Flaps? We don't need no steenkin flaps!

So, after another computerless weekend (having weekends to do other things could get addictive…I wonder if there’s a business opportunity here…), it was time to face the week and fly to Boulder, Colorado, for a couple of days of meetings. No problem — it’s a short flight, so I didn’t even have to leave during rush hour. Got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, most of which I used to set up a trip to Boston (*sigh*), got on the plane, settled in and started reading.

I’m lucky; I have an exit row seat, and it’s in the “Economy Plus” section so there’s plenty of leg room. And no one is in the middle seat, so I’m as happy as possible in coach (and I brought my own lunch, so I feel safe on that count, too).

We take off, and everything seems pretty normal, except that the flap motors seem to be running more than usual. And then the captain comes on the PA to tell us that he’s had a small problem with the flaps, that he’s on the radio with the San Francisco maintenance base, and that we’re heading over the ocean while they figure out what to do, but he expects we’ll be heading back. Suddenly, I’m glad I have an exit row.

After a few more minutes, one of the cockpit crew comes back and looks out the window at the wing; the flap motors run some more, and he takes another look, then goes back. We start to climb, and a minute later, the captain comes on to tell us that they were able to fix the problem and we’re on our way to Denver — and, of course, flying on is perfectly safe.

And it was. We did have a little bit of a sloppy feel to our descent, but that’s not unusual for Denver; and we landed early enough that we had to wait for our gate to be available. My luggage was waiting by the time I got to the carousel (that won’t be the case when I go home to San Jose!), and I was ahead of rush hour traffic on the way up to Boulder.

But still, I did get a brief reminder of why they have exit rows on planes — it’s not just so some passengers can get reasonable legroom.