Today I was flying on UA 143 from IAD to LAX, and while it turned out to be a great flight, it didn’t start off smoothly. We got out to the runway, and the plane started to accelerate for takeoff. It got going pretty fast, and then all of a sudden, BRAKES. The pilots hit the brakes hard. Considering how much these planes weigh, it took a good amount of time for us to grind to a stop, and as we were slowing down, I was bracing myself, thinking that something was on the runway and that we were going to crash into it.
Fortunately, that never happened. I was also concerned that we might go off the runway. That didn’t happen either. The pilots did well in getting the plane to a stop. It was announced that we should all remain seated. We moved off of the runway, and as we were turning right, I checked to see if there was anything on the runway in front of us, and it was totally clear.
After we pulled off to the side, the pilot announced that some kind of “warning horn” went off, and they were forced to abort the takeoff. He said they would check everything and report back.
We probably waited for about twenty minutes, and then the pilot eventually let us know that everything was fine, the alarm appeared to be false, and our brakes had now cooled so we could try the takeoff again. The second takeoff went off without a hitch, and we were off.
Kudos to the United pilots for handling the situation well, keeping the passengers calm, and getting us to our final destination. It was definitely a startling experience when it first happened!