Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Story of When We Almost Wrecked the Plane on New Years Day (or at least the flight attendants acted like we were going to...)

So we thought it was a really swell idea to save 500 bucks and fly back home on New Years Day at 8:00am. That meant that we were dragging sleeping children out of bed at 5. Yep - to answer your question it was pretty much as awesome as it sounds. 

Anyhoo - we got to the airport, got some breakfast, got on board.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy 

The flight flew by and before we knew it we were above Boston.


Start to descend.

turbulance turbulance turbulance 

Then start to ascend

turbulance turbulance turbulance 

at this point I was like


Because there are two kinds of people - puke and ralliers and non pukers. Well, my youngest daughter and I are puke and ralliers. We puke at the drop of a hat and we are especially prone to motion sickness. We can puke effortlessly and bounce back quickly but still - who likes to puke? Not me.

I must also preface this story with - this was not my first rodeo in terms of puking on a plane. Been there, done that so I pretty much knew we were in trouble before we were even in trouble.

So the story moves along (at a snails pace as it tends to with me). Daughter pukes in a bag - as we do. Tidy, effortless, soundless. We pretty much have it down to a science. Then it is my turn.

At this point I am like - "ok - good deal - crisis averted. Moving on." 

Crisis so not over. You see the pilot gets on the loudspeaker and says,

"Well - you may have noticed that we just passed the airport..." 

My little puker and I just looked at each other and rolled our eyes like -

no &#@! Sherlock. 

Anyway - he says there was a little problem with the wing flaps and he was going to do a back up test and we would land in 20 minutes.

We were like - ok no problem.

Then the flight attendants (that is what you call them now right?) who incidentally were
mean like snakes start fluttering about like the whole damn plane was already on fire. One of them actually looked at me and was visibly shaking and says "we are going to be fine". I was seriously like "um ok that would be good". Now I can't blame them for being mean like snakes before the crisis because every single one of them was over 45 at least, it was New Years Day and it was 8:00 in the morning. They were obviously grumpy and had been around the block a few times and could not care less how polite I was or how cute my children were. (The answer to both of those things is EXTREMELY but still - they were a no go on the smiling, polite, common courtesy thing.)

Anyway one of the flight attendants gets on the loudspeaker and her voice is shaking and here is what she said (more or less):

"Well - um - ok - it looks like we are going to have a crash landing so I am going to read you the emergency procedures. Please look at your BRACE positions on the emergency procedures card." (Then she proceeds to start to read the entire card in a shaky, somewhat stuttering voice.)

Halfway through the speech she says (and I SWEAR I am not making this up) "Now - you guys don't start to freak out. I have to read this to you in case of an emergency." 

Husband turns around at this point and we share that look in the eye. You know the look - the one where you are quickly making a decision to take the feverish baby to the hospital or you are trying to read each others minds at a school function to find the quickest way out or the one where you hear the scream in the middle of the night that is so loud that you run into each other at the foot of the bed. You know - the "I am sure that we are going to be fine but we probably better be on the same page at this moment" look.

Right around this moment the pilot jumps on (which I thought was pretty funny because he basically cut her off) and he explains that we are in fact coming in for a landing and that the flaps on the plane were not testing high enough or low enough or whatever they need to be to correctly slow down the plan so he has
called the fire department. Yep - called the fire department. Even the puker at this point thought this was great. Both girls were like "Yahtzee! This is finally starting to get interesting."

Anyway - he called the fire department because he is not worried about crashing but somehow the landing could stress the breaks and burn them up. He explains that it could be a bit of a bigger bump when we land or it could be nothing at all but that the entire crew was simply preparing for any eventuality.

Husband and I were like "ok - cool - no problem - this is totally doable."
(all said in a look mind you) but he does move over (he and my son were lucky ducks who had an empty seat in between them on the flight) and sort of tuck the little guy in next to him. Did I mention that at this moment my youngest had chosen to fall into a deep sleep?

The lady gets back on the loudspeaker and starts talking about how important it is that we all listen to her and also that we take NO PERSONAL ITEMS with us if we have to evacuate quickly. NONE. At this point my 12 year old looks at me and here is her look:

"UM HAIL to the no if you think I am leaving this brand new ipad mini on this airplane for one second. I will wrestle that flight attendant to the GROUND if she thinks she is getting this thing away from me."

I understand the look and explain that I don't think that we will need to do this but they are just taking precautions. I do have to say at this point I looked at the copy of "Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes" that one of my third graders had given me and I was reading on the plane to make sure it was a good read aloud. I did not worry about my headphones or even my work computer but I did give a second thought to that book because I hated to lose it. I did console myself by thinking it would be a pretty awesome story to tell them until I got another copy.

Anyway - I have stretched a short period of time out as usual but the flight attendants make one more sweep. LITERALLY shaking like a leaf. They got on the loudspeaker and made sure that none of us had on high heels or had our glasses out so we wouldn't get stabbed. Once again I was like "um ok - that doesn't sound good".

All of use were quiet and calm. I mean really - what do you say? The girl next to me did say, "well this is getting exciting" and I just kept telling my girls what a fun New Years Day story we were going to have to tell and that it was all going to be fine.

Then bump, bump (it was at this point that I said in my head, "ok Father God - I know that you have this under control here but if it is all the same with you I would love to not wreck this plane today - K?")

I do have to admit that as soon as we were on the ground I thought - "ok phew - it would be pretty cool if we burst into flames or something now" but then rethought that and was quite pleased when all was normal. We did get to see the firefighters and were SO not the only ones with the neat little puke bags on the way out but other than that - all good.

We all clapped when we landed and then as we taxied in the flight attendants were walking up and down still all melodramatic asking us all if we were ok. I wanted to say "you know honestly - I would have been better if we could have stayed calm in the tense situation but you know - whatever - thanks for the story" but then I didn't.

Husband and I were talking on the way home and I said that surely they give them some kind of training about what do do in a crisis situation and I would think that a nice introductory chapter on "Don't completely freak out an entire plane full of people if it is not necessary" would be a good place to start.

But then again - what do I know....

Here is to a New Year! As usual I am sure it will be an interesting one.