Passengers on a Sunday morning American Airlines flight from Charlotte to Seattle had barely settled in when they said they heard a loud boom during take-off.
Soon after, the plane shifted to one side and it felt like one of its wheels touched back down on the runway at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, passenger Brittany Donn told the Observer Monday.
And the rest of the plane’s ascent after departing CLT didn’t feel normal either, passenger Ellen Lynch, a Seattle resident, said in an interview.
“The plane was really wobbly,” she said.
But things seemed normal for a few minutes after the boom, both passengers said.
“And then all of a sudden, the flight attendant said that we had to prepare for a crash landing,” Lynch said. “And he started showing us how to get in the position.”
The flight attendant told passengers that one of the plane’s engines was out, Lynch said.
American Airlines spokesman Curtis Blessing said Monday that the plane, American Airlines flight 2775 from CLT to Seattle, returned to Charlotte due to “a possible mechanical issue.”
Six crew members and 180 customers were on the flight, he said. There were no reported injuries.
‘People were praying, crying’
Flight attendants ran crash landing drills with passengers for about 10 minutes in the air before landing, according to Donn. And, she said, passengers had to brace for impact during the emergency landing.
Donn described the incident as “very traumatizing for everyone on the flight.”
Lynch praised the professionalism of the flight attendants but called the experience “really, really scary.”
“All we knew was an engine was out,” she said. “So (the flight attendant) said ‘All right, you guys are gonna get in the crash positions.’ And people were praying, crying.”
Flight attendants also had moved stronger passengers to the exit rows in case people needed to use the emergency exits, Lynch said.
In flight for less than an hour
The plane was in the air for 51 minutes, before landing back at CLT at 9:57 a.m., according to flight tracking website FlightAware.
The landing seemed loud but relatively normal — except for the fire trucks surrounding the plane, Lynch said. “I was so thankful to just get off that plane,” she said.
Passengers boarded a new aircraft at CLT and re-departed for Seattle at 2:44 p.m., Blessing said.
“We never want to disrupt our customer’s travel plans and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused,” Blessing said in an email.
Donn praised the flight crew’s actions, but said she was disappointed the airline didn’t give passengers more reassurances or compensation after the flight.
Donn was flying back home to Seattle after visiting family in Charlotte and said she saw some passengers opting out of the second flight. She considered canceling too, but said she needed to be in Seattle for work on Monday as a shift supervisor at Starbucks.
“It was extremely terrifying,” Donn said. “I’m still shaking just talking about it.”
Editor’s note: Ellen Lynch was visiting family in Charlotte, including this reporter’s girlfriend.