Worst Flight Ever

About 4 years ago, I endured my worst flight ever to date. It is amazing how hindsight works though, because now that it is far enough in the past, the irony of it all makes me laugh every time.

We  had just finished a conference and were all on our way home. Unfortunately my husband, daughter, and I were all doubly sick with a stomach bug and sinus infection. Our taxi arrived an hour and a half late to take us to the airport, which meant much running and rushing once we got there. In this rush, I managed to leave my cell phone at the first security check point, but there was no time to go back. We got to our gate with one minute before they shut the doors, but thankfully we made it to the first leg of our flight.

Then we sat on the runway for an hour or so. Thinking of our 1 hour and 20 minute connection between the first and second flight, and the fact that we had to go from the international airport to the domestic one (thankfully right next door) and collect and re-check our bags, we were thinking this to be an impossible situation. My husband agreed to get all of our bags and to catch the next flight while I ran with our daughter to get on our original flight. Nobody wants to wait in Moscow’s domestic airport for any longer than necessary.

I made it from one airport to the other just in time and boarded the plane only for my sick baby to start screaming and screaming. I also realized at this time that I didn’t have house keys since I had forgotten them with my husband, nor did I have the phone number of our friends who had our spare set, nor did I have a phone. That problem would have to be tackled later though as I had my screaming daughter to take care of.

A nice flight attendant kindly came up and offered me and my daughter a spot in business class since it was almost empty. I agreed thinking of how I could more easily nurse and soothe my baby without being crammed in the window seat next to a large older man who was less than excited to be seated next to such a happy pair.

Not long after take off, my daughter has a massive blowout diaper… and her spare clothes are of course in my husband’s carry-on. Oh no. AND, there is no changing table in the bathroom since this is a domestic flight on an older Russian plane. Again, oh no. So, I am left with no choice. I change the stinky blowout diaper right there in business class (I am SO sorry, high paying passengers!!!)…. and I put her clothes back on her and wrap her in a blanket. Gross. Thankfully nobody seemed upset with me, though I don’t know how they couldn’t have been.

Thankfully this story has a happy ending with my daughter calming down and me arriving to find that my husband had realized that I didn’t have keys and had called our friend to come pick us up. He had even arranged for them to bring a pack n’ play since our was still en route and my daughter would have been with out her bed. My husband arrived safely at home, though a bit tired, the next morning. So, in the end everything worked out, and I at least got a pretty good story out of it.

Just for fun, I thought it might give us a few good laughs to share our about our “worst flight ever” stories! What is yours? Do tell!

(Post by: Ashley)


6 Responses to “Worst Flight Ever”

  1. 1 Phyllis September 12, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    My husband had a pretty funny one just recently. It wasn’t actually the flight that was bad, just getting to it. When we booked his tickets, I made sure that they left and came back at good day times, when there would be plenty of buses and easy transportation, because the airport is in a city several hours away. He was supposed to leave Monday afternoon, somewhere around 2. We checked the day before, booked a place on a bus, had a friend ready to take him from the bus to the plane, planned on a good night sleep and easy start to his travels…. (That’s a whole lot of planning ahead for us! 🙂 )

    Sunday night we were enjoying our last evening together before his trip. He hadn’t even packed his suitcase. I decided I should print out his itinerary, and I saw that HIS FLIGHT HAD BEEN CHANGED TO 4 AM! Ack! It was already too late for buses from our tiny town. We called our one friend who has a car, but he was out in a village. He said just to get out to the highway (not close by) and try to flag someone down.

    Anyway, Will did make it to his flight, but without any sleep, of course. And he already had a long layover in Vienna; once they added in extra 10 hours from his schedule change, he was stuck there for more than 24 hours! It was crazy. And they did pretty much the same thing with his return trip. At least we knew to check for schedule changes.

