Short Final: Pottstown Route


Late in the afternoon of July 4, I was flying with my wife from Nebraska to Philadelphia International Airport in our Piper Cherokee. Stationary storms around the airport were causing major departure delays. As we landed on Runway 35 we could see planes lined up all along Taxiway K—nearly to the intersection with Runway 35. Just before we landed, we heard this exchange on the Tower frequency:

American 1234: “Tower, American 1234.”

Tower: “Go ahead American 1234”

American 1234: “We wanted to let the passengers know what’s going on—any news as far as Pottstown and going south?”

Tower (still talking a million miles a minute): “Ah, I wish I could give you better news, sir. I don’t really know what’s going on—they open up the route, they close the route, they change the route, they say the jet routes are bad, but you guys aren’t on a jet route, and then they say Pottstown is stopped. I don’t really know what’s going on right now. I’m sorry.”

American 1234: “I just recorded that. I’m going to play that for the passengers; that’s excellent.”

When I looked up that flight on FlightAware later, I found that they sat on the ground for over an hour and a half between pushback and takeoff. As for us, we made it back home to North Carolina the next morning, as planned.

Philip Rash
Durham, NC

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