Scary Flight: Southwest Passengers Recount Chilling Words

Did a Southwest pilot make a hair-raising statement? Yes, say some of the passengers aboard Tuesday night’s flight from Tampa which landed safely as scheduled in Raleigh. According to CNN (see the video below), the incident involved the activation of the PA system which allowed people in the cabin to hear something that maybe they weren’t supposed to. Or was it just a case of misinterpretation?

See video of a very scary Southwest landing

Did Pilot Say, “We’re Going Down”?

According to passengers CNN spoke with, the pilot was heard over the PA system saying, “We’re going down.” Apparently he meant just that – the plane would be descending earlier than usual on its approach – due to some unspecified maintenance problem. As Southwest’s Brad Hawkins explained to FareCompare in an emailed statement, “The captain notified the crew using the public address system just before an unplanned but controlled descent to a lower altitude.  The maintenance issue was resolved before the flight safely landed.” The statement does not indicate if the pilot actually used the words, “We’re going down,” but as noted, at least some passengers said that’s exactly how he put it. And when passengers hear, “We’re going down,” a maintenance problem is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.

Video: What a perfect landing looks like

Shaken Passengers

At least one passenger reportedly texted a relative to say how much she loved them. Another likened the ‘controlled descent’ to a nosedive. CNN noted that one passenger said Southwest offered her a voucher for any “uneasy feelings” though the airline would not confirm this.

VIDEO: Check out the CNN version of the Southwest incident.


Published: November 14, 2013