High in the Sky

Talk about a trippy trip. That had to have been quite honestly one of the oddest flights I’ve been on.

I suppose it all started when shortly after take-off there appeared to be a heavy fog falling from the air vents above our heads. I’m sure it was simply the cooler air mixing with the sticky heat onboard. Normally, I would have dismissed this as nothing special (perhaps it wasn’t fog considering I ate the entire in-flight meal so vigorously). However, when there was a sound that can only be described as ice cubes crashing into the surface above us, the thick smoke became a bit more mysterious. Shortly thereafter, we hit what some may call ‘turbulence’ – but I’d classify as, “Please God!” updrafts – they were the most intense I’ve witnessed in many years. Usually a bit of turbulence can prove almost entertaining in the way that a rollercoaster’s torture creates a smile – this wasn’t funny.

The short gasps and tightened jaws from those around us didn’t go unnoticed this time. Time seemed to slow down as people started gripping each others’ hands with noticeable tension, while parents comforted their children with the most convincing smiles they could coax.

And then it simply stopped.

As soon as we were through the ‘pockets’, the stewardess came online and spoke those words that can only be heard in a movie, “Is there a doctor onboard today’s flight, or anyone with medical training? Please come to the front of the aircraft.” C’mon, you never hear that in real life do you?

This reminds me of another time that I was flying to London. The Captain came over the loudspeaker and announced something like the following, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been requested to circle around the airport for a few minutes, so we may be arriving a bit later than scheduled. We should receive priority soon, as our fuel is quite low at this time. Thank you.” Umm. Was it really necessary to include that last piece of information?

Now, we all know the statistics – flying is dramatically safer than driving. I can speak from experience, having totalled a 3 week old car, rear ended a truck, side-swiped a few times, not to mention the head-on motorcycle collision I experienced in Bali last month. So why is it that all of us became so freaked out on this flight? I’m sure it doesn’t help that I’ve been watching “Crash Scene Investigation” – a show on The Discovery Channel where they spend an hour describing a different plane crash every week in full detail with video footage.

Do any of you have experiences like this?