Flight fear

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,

The past two days have been a bit of insanity, sometimes even bordering harrowing. My travels started Tuesday around 3 am EST (3 pm in China). I got to the Beijing Airport for my flight at 5:30 and arrived in Chicago about 13 hours later. Along the way, I experienced possibly the worst bout of turbulence that I’ve ever been through. The shaking of it made me run through scenarios: the plane wing breaking off (could the pilot still keep us somewhat upright?), falling from the sky (how should I brace for impact?), surviving the crash and attempting to stay warm and alive on the ground (how many layers of clothes could I put on?)… yeah, I’m a little freaked out from the Malaysia missing aircraft mystery and thinking of all kinds of awful possibilities.

view over arctic landscape from plane window

Somewhere over the arctic regions we got hit by some major turbulence.

In Chicago, I waited three hours to board the plane to Dulles and made it back slightly nauseous, but ok. We went home for a brief break and I slept three hours before crawling up just before 5 am to go back to IAD. This time I took a flight back to O’Hare to transfer to Louisville. We landed in some pretty fresh snow powder and then I watched as my 9:30 CST flight got delayed to 10:45, then 12, then 12:15, then 12:30, then 12:45…

plane landing on snow from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

And as I waited, nearly all the flights turned to delayed or cancelled. I got in touch with the partners I was going to visit and then sat back, hoping I’d still make it out in time. I finally got to Louisville at 3:30, checked out my rental car, and made it to the office at 4. I had booked a flight out at 5, but when I arrived I saw it’d been delayed until 6, so that gave me some time. I met with a few people before hightailing it back at 5. I returned the car and asked about my flight, which was going to Cleveland (now at 6:20). The delay would cause me to miss my connection, but luckily for me, an afternoon flight straight to Dulles was delayed by 4 hours and scheduled to leave at 7. I went to wait for that flight and made it back to Northern Virginia by 9:30.

fluffy cloud coverage with pastel colors in sky

Getting up in the sky, things were beautiful.

vibrant colors of fading sunset over cloud coverage

The sun set and we continued in the darkness.

Our approach to the runway turned out to be one of the most nerve-wracking 25 minutes of my life. We made a giant loop around the airport as we slowly came down, tilting left and right, shaking a bit, and making me feel like I’d developed motion sickness. I actually had to grip the hand rest to steady myself a bit and feel more secure in my seat. Once again, I thought about ways to survive falling out of the sky. I even imagined crash landing on the freeway or breaking our fall in a forest. I did not feel well! It was quite the series of flights giving me plenty of scares. I usually feel really secure on a plane, but this time around I was nervous leg after leg. I’m ready to stay grounded for awhile.

fractured light on scratched up window of plane

Finally on the ground, the sparkles