In the Air

Seatbelt Signs Off - Passenger flying follies from aloft.

(e.g., activities, thoughts, conversations with aircrew & passengers, weather, maintenance, delays)


Strong and Weak


My mother had died, and my father and I were flying from coast to coast for the funeral. I had been taking a ground school for my private pilot’s license and I did not want to get behind in the class. As I flew across the country and peeked out the window, I would get sad, but then as I read my flying textbook and learned about flying while flying, I felt incredible strength. It was a sweet and sour feeling.


Warmth and Comfort through the Window


I returned from Afghanistan as a military reservist and was on my final leg home after being gone for a year. I flew north up the California coast to my home airport in a regional jet and was seated on the left side of the aircraft in my own window/aisle seat. I felt a welcoming hug from the sun shining through the window onto the left side of my face and shoulder as I had many times returning from business trips from one year’s past. I enjoyed the familiar scenery and smiled as the plane turned slightly east at the Monterey Peninsula to head up the valley because I knew I would be landing soon. I still remember this feeling when I fly up the coast.


Turnaround over the Pacific


My boyfriend and I were enroute to Honolulu from California. About halfway to Honolulu, we heard an announcement on the loudspeaker “Is there a doctor onboard?” This was not a good sign. Later on, the pilot announced that there was a person onboard with potential heart issues and that we would have to turn around. Some people commented “if we are halfway, why can’t we keep going?” We were told that with the winds it would be faster to go back, and we understood. We felt bad for the person and it was the right thing to do. Once we landed, we heard the announcement that the person was deplaned and that there would be an hour delay so the required emergency oxygen bottle could be replaced. OK, this made sense. An hour went by, and we were told that the oxygen was onboard but we would be delayed another hour for fueling. We were frustrated but we knew it needed to be done. Finally, after we were refueled, we were told that the airline meals would have to be replaced, as they had been sitting on the plane too long and it was too risky to eat it. Replacing the meals would take three hours! We all shouted, “Just go; we’ll eat peanuts!” The flight crew actually listened to the passengers and once we got to Honolulu, we ate a huge dinner!