The Worst Flight Ever. Really. Seriously.

My flight back from this most recent trip to Los Angeles sucked.  There’s really no better way to describe it.

  • My constant companion has been behaving badly.  And by badly, I mean agonizingly so.  Tear- and whimper-inducingly so.
  • The guy next to me (in the center seat) was simply too large for his allotted space.  And before you jump down my throat, I am not calling him fat.  He  wasn’t.  He was just a big guy with no sense of  where his space ended and mine began.
  • The woman one row back across the aisle kept coming forward to talk to her husband in the seat directly ahead of me, and sticking her rear in my face.
  • It was really, really, really, really turbulent.
  • I hated the movie I had rented on my iPad for the flight.  (Plus, there’s some weird connection issue with the headphones, so unless I hold it in, I lose sound and the movie stops.  Apple Store, here I come…in my copious spare time.)

But it wasn’t my worst flight ever.  That was in the fall of 1988.  I had just graduated from college that spring, and I was flying up for some random event.  I have no idea anymore what it was or why it was important enough for me to fly up from Miami for the weekend, but at the time it was absolutely essential.  Given that I was working at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, or basically donating my services in exchange for health insurance, I got the cheapest ticket ever, which oddly enough, was stopping in Jacksonville on the way to Hartford.  In Miami, a man was boarded in a wheelchair – and he looked very ill.  His partner was traveling with him, so I figured all was okay, and didn’t worry when they were seated in the row ahead of me on a half-empty flight.

In due course, we landed in – and shortly after, took off from – Jacksonville.  All of a sudden, the flight attendants converged on the row ahead.  They were whispering to the sick man’s companion, and an oxygen tank appeared.  I was politely asked to move to another row, which I did quite promptly.  A few minutes later, it was announced we would be making an unscheduled stop in Raleigh-Durham.  Oddly, the flight attendants did not sit down during landing, but continued to hover over the sick passenger.

Once we landed in Raleigh-Durham, we were all made to exit the plane, and told to wait at the gate.  While waiting, we were of course trying to find out what was going on…and then we saw the sick passenger exiting the plane.  On a gurney.  Just like in the photo.

Yes, just like this

Wait!  What’s going on?  Are we going to get to Hartford?  (Yes, that was the question most asked.)  And the worst news was yet to come…we were all called up to the desk, and advised we were being held there in Raleigh-Durham, as the now dead passenger’s companion had advised them he (dead guy) had hepatitis, but was not clear on whether it was infectious hepatitis or not.  So, the airline was trying to reach dead guy’s doctor and find out.  Of course, this all begs the question of why his doctor let him get on a plane if the stress of take-off and landing was too much for his heart, as we were told.

We’re all standing around – we clearly can’t be allowed to wander the airport – and it comes out that my original seat had been in the row right behind dead guy.  I’ve never seen people move so fast in my life.  I was immediately standing in the center of an empty space being glared at from all angles – an adult version of “the cheese stands alone”.

To make an already too-long story shorter, it wasn’t infectious, they got us back on the plane, and we were only a few hours late arriving in Hartford.  It was a great weekend, and the flight home was relatively calm.  Sadly, the airline did not offer vouchers, or snacks, or frequent flyer miles, or what would have been most welcome – free drinks, to acknowledge that we had had a tough flight.  But I guess they figured we had a story to dine out on for the rest of our lives.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. patryantravels
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 14:14:18

    At least they didn’t lose your luggage as well.


    Jan 27, 2012 @ 14:37:42

    Wow, that 1988 flight is certainly a trip from hell! I haven’t experienced any bad FLIGHTS, but I now have several bad AIRPORT (or on-the-ground) experiences to my name (luck me, lol)


  3. Gablesgirl
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 19:59:50

    Oh dear God. I thought my flight on a puddle jumper to Atlanta was bad. I was battling what I thought was random college pink and it turned out I could have lost my eye sight–while flight after flight was canceled from Atlanta to Miami. Or as my mom called it “The Last Train Out of Calcutta.”


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