We all have those "if I hadn't been there I wouldn't have believed it " stories.
This is one of mine.
On the 7th July, 2012 I complete 13 years of being a flight attendant. I have had a lot of experiences and this is probably one of the funniest.
We were flying back to Mumbai from Hong Kong. In the cockpit, the Captain was doing a routine, yearly check on the co pilot. So far it had been an uneventful flight. About an hour prior to landing, all of us were scurrying around securing things, getting the aircraft and passengers ready for landing. This is the busiest time for the crew, but everything was as per schedule.
Suddenly, the Captain, who uptil now had been talking to the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), realised that his radio had stopped working. So now all communication would have to be from the co pilot's radio. The co pilot had to punch a code into the computer that would relay this transfer of communication, to the ATC. Let's say that code is "1234". However, instead of punching in "1234", the co pilot punched in "1235". Neither the Captain nor the co pilot realised that the wrong code had been entered, and continued with their pre landing checks.
For the ATC, "1235" meant that the aircraft had been hijacked. The ATC along with the airport authorities immediately implemented their Hijack Plan. The media had also been alerted, so all news channels had the live "breaking news" about our hijacked aircraft.
After we landed, the aircraft turned off the runway and started taxiiing to the parking bay. Now, over time, crew can pretty much tell which side of the terminal the aircraft will be parking while the aircraft taxis. We were all still on our jumpseats, and it struck us that we weren't heading towards the terminal, but going in the opposite direction.
We then saw, on the inflight entertainment screens, that the aircraft was being escorted by jeeps with gun toting, black suited soldier types. In the distance, we could see fire engines, ambulances, airport emergency vehicles and a large crowd of people. We all thought maybe the airport was conducting some sort of practise drill.
After we parked, a passenger, with cell phone in hand, came barreling down the aisle towards our jumpseats,
" Miss, did you know our plane has been hijacked?"
My reply, " Um, really? No one told us anything."
Just then the Captain made an announcement explaining the whole situation. Luckily the passengers saw the funny side to the situation and were laughing as they deplaned. Of course we immediately phoned up our families to tell them we hadn't been hijacked and we laughed, a lot while the gun toting soldiers, ATC and airport representatives glared at us.
As a crew, everytime we go on a flight, there is always a chance of a crash, bomb on board or a hijack. I have never experienced any of these and I hope I never do.
Oh, I almost forgot, the co pilot failed his check ;D