Sunday, April 06, 2014

American Airlines flight makes emergency landing at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (KBHM)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- American Airlines Flight 1363 -- en route from Jacksonville, Fla., to Dallas-Fort Worth -- made an emergency landing Sunday morning at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. 

Cabin depressurization was given as a reason for the landing, according to passengers. Airport spokeswoman Toni Bast confirmed that it "was a pressurization issue."

Mandi Bishop, of Jacksonville, Fla., said the flight had reached cruising altitude when a flight attendant announced an "inadvertent landing." The flight attendant told passengers to ensure they knew their nearest exits and to review bracing procedures.

The flight descended to below the cloud deck and the flight attendant announced the plane would land in Birmingham. Bishop said passengers were calm, and she didn't personally notice any effects of pressure differences.

On the ground, passengers learned the cabin had depressurized and the pilots lowered the altitude to help oxygen flow.

The plane -- a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 airliner -- landed in Birmingham about 8:30 a.m.

"The plane landed safely, and it didn't impact our operations so we were able to continue to run as normal at the airport," Bast said.

Bishop, who was taking the flight with continuing service to Las Vegas, said she was rebooked Sunday afternoon on a flight to Charlotte then another to her final destination.

She will arrive in Las Vegas about 11 hours later than planned but considers herself lucky compared with other travelers who face more uncertain times and routes upon their arrival in Dallas.

"It's better than the next day and certainly better than suffocation at 24,000 feet," Bishop said.

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