  2. 2 Summur Braley September 12, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Oh my goodness! That sounds like the worst flight i ever heard of, for sure. Thank God it is in the past :O)

  3. 3 Nancy DeValve September 15, 2010 at 11:53 am

    We flew out of New York on the day that they caught the guys with the liquids in their carry-ons, so security was tight. We got to our plane and boarded and things really weren’t running too much behind schedule. Even though they opened boarding on time we had to wait for some passengers who were still going through security. Then the pilot announced that a passenger hadn’t showed up, but his luggage was on the plane and they were going to have to pull the luggage. So that took about 30 minutes. By then heavy thunderstorms had moved in and the airport was closed down. From boarding to actual take-off, we sat in the airplane for FIVE hours! Five hours going nowhere and doing nothing. As the hours passed, we realized that we would miss our connecting flight in Paris to Niger. Then when we got to Paris, exhausted from the all-night flight which had almost doubled in length, we had to stand in line to try to find another flight. While in line we found three other missionary families who we knew who were in the same boat so we joined forces with them. The problem is that at that point in time there were only two flights a week on that airline into Niger. We would have to wait four days until the next flight and the airline refused to pay for our hotel because it was “an act of God”. They managed to find a flight on another airline, that would be two days later. We had huge amounts of luggage and they said we would have to take our luggage with us to the hotel. We refused and finally convinced them to keep our luggage at the airport. It’s a good thing we did because our hotel had an elevator that fit about 2 people and 2 suitcases and our room barely had room to turn around in. We had a day and a half to tour Paris and it turned out to be a lot of fun. We ended up flying from Paris to Morocco and then to Niger. In spite of all those airplane changes, all our luggage arrived with us. Unfortunately some of our friends’ luggage never did show up…it was totally and forever lost.

  4. 4 Susan De Vries September 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Your story prompted me to think of our family classic of our first arrival in the Philippines as new missionaries. We left LAX about 10 at night, with our 3 daughters all under 6. My Mom had thoughtfully made little harnesses for each one, which she thought I’d be able to use to control them in those long corridors. Fat chance, though our oldest did enjoy yanking on her sisters’ harnesses when they got a few inches ahead of her.
    We were only in the air about 10 minutes when our 3 year old Dierdre threw up all over my husband, with vomit running down his shirt and even into his sox! Of course, we had packed a clean outfit for her, but not for him. He tried to wipe off most of the gunk as best he could in the tiny washroom. The only up side of this predicament was that the people around him seemed to all find better seats somewhere else on the plane.
    We had one layover in Guam to refuel (this was back in the dark ages before long-haul Boeing). But we were not allowed off the plane. It was at least 18 hours on the plane, without any movies or cartoons for the kids!
    By the time we neared Manila, the girls had all slept a goodly portion of the trip on the floors and seats, and we were congratulating ourselves on how smoothly it had gone. But as the plane taxied into the international airport, all eyes on the plane, including ours, were drawn to the burned out shell of a huge airplane dragged to the side of our runway. It had crashed on landing and burned up just a few days before, and they had not managed to remove it from the scene, due to the heavy air traffic. NOT a good sign.
    We excitedly stepped off the plane to see our new homeland, only to be hit in the face with hot, steaming wash cloths! I felt dizzy and faint. No, actually, it was only the humid climate, that just seemed like a wet washcloth. I immediately regretted my choice of a polyester blouse and black polyester slacks.
    My husband was bravely lugging all our carry-on luggage down the steps to the tarmac, and the two older girls were behind him. so I was stuck with the diaper bag, and the stroller with a 14 month old baby in it, plus my purse. I looked around for an air hostess to help, but there were none in sight. SO I picked up the stroller in my arms crosswise, slung the bags to the back of my shoulder, and began my descent.
    Only later did I look back, thinking how foolish this was, since I was wearing high wedge heels and after enforced sitting so many hours, was very light headed. Surely, my guardian angel was watching over me down those long stair steps, as I could so easily have tumbled and carried my baby with me.
    After a LONG wait at customs, clearing immigration, we were welcomed warmly by about 24 people waving signs and giving us hugs. They drove us 2 hours across Manila to a welcome party at the mission compound. After being awake for what seemed like 48 hours out of the last 54 hours, I couldn’t remember a single name or any of the conversations. I was just waiting to fall into a bed.
    To our utter dismay, our perfect little travelers, who had slept so well in the plane, were now energetic and hyper! They were ready to play and talk and jump on the beds until many more hours were past. My husband and I actually fought over who should be the one to stay up with them, as they were too young to just ignore. Besides, they kept coming into our bedroom and turning on the lights and asking for things. We went on with this cycle for the next week: the girls sleeping in the day, and us WANTING to sleep in the night, taking turns staying up with them for 3 hours at a time. It was an ordeal. But many other happy surprises took place and made up for it all in the end. We loved our team in Manila and enjoyed 4 1/2 years in the Philippines.

