Hopefully the weirdest flight I ever experience.
A couple of weeks ago, I traveled on the weirdest flight I’ve ever experienced.
I’m not a good flyer at the best of times. When I was fifteen I experienced my most terrifying flight. About midway between Queensland and Melbourne all the lights went out. A few minutes later (probably seconds, but it felt like hours) the exit lights turned on and started flashing. Then the oxygen masks dropped from overhead.
It was at this point that I grasped my sister’s hand and declared, as calmly as possible, “We’re all going to die!”
At nearly the same moment, the flight attendant announced that everything was fine – we had merely experienced a small mechanical glitch.
But this week’s flight wasn’t terrifying. Instead, it was incredibly strange.
Even before leaving the ground I was feeling a little more on edge than usual. We had to wait in line at the security point for quite some time as they reset the system.
Apparently the power had gone out that day and no one could enter the terminal until the security doo-val-akees had been rebooted. One might imagine this would involve turning the whole thing off and on again, but no. We all stood and watched as airport staff began some kind of bizarre oompa-loompa inspired dance routine. They bobbed around and through the security scanners in circles, shuffling at different heights and basically looking as though they had teleported straight from a “Come fly with me” sketch. You may well be able to find the incident on YouTube, as there was a toddler in front of me recording the whole thing on his iPhone.
Staff attempted to console waiting guests by assuring us that no planes were currently at the gates. Therefore, they insisted, there would be no difference waiting on either side of the security scanners. This, I must point out, was a flat out lie. On the other side of the security scanners is a bar. And I really needed some wine.
Unfortunately, once the wine was eventually in my hand (and then my stomach), I started to consider the concept of an airport power-out. Had it affected the air-flight control systems? Would they be able to safely navigate the departing planes? Or would it all end in a horrifying crash – after all, how is it that they have enough material to fill entire series of the television show Air Crash Investigations? These things HAPPEN.
By the time the plane eventually pulled up to the gate and we began boarding, I had anticipated every possible worst case scenario flight, except the one I was about to experience.
We boarded as usual. We took our seats. The seat-belt sign came on. The plane began to roll down the tarmac.
And one of the flight attendants came running down the aisle squealing “WOOOOOOOO!”
There are only a few ways to respond to something like that. A few people laughed nervously, most people shifted uncomfortably, I quavered in my seat, certain that this was the first sign of my doom.
The second sign wasn’t too far off.
A few minutes later the flight attendants began their safety speech. Kudos to them, I suppose, since they made it to “place the life-jacket over your head-” before they all burst into fits of hysterical giggles. One attendant even ended up bending over to clutch his stomach, while another rocked back and forth with laughter.
We were not laughing.
Well, two small children in front of me did seem to find it amusing. But that’s because they still live in a world where flying is exciting, not a life threatening necessity.
I was scared.
Were the attendants drunk? Were they on drugs? More importantly, had the pilot been to the same party the attendants had clearly just departed? …He had seemed coherent enough when he welcomed us aboard. Yet, his weather forecast for Adelaide, while informative, was a little peculiar given we were flying from Hobart to Melbourne.
It was at this point that I began laughing hysterically too. What more could I do? We were all going to die. Hahahaha. Ha. ha… ha.
The flight attendants didn’t bother finishing their safety demonstration. If I hadn’t been such a frequent flyer, I might never have known that the exits were “here, here and here” (arms wave vaguely to encompass the entire plane).
Such knowledge ended up being unnecessary. By some miracle, we managed to arrive safely in Melbourne, the plane only bouncing six times along the tarmac before coming to a nice wobbly roll and stopping a short ten minute walk from the gate.
Sadly, the weirdness wasn’t over. Once the doors were opened and guests began to rush desperately to the safety of land, the flight attendants enjoyed one last moment of terrifying hysteria. As we departed the plane, the attendants folded their hands together, bowed their heads and announced to each guest, “We love you. We love you.”
Well, I hate to be harsh, but the feeling wasn’t reciprocated.
Once in the terminal I was ready to celebrate my survival, but instead I was too distracted by how much the “Terminal” reminded me of the border security point on the dystopian film Children of Men. We stood inside a small cage – this is really the only way to describe it. A clearly makeshift baggage carousel squeaked next to a portaloo and waiting relatives pressed their faces to the bars as they waited in the car park.
I too stood and starred out the barred blockade, wondering how exactly I would get back to Tasmania.
I wouldn’t be traveling with that carrier again.
This is a true story. Honestly.
Every. Single. Word.
You can’t make this stuff up.