It was an ordinary corporate jet flight from Addison, Texas, to New York, N.Y., with a stop in Atlanta, Ga. The date was 9/11/01.
We departed early in the morning on a beautiful flight. The descent into Atlanta and talking with Atlanta center was completely normal with no indication of any problem. We were changed to the Atlanta approach frequency at below 18,000 feet.
After calling approach, we were asked if we were terminating in Atlanta. Upon informing approach that we were just dropping some passengers and proceeding to New York, we were told to plan to stay in Atlanta. I confirmed the transmission and asked if he meant it.
We asked why and were told we would be informed on the ground. This was completely baffling, and all other aircraft checking in with approach were being told the same: “plan no departure.”
We started the approach and were changed to tower frequency. Their instructions were “cleared to land and plan no departure.” Ground control was no more informative. After parking and opening the door, the ground crew informed us what had happened in New York. The information about Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania came later.
Our passengers rented cars and drove back to Dallas. We (the crew) stayed with the aircraft in Atlanta and were allowed to return to Dallas five days later. The entire experience is one I will always remember.
E.D. “Drue” Bruton
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