  5. 5 Sarah September 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    I’ve enjoyed reading all of your experiences and cringing at them. 🙂

    Last summer we traveled from the Philippines to Florida. The weeks leading up to our departure had been hectic – sorting, packing, traveling around the country to say goodbyes as we were transitioning to a new ministry in Norway – so we were drained in every way when our departure date came along. We had just finished the looooong flight from Taiwan to Seattle and were completely exhausted. My husband and I psyched each other up for quickly getting off the plane, immigration (he is from Norway), and then making it to the other side of the airport for our final flight to Orlando.

    As we were exiting the plane, our 4 year old son suddenly threw up all over my husband…shirt and jeans soaked. Thankfully it was just a one-time deal, but we didn’t have a change of clothes for my husband and we had to keep moving.

    We hadn’t been worried about immigration since my husband has a visa and we’d been through the process many times before with no problems at all. But the immigration officer ignored all the paperwork we gave him and began immediately firing questions at us. My husband was covered in stinky vomit, both of us were carrying a crying child and our brains could barely follow what he was asking. He was suspicious that we were lying to him, so he sent us down the hall to a questioning room.

    The following interrogation was pretty awful (in hindsight, a bit comical). I was told to stay silent and my husband who has been fluent in English for many years was struggling to find words. The officers did not believe him and they were discussing sending him back to the Philippines. The worst part was that the room REEKED from my husband’s clothes.

    After about an hour, a new man came in and began firing biblical questions at my husband. “How many books are in the Bible? What were Noah’s sons’ names? Who wrote the book of Psalms?” Thankfully he was able to think clearly enough to answer them correctly, and not too long after that they let us go after reminding us that he had been THIS close to being deported. (The funniest part of it all is that we booked this crazy 38 hour trip so that we could fly via Seattle and avoid going through San Francisco, which would have been a much shorter trip, because so many people had advised us against going through immigration there.)

    We had to run to the baggage conveyor belt where our 8 huge bags were the only ones left and drag them through customs and re-check them (with no baggage carts in sight), and then run to get to the gate for our next flight. We were hot, stinky, sweaty messes when we arrived at our gate just in time for final boarding, and you should have seen the looks on the faces of all the clean, nicely dressed, well-rested passengers as we got on the plane.

    We overheard some pretty mean comments about how bad we looked/smelled, which made me feel awful and I wished I could explain why we were such messes and what the last 33 hours had been like, but it was all made better when we landed in Orlando. Everyone from our flight was waiting at the baggage claim for the bags to begin coming when we all heard loud shouts coming from down the corridor. Of course everyone turned to look at see what all the commotion was about and there was a long line of people running and shouting – it was our family and friends! My parents, sisters, grandparents, nieces and nephews, brother-in-laws, and several friends were jogging towards us at different paces, almost all of them crying as they greeted us and met our daughter for the first time. I couldn’t help but smile a little to see quite a few teary eyes among the group of passengers as they saw our emotional reunion…and I hoped they didn’t hold our stinky-ness against us anymore. 🙂

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