Yesterday there were two stories out there about rest stop closings. This story is about an airport, an airplane and a more problematic situation than a rest stop being closed when one is desperate to stop. If a rest stop is closed there are options. The side of the road works in a pinch. In the case of the airplane in a decent towards an airport, but the airport turns out to be closed, there’s a bit more involved.
The pilot needs to quit descending asap and head somewhere else, in an ideal case, somewhere close by. Thankfully, that is what happened when US Airways flight 3203 was about to land at the Charleston, South Carolina airport but found the airport closed. The pilot turned the plane around to head back to where it came–Charlotte, North Carolina.
The airport isn’t closed all the time, but just some of the time–after midnight and only until August 9. Usually, it’s open 24-7. Two runways are getting fixed. A lightning strike had delayed the plane from take off after taxing out to the runway and the pilot knew he wouldn’t have enough time to make it to the airport before the witching hour, but thought the tower would stay open a tad longer. Nope.
Once back in Charlotte after state hopping the Carolinas, the passengers were given rooms, meal vouchers and status as being on a flight with an issue that almost never, if ever, happens. [The Post and Courier]