Flying South Southwest to DFW. Non-Stop. (Not Really)

airport

7:39 a.m. I have an hour to kill waiting to re-board and I’m searching for a photo for this post. I find it on a site titled “Under Heaven.” Isn’t that a coincidence. The photo is a near replica of the skyline that I see from the waiting area at Philadelphia International Airport. A patch of bluest of blues. An orange strip lining the horizon. Sun beaming in through the floor to ceiling windows. A Monday Morning Wake-Up Call. I live. I live. I live. I live.

7:15 a.m. The flight attendant states the estimate for the aircraft repair is one hour. We are asked to take our luggage and deplane. Because 1 hour is an estimate and you know how these things go. But, no one, and I mean no one is complaining.

7:00 a.m. It’s silent in the cabin. I mean Silent. It’s a long approach to the runway. Back wheels bump bump on the tarmac. Front wheel taps to follow. Reverse thrusters slow this 183,000 pound Airbus A321 bird. Whatever thrusters are, I’m grateful. The passengers begin to whisper and the plane taxis to the gate. I’m grateful for Philadelphia. The Liberty Bell. Rocky. Steak & Cheese Sandwiches. The Eagles. All of it. 

6:44 a.m.  The Captain comes on the intercom. “I have control of this aircraft.” And he stops. WTH does that mean? As opposed to being not in control? Noted that he didn’t say: “this is a routine maintenance issue.” I steady my hands, both trembling. No! No! No! No! I’m not ready to leave yet. I’m not looking for a room at the top of the world tonight. Four Seasons. Westin. Marriott. Red Roof Inn, anything. But not there. Not now. Not yet.

6:38 a.m. The Captain comes on the intercom: “Flight attendants please take your seats.” There’s a long pause. He comes on again: “Flight attendants please take your seats. We are making an Emergency Landing.” Flight attendants scurry up and down the aisle: “Put up your trays. Stow away your laptops and other electronic devices. Please return your seats to the upright position.” Another flight attendant, younger, wearing a look of distress, repeats the same message, but with an edge. I look to my right, and I’m reminded that I’m in an Exit row. I glance at the handle, my right hand twitches. Safer than driving a car or crossing the crosswalk they say. You’ve flown 3,000,000 miles, only one other time have you been subjected to an emergency landing. But that searing moment has never left your consciousness. New York to Spokane, Washington, with an unscheduled stop somewhere in Iowa. Head tucked between the knees in preparation. And, and, and you’ll remember this moment too…

6:00 a.m. Take-off on time. Flight AA 1556 to DFW, non-stop. I’m sitting in Exit row with extra leg room. Flight attendant walks through her FAA required instructions. Looking at me she asks: “Are you willing and able to open the Exit Door in the case of emergency?” She then proceeds to walk through the routine safety instructions: “… Seat belts… Safety card in pocket in front of you… Inflatable life vests… Oxygen masks will drop down in front of you…” I pay no attention having heard this drill hundreds of times before. I turn back to my iPad and my morning papers.

5:30 a.m. Quiet, uneventful boarding. No line jumping. No pushing. No loud-mouth on his cell phone.

4:00 a.m. Cruising down I-95 S to LaGuardia to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Dallas. Pre-dawn traffic streaming easily. This moment, me and little baby owl are getting our heads scratched, eyes are closed, happy to be up and alive… a peaceful, easy morning.


Notes:

Comments

  1. Good news! You live!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to hear everything worked out OK (not as much as you are, I’m sure). Love the shout-out for Philly…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I felt my heart stoped!!!!! I haate these days to fly… Once I lived a panic attack in the plane and I wanted to go out… The doors were clocked and we were waiting for take off… They hardly made me calm… I remembered this.

    I am happy you are fine dear David, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad that story ended well, pal, and hope it’s smooth sailing from here on out. Sending good juju your way….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh man…been there, done that and feeling that dread in the pit of my stomach. Whew – im relieved you’re ok and hope there are no more eventful moments this trip

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 🙏🏻Thankful you are okay….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like you missed a really nice sunrise in DFW this morning. Missed it by that much.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Glad you’re ok. ☺
    I was flying from New York to chicago few days ago and my boss decided to upgrade me to exit seat. The instant the flight attendant said “Are you willing and able? ” I unbuckled and got up to my original seat.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Not a way to start the morning, is it? At least it got your adrenaline pumping! I love to fly, but I’m always thinking that if there was going to be a plane that crashed that day it would be mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Only takes a moment to readjust our perspective.

    Your posts just continue to get more real and wonderful…since your surgery, I think… Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I remember waiting for an engine to be replaced. I thought it was just as well not to fly with the old one, but then I worried about someone maybe forgetting to fasten the bolts that hold the new engine in place. When it comes to flying, you can always trust me to think of something that could go wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Christie says:

    Grateful, you are safe…glad your flyway has many close options for emergency landings…
    Thought your flights to DFW were stopping by the end of 2017…bet you are looking forward to Easter vacation.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. As a silver-linings kinda gal… just think… this gave you another post to write!
    Because we can joke around because you are safe and sound.
    I have a Philly story myself. Not my favourite hub.

    Like

  14. Damn … I could have met you for lunch! I hope you get to DFW today. (On the other hand, I’m sure it will be a great post if you don’t). Wishing you a safe and uneventful trip 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  15. yes, you live!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Red Roof Inn?!?! 🤯 Tee hee – glad you’re okay, but I never doubted it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh so scary for you! Just got off a plane yesterday and you describe how I feel on every flight! No one is in control. I am always grateful to feel the earth under my feet again. Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Just got my stomach back to ‘down there’ after I’ve found it in my mouth, reading this post…..
    Has it gone alright then, eventually?!
    I hate all those abbreviations I don’t know…. DFW should be Dallas then?
    Are you EVER REALLY at home? Do you know your children? Does your dog (you know the one you really SHOUD have…) know you’re his master?
    Just kidding, had a week of hols and a very late night yesterday plus a very early morning today, not 4am but 5am. I shall be fine a bit later

    Liked by 1 person

    • Smiling. Love your comment Kiki. DFW is Dallas. After promises to have plane repaired at 8:30, 10:30, Noon, 2pm and 3pm, the flight was finally cancelled and I boarded a 4pm to Dallas. I arrived 9 hours after I should have. Painful but arrived safely. Thanks.

      Like

  19. So who was in control of the aircraft while the captain wasn’t? I would guess the big guy who always has control; we fool ourselves when we think we are in control. Of anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Whew – you live. Glad to hear it David.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. David, I’m glad you’re safe! No matter how nice it may be… the penthouse in the sky, doesn’t need reservations scheduled any time soon. ps. I don’t think I’ve heard more frightening words than “I have control of this aircraft.”
    lotta prayers going on, on That flight. hmmmm. need some coffee. too early for wine.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Phew!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. All I can say is Thank You God!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Anonymous says:

    wow…..

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Anonymous says:

    wow…..

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: