Thursday, November 15, 2007

Adventures in Altitude

I just got home from a one-day trip to Philadelphia, and for once, I disagree with the airline's decision to let us fly in rough weather. Now, I fly a lot and I am not afraid of flying; quite the opposite: I enjoy it. I grudgingly endure surly airline/TSA employees and crabby passengers, but I love the freedom of going from coast to coast in 7 or 8 hours. I enjoy seeing the world from 30,000 feet. I enjoy little plastic cups of club soda with a lime wedge and floor lighting that directs me to the nearest emergency exit (and keeping in mind that the closest exit might be behind me).

I've flown through turbulence, thunderstorms, rapid losses of elevation, and very rough landings. I've calmed my share of irate passengers (and in one case, flight attendant) and had to be escorted from a plane by burly security men because of a drunken scotsman with a randy temperament. But today was a new high in scary flight behavior. As we started our initial descent into RDU, we passed through some sort of cross-dimensional time-space vortex which sent drinks, ice, in-flight magazines and flight attendants flying through the cockpit. As the attendants got themselves safely shackled to their tiny jumpseats, you could hear the low murmur of Hail Marys and the faint "click" of rosary beads amid the occasional "Yelp! (expletive)!" as more ice catapulted into the air. Even the pilot sounded a bit, well, panicky. Then, as these things often happen, it was over as quickly as it had begun. The landing was a bit rougher than usual, with a couple extra bounces and some crab-sliding, but nothing to write home (or blog) about.

I'm sure some of my friends (particularly you military types) have experienced much worse, but since all my aviation experience has been of the commercial I-am-a-paying-customer variety, and I've never (yet) been expected to refuel my own plane, this was worse than anything I've been in before. And for a few minutes, I was working out a deal to send e-baby to a convent when she turns 16. Hopefully parochial school is close enough.

Speaking of e-baby, she's getting very good at sporking. Spoons are difficult to pick up small things like peas and pasta-twirls with, but those baby fork-spork things work nicely. She's got about a 70-80% hit rate from spork to mouth. It makes dinnertime tons of fun.

So there's my week in an html-shell. How are you?


PartnerInCrime said...

That sounds absolutely terrifying. I mean, I'm the type who tends to silently wig out and white-knuckle the arm rest at the slightest hint of turbulence, but that sounds far worse than anything I've experienced.
I hope you poured yourself a nice, big cocktail after you got off the plane. I probably would've needed a pitcher of vodka to calm my nerves.

Lizard Breath said...

Yep, compared to some of our flights, yours sounds like a day at the beach. However, since you did pay for it, they could have at least tried not to land three times instead of the normal once. I am sure it was simply weather and not an inexperienced pilot (just playing with you now!). Hope all else is well! Can't wait to see more photos and visit!

Alphagal said...

It is good to be home and on terra firma, but what the experience will do more than anything is make me less nervous about bad turbulence next time around.