Last week I went to Bountiful, Utah (no kidding, it's a suburb of Salt Lake City), to meet with a subcontractor of a client of the company I'm now working for. On the way back, the airplane was lined up for approach to Oakland International Airport (OAK), descending as you would expect. Then it stopped descending and did about three or four circuits of the San Francisco Bay before finally lining back up, descending, and landing. This series of detours added about 25 minutes to an hour-and-a-half flight.
When I was walking off the plane, I asked the pilot what the detour was about. He said: "oh, we just wanted to check something out before we landed." I asked what it was, and he said the same thing again. I suspect that the sensors on the landing gear didn't indicate "down and locked" or some such, and the pilots wanted to get a visual confirmation that the gear were at least down before committing to a landing.
Any ideas what could have been up? Any ideas why the pilot was so vague?