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Anxiety-inducing airplane stories


wiegie
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Yesterday, my family and I were flying home from Switzerland. About three hours into the previously uneventful flight (putting us about 2 hours out over the Atlantic Ocean) everything was going fine and the flight had been smooth up until that point. Then the pilot suddenly came over the loudspeaker with the terse announcement "Flight attendents return to your seats." Now, I have heard this message plenty of times before, but typically only when there has been some turbulence AND in the background of his announcement it sounded very much to me like there was an alarm going off in the cockpit in the background (something I had never heard before from a cockpit announcement). The flight attendents gave each-other a sort of funny look and then walked briskly and unsmilingly to the back of the plane.

 

I normally don't have any anxiety with regard to flying, but this sort of freaked me out. All of sudden I felt myself getting lightheaded and I didn't know what was going on. Then I realized I was about to hyperventilate (something I have never done before) and had to consciously and deliberately force myself to slow down my breathing--although I still didn't know what the hell was going on with the plane.

 

About a minute later one of the flight attendents came over and announced that the reason for the pilot's message was that they were expecting severe turbulence (turbulence that never came). About five minutes after that, the flight attendents were back up walking around and starting to serve lunch and then I relaxed again. My wife and son slept through the whole thing and no other passengers in the cabin seemed to be too concerned either (and I doubt that I looked that concerned on the outside either).

 

And then the rest of the flight was uneventful.

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Perhaps if you had already adequately prepared your soul to meet the Lord, you wouldnt be so afraid to come to horrific death by tumbling 50,000 feet into the middle of the Atlanta Ocean...

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I think I would have died from a heart attack.

 

 

I am terrified of flying. My biggest fear is going down in a plane. I don't know why because out of all the other ways to die, smacking the earth/ocean at 550 mph seems like a very painless way to go. Real quick too.

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I've never really been fazed about flying or anything, but since 9/11 and since I had kids...I find the world a much more worrisome place. :D I generally go about my business and don't avoid doing things that I would do anyhow...but tragedy is frequently in the back of my mind. :sigh:

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When me and the Mrs. got married, our honeymoon was a cruise that left out of San Juan. We get to DFW, and the plane is delayed something like 2 1/2 or 3 hours, which was strange because it was a beautiful day, and the plane was there and the skybridge or whatever they call it was already connected. It turns out that someone left a breifcase on the plane (this was in 1996) and the people with the airline thought it might be a bomb. So we finally take off real late. It was supposed to be a non-stop flight to San Juan. Well, we are out over the Gulf, and I realize that we are turning back to the North. The Captain said that we needed to make a short stop in New Orleans because in all of the hustle and bustle they forgot to stock the plane with the lunch that was now 3 hours late. I thought this was strange, and then noticed a strange smell. When we are comming in for a landing, I notice a bunch of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles following us. It turns out we had an electrical fire on the plane. They finally got us on another plane and we landed in San Juan at 9:00pm, the ship was set to sail at 8:00pm. Luckily there were enough people on the plane scheduled to be on the ship that they held it for us. The guy driving the shuttle bus from the airport to the port, ran three cars of the road and ran at least 6 red lights in his hurry to not hold the ship up anymore. That was not a very good start to a honeymoon. After that it was great though.

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The flight attendents gave each-other a sort of funny look and then walked briskly and unsmilingly to the back of the plane.

 

 

hate to fly...always keep an eye on the flight attendants, they are my barometer as to when to start praying and making promises with god that i will never be able to keep.

Edited by dmarc117
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Man, that sucks.

 

The wife and I were flying down to Fayetteville for a friends wedding and the plane we were flying down in held about 15 people max. When we got on there were only 9 people making the flight so they told us to go to the back seats for weight distribution. That was my first clue that I wasn't going to enjoy this flight.

 

10 mins before we landed the pilot tells us that a tornado touched down 10 miles from our position and that he expected some serious turbulence. We went through quite a few 3-4 sec plunges which seemed like an eternity before he prepared us for landing. You can't imagine the reilef I felt when I heard the landing gear dropping.

 

But wait.... 15 feet before we landed the pilot suddenly pulls straight up and the whole cabin starts to freak out. People are puking, children are crying, and I think I may have pee'd a little. :D A few minutes later the pilot announces that a coyote came running across the runway so he had to pull up. :D

 

We landed. People puked again and I got off that plane as quick as possible.

Edited by twiley
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That's nuthin.

 

I've had a takeoff aborted at SNA once after accelerating about 1/2 down the runway. Engine fire light...false alarm.

 

Another time, we got down to about 25 feet altitude at ORD before being told to go around because some fool commuter plane wandered onto the active runway. How did I know? It was a United flight and I was monitoring ATC. :D

 

Another time, whilst landing at Key West in a 12 passenger puddle jumper, I was able to look through the cockpit window (pre-9/11, under 20 passengers you didn't have to have a cockpit door), and see us seesawing around at about 30 degrees to the runway because of the crosswind.

 

Plus figure this. If your number is up, that's a pretty good way to go. Dying is not easy, most of the time.

Edited by MojoMan
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That's nuthin.

 

I've had a takeoff aborted at SNA once after accelerating about 1/2 down the runway. Engine fire light...false alarm.

 

Another time, we got down to about 25 feet altitude at ORD before being told to go around because some fool commuter plane wandered onto the active runway. How did I know? It was a United flight and I was monitoring ATC. :D

 

Plus figure this. If your number is up, that's a pretty good way to go. Dying is not easy, most of the time.

