We boarded buses for the terminal. They eventually towed our plane—operated by SkyWest on behalf of United—to a hangar. A United Airlines employee said it was inspected by the US National Transportion Safety Board. Airport staff brought our luggage, including all the carry-ons we had left on the plane, to the terminal a few hours after we landed.

One overall takeaway is that things don’t play out as you imagine they might. Many passengers didn’t realize what exactly was going on until they were outside the plane. I’m usually numb to the safety instructions at the start of flights—but I always count the number of rows to the nearest exit from my seat, knowing that in dark or smoky conditions you might not be able to otherwise make your way out. But in this instance, the window emergency exits weren’t the best option for us given where the flames were. Sometimes you really have just one exit, and it’s the farthest from you.

The best thing is clearly to get out of the plane quickly, calmly, and get as far away from it as you can. And only then should you start tweeting about it.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.