Air traffic control issues, freaking out, Twitter saving my sanity

I’m the first to admit that I can be overdramatic in unwarranted scenarios, but tonight definitely called for chaotic reaction, all thanks to a rather frank American Airlines pilot.

Today got off to a rocky start, especially since several friends and family members began frantically texting me with their east coast travel concerns. Apparently the northeast has been a mess the past few days as a result of a snow storm, so more than 2,000 flights were canceled. My best friend was worried that my DC flight would be affected, but I assured her that New York had all the problems,
not Washington Dulles Airport. How incredibly naive of me.

The flight from Dallas to DC was uneventful until landing time, when the pilot blatantly announced, “Well folks, it looks like the airport is super backed up, so we cant land. I sure hope we have enough fuel to keep circling the airport. We may have to do an emergency
landing in Baltimore to get more fuel, so hopefully we can hold off with little gas for a while.”

That was not what anyone wanted or needed to here. Now, I know this happens all the time, but most pilots are more tactful and careful when explaining the situation to their passengers. Even if we were in imminent danger, why talk like that and scare everybody? Sending people into panic is the worst thing you can do in that situation, even if the circumstances mean certain death.

He kept describing the issue over and over, being sure to say, “I am just really hoping we have the gas to get where we need to go.”

And I totally wasn’t the only wide eyed person on the flight. Tears immediately began to fall down my cheeks, mostly because I hate to hear someone in charge speak as if the end is near. The woman beside me was crying as well, but thankfully, her boyfriend was around to calm her down.

Oddly enough, I had free wifi access, so i did something very typical of my generation. I live tweeted the experience, terrified as ever. It was all I could do to remain semi sane and put together, and I was very comforted by the messages I received from friends and Twitter followers. Sad as it may be, Twitter was my foil in this situation. I wasn’t composed enough to post a blog yet, but I had Twitter, a lazier means to blog.

As the pilot continued to remind us all that gas was running low and winds were insanely fierce, I began thinking of all the things I wish I’d done with my life. One of my first thoughs was, “Oh no, I never burned my journal as I promised myself I would do!”

It’s not like my journal is full of scandal or anything, but even I, the Twitter/WordPress/Facebook oversharing queen have emotions and thoughts I’d rather not broadcast to the whole world. And I wouldn’t want anyone reading my diaries in the aftermath of my passing.

Thankfully for me, the plane landed an hour later, and it hit the ground with a bang. Everyone screamed, clapped, and laughed hysterically in unison. It was the most unusual reaction ever, but we all seemed okay with it.

As we deplaned, everyone talked and laughed some more. I suppose scary events can bring people together! In reality, we were going tone fine, but the winds were tough, the airport was insane as a result of all the northeast weather, and the pilot was a little too honest for most people’s liking. But all was well, and I am finally home.

Usually my airplane drama has consisted of delays, cancelations, and
tiffs with random individuals, so the majority of my negative airport experiences have been mere nuisances as opposed to actual dangers. Now that I know what it’s like to be frightened mid air, I won’t complain the next time my flight takes off an hour late.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some journal torching to do. Better safe than sorry!


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