Sunday, on a United flight from Washington’s Dulles Airport to San Diego, somewhere over southern Colorado or northern New Mexico we had some sort of bizarre electrical system malfunction in the passenger cabin. A circuit breaker was very obviously tripped as all the cabin lights went our, a loud beep started in the rear of the cabin and the lights, video and audio system all went, for lack of a better term, haywire.
Later I learned that the pilots could not communicate with the cabin while they were fixing the problem. After about 20 minutes things stopped beeping and everything returned to normal At no time was the actual flying of the plane impacted, nor was the flight diverted.
My thought at the time was that if it really was an electrical system problem that could not be fixed we might well have been diverted back to Denver. I put that down as my worst case scenario; hoping that was it. I didn’t feel like we were in any danger (the flight attendants merely ask people to go back to their seats), but then again maybe things were worse than was let on.
My question to pilots is: How common is something like this, and what (if any) issues might have cascaded out of such a problem.
I probably wouldn’t have bothered asking, but I was a few miles away from today’s F-18 crash (which the pilot reported was due to mechanical problems) when it occured. One needs to know where one stands with the Fates…