My 10-day short stay in Fukuoka, Japan had just begun, with a bit of anxiety initially when I learned the weather report warning that Typhoon 18 (Talim) approaching to Kyushu island.
In the morning 9:00 on 17th September 2017, I arrived at Narita Airport with NH830 flight originated from Mumbai. Immediately after the customs clearance, I rushed to the domestic flight transfer counter to ask the officer what was the status of the scheduled flight NH2141 bound to Fukuoka where Talim was also heading straight.
He told me that the flight is on schedule with conditions, and may divert to Haneda depending on the weather en route. By that time, I learned that most of LCCs had canceled their flights to all airports in Kyushu main island for the entire day. So, I made up myself to adjust for a night stay at Narita, considering that there were only two flights a day between Narita and Fukuoka (on the contrary of ample flight options a day between Haneda and Fukuoka.) Still, he told me to pay attention to the announcement about the final decision in some time.
Now, the final announcement was made that the flight was departing on time. I trusted ANA's decision as I was sure they knew all the situations much better than I did; still, I could not help thinking of how they must be in under pressure. Because, they had to perfectly take a balance between schedule and safety, based on all the measurements and analysis about ever rapidly changing weather conditions.
I must admit that our flight NH2141 on the day was rather rougher side as we all imagined before boarding. I felt like everyone was paying serious attention than usual to the safety demonstrations shown by flight crews before taking off. The seatbelt sign was turned on and off all the time whenever we ran into turbulence. As the plane got closer to Fukuoka, the shakes and ups/downs were more intense and in shorter intervals. Still there was no announcement informing us that the captain was diverting back to Haneda or elsewhere; instead, the crews were trying to ease all passengers with smiles upon their faces that they were in full control of apparent turbulences and so, I was much confident.
If you have landed at Fukuoka Airport before, you might remember that the airport is in the middle of the city surrounded by residences and buildings. After NH2141 managed to come out of the thick typhoon cloud during the descending, suddenly the city landscape got visible in much nearer than I expected. The view made me think of the stresses and senses of fear of those residents and occupants of the buildings every day whenever planes pass over their heads because I was also going to a high school relatively near from the airport. I remember a horrible overrun crash incident of Garuda Indonesia Airline off the runway happened in my school time.
The moment of landing at Fukuoka Airport was like art; I could believe the captain was trying his best to ease the horizontal balance of the aircraft before touching down the runway. When it was successful, I wanted to stand up and applause! (Of course, I would have been scolded if I did so for the safety reason.) I didn't understand why everyone on board could put up a plain face, for I was so excited that I felt like just finished an incredible project with the pilots, crews and all on the flight!
Taking a flight in harsh weather conditions is not pleasant, and of course, not anyone is willing to experience. However, no one can avoid it in this era of "everyone can fly." In this regard, ANA's NH2141 on 17th September 2017 taught me the real meaning of the professional handling and achievement brought to people, literally into life!