptoms.
In our case the nearest hospital was in Iceland.
We were told that the runway was perfectly safe but it was a bit short and so we would brake harder than normal, but we shouldn’t be concerned.
We don’t know if you can imagine what an emergency stop in a 747 is like? It’s not nice!
Unfortunately the delay meant the crew were going to be very close to their maximum allowed flying time when they got to San Francisco and so there was a mad rush to get the plane airborne again, which wasn’t helped by the fact it was freezing in Iceland and so the plane was icing up.
We made it just in time and as a result of the re-routing we found out what the Arctic looks like from 30,000 ft.
And on arrival at our destination we faced yet another delay in an ‘Immigration holding room’ due to a new passport not matching an old ESTA form. All in all a rather stressful journey!
Still, it was nice to finally arrive in San Francisco. After all that cold, a golden sun was beating out of a clear blue sky.
And so we finally conclude a story about San Francisco that doesn’t include a picture of Golden Gate Bridge.
Oh, OK then, if you insist!