 

 

 

thats the main reason i fly united....listening to the comms actually helps me. gives me a heads up to when we make directional changes!

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I was flying out of orange county, ca once. My seat was in the second or third row behind the flight attendant kitchen near the front. I typically close my eyes during takeoffs. Not sure why, just a habit. So we takeoff, and the takeoffs in OC are quite steep and abrubt. All off the sudden I hear a series of loud bangs follow by a couple pops--and then a spray of liquid. I about shat my shorts.

 

Turned out one of the flight attendants forgot to lock a cabinent in the prep area. There were several cans of soda that fell out, hit the ground, rolled and exploded on the metal of a couple seats in my area.

 

The only good thing that came out of it was the flight attendant gave those of us who got sprayed the first class treatment the rest of the flight. She brought around a box of the mini liquor bottles and we could take a handful.

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thats the main reason i fly united....listening to the comms actually helps me. gives me a heads up to when we make directional changes!

 

 

dmarc, have you been sent to the "penalty box" if your flight misses an opening in the rotation or you're flight plan gets screwed up? That always pisses me off. I dig the ATC on United though. Been flying American mostly recently...no movies, no ATC...AA sucks.

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hate to fly...always keep an eye on the flight attendants, they are my barometer

same here

 

The most scared I ever saw a group of flight attendants was back in 1999 when I had a flight into Washington National just after they had reopened the airport after hurricane Floyd went through the area. (I checked the arrivals board after we had landed and saw that my flight was the 4th plane to land after the airport reopened). The approach was just crazy with the plane pitching, yawing and rolling all over the place.

 

I could see two of the flight attendents in their jump seats. Only one of them had a view out of a window and the other one kept motioning for the other one to give her signals about the status of our approach. They both seriously looked scared.

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I was flying out of orange county, ca once. My seat was in the second or third row behind the flight attendant kitchen near the front. I typically close my eyes during takeoffs. Not sure why, just a habit. So we takeoff, and the takeoffs in OC are quite steep and abrubt. All off the sudden I hear a series of loud bangs follow by a couple pops--and then a spray of liquid. I about shat my shorts.

 

Turned out one of the flight attendants forgot to lock a cabinent in the prep area. There were several cans of soda that fell out, hit the ground, rolled and exploded on the metal of a couple seats in my area.

 

The only good thing that came out of it was the flight attendant gave those of us who got sprayed the first class treatment the rest of the flight. She brought around a box of the mini liquor bottles and we could take a handful.

 

I dig takeoffs at SNA for that reason.

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dmarc, have you been sent to the "penalty box" if your flight misses an opening in the rotation or you're flight plan gets screwed up? That always pisses me off. I dig the ATC on United though. Been flying American mostly recently...no movies, no ATC...AA sucks.

 

lol....yea a few times, always happens if youre going to or coming from lga or ord. i like the atc too when your pilots ask about turbulence up ahead. its like a turn signal in the sky.

 

last flight was one of those canadair regional jets....liked that flight alot, just seems like they are easier to handle. this coming from a flyhater.

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I was on a flight once and the pilot inadvertently hit the intercom while he was asking one of the guys in the cabin: "is that a helicopter?" then the intercom went silent. That's all we heard. A few people laughed, most didn't catch it and I didn't like it.

 

I don't think it's the way you die on a crash that skeeves people out, it's the fact that it's a shared group death, and your last seconds will be with a bunch of people you don't want to be around.

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whenever i either miss a flight and take a later one or fly standby to get on an earlier flight, i always wonder whether i'm switching from the plane that's doomed to crash, or whether the plane i'm switching to is the one that will crash.

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I hate flying, but I'm not afraid to fly. Actually I always thought that if it's your time to go, what better way than going into the ground/water at 700mph from 35,000'! No pain involved!

 

How did the Mrs. take it,wiegie?

 

There is another Cosby quote that goes like "There is a word that can be used as a noun & a verb. And right before an accident......First you say it, then you do it!". :D

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hate flying, but I'm not afraid to fly. Actually I always thought that if it's your time to go, what better way than going into the ground/water at 700mph from 35,000'! No pain involved!

 

i agree with that on a pain level, but its that 3 minutes of spiralling free fall that will really suck!

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One month after 9/11 I have to take a trip for work. Small trip to Nashville and back. Everything at the time was a little weird because of what happened. On my flight back, two things made me rather anxious.

 

First one: A little racial profiling by me. An man of obvious Middle Eastern descent was in the seat across the aisle and one row up from me. For whatever reason, I watched him periodically throughout the flight. Nothing unusual until he decides to get up and go to the bathroom. Before he sat down he took off his leather jacket and had it behind him in his seat. No biggie as I do the same thing with my jackets. But he puts his jacket back on to go to the restroom. I was like, "why the hell would he do that? Must be hiding something that's going to take the plane down." A few minutes later he returned to his seat and removed his jacket again. Maybe he thought someone would steal it (but where would they run off too) :D

 

 

Second one: Same flight back from Nashville and the plane is decending for landing in Detroit. We are getting really close to actually landing (I'd say a few hundred feet above the ground) and all of a sudden, the plane turns sideways, speeds up dramatically and starts going back up into the air. My first thought was "... we're headed straight for the Renassaince Center in Downtown Detroit." Finally after about 5 minutes the pilot comes on and tells us that at the last minute they realized the runway wasn't completely clear for landing. How about letting us know what's going on a little earlier, before I chit myself. :D

Edited by Puddy
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