What to Expect During a Flight Go-Around
Due to airplane protocol, if your plane has to do a go-around, the pilot can keep trying the landing without fear of running out of gas.
Coming back from Hawaii, I had an eight-and-a-half-hour flight from Maui to Chicago. As I were getting close to Chicago, I knew I was going to experience some weather and possible turbulence, but I wasn't expecting to do a go-around. I had never experienced one of these before, so I had no idea what it was. I am hoping explaining it in simple terms can help you if you ever experience one, so you aren't scared or stressed like I was.
In my experience the plane was doing what it normally does when you are descending for landing, but then a weird surge came, and we began to speed up again. It was about five in the morning, so most people were sleeping and not having the same worries I was experiencing. It was dark in there so I am sure that did not help with the eerie factor. A flight attendant came on over the speaker and said the pilot did not have the appropriate tail wind to land, so we had to do a go-around. I was so scared not knowing what this was or what was going to happen. We had just flown eight and a half hours and I had no idea how much gas the plane had left. What if we didn’t have the appropriate tail wind again? We began to do a second attempt at landing. We soared through clouds and experienced turbulence. I just kept thinking about a show I had recently watched called Manifest and I just prayed for survival and that we would land safely.
The plane's tires hit the ground. I released a huge sigh of relief and was finally able to breathe normal again. It was one of the scarier moments I had experienced in my life and caused me a lot of stress. So, let me explain -rounds a little better to calm your stress if you ever must experience one of them and don't know anything about them like I hadn't.
I did a little research on go-arounds and the requirements a plane needs regarding them as well how much fuel a plane needs to carry for a trip. When looking into go-arounds, they are pretty common and deal with situations in which the flight is not safe to land due to weather conditions or like in my case, not every boxed has been checked to land safely. I found a really great website to explain the fuel requirements for a flight and have summarized below:
Trip Fuel: Fuel required from start to land - Forecast wind and arrival runway taken into the calculation
Diversion Fuel: Fuel required for go-arounds at the destination (Climb, descent, etc.)
Reserve Fuel: The amount of fuel that is being held at the alternate location - Calculated based on 30 minutes of fuel
Contingency Fuel: Fuel carried onboard for unforeseen variations from the original calculations. This includes changing of wind speeds or temperature.
As you can see by the various factors above, there wan’t a very high risk of running out of gas on my trip and if needed, we could have done more go-arounds or could have been diverted to another airport without the fear of running out of gas either. These strict protocols are put into place for our safety, and the next time you feel the plane speeding back up and the flight attendant letting you know the pilot is doing a go-around, don't be afraid because you are not in danger of running out of gas, even if it has to be at another airport where you land.
I haven't heard anyone's go-around stories, if you could share yours with me that would be awesome so I can see if it was like mine!