Friday, April 12, 2013
The worst flight
When I was finally buckled safely in my seat on the little prop plane out of Charlotte, I closed my eyes, felt my brain spinning backwards into an exhausted hole, and tried not to think about the huge gusts of wind barreling over the runway.
Then the flight attendant reached for the PA mic and clicked it on with manicured fingers. "Ladies and gentlemen," she said brightly, "welcome to United flight 446 to Asheville. If you're wondering why this flight has been delayed, it's because a plane at the Asheville airport crashed on landing."
I've never heard a silence quite like the one that followed.
Finally someone in the back row asked, "Why did you have to tell us that?"
The flight attendant kept smiling as she unhooked the microphone and took a moment to click it back on. "I didn't want you to see the clean up crews and worry." She had a charmingly southern accent.
It was comforting to know there'd been a plane crash. Otherwise we'd have seen the debris and worried that there'd been a plane crash.
After we'd lifted into the air, the pilot came over the PA system. "Ladies and gentlemen, we're anticipating an extremely turbulent flight so please remain in your seats. If you're wondering why we're delayed, it's because the plane before us crashed on landing and they had to clear the runway."
The flight attendant was nodding enthusiastically.
It was the worst flight.
By the time the plane dropped out of the sky and bounced onto the tarmac, I was filmed in sweat. I may have crawled across the runway and into the street where a single taxi was idling in the heat.
"Wow!" exclaimed the driver as he threw my bag into the trunk. "You look like you're having a nervous breakdown!"
I just nodded and folded myself into the backseat.
"But you know what?"
What, I asked.
"So am I, honey. So. Am. I." Then he started laughing, and I started laughing, and we cruised down 240 East with the windows down and the radio up.
(The flight that crashed into Asheville airport on April 8th was a private plane. Nobody was killed.)
Posted by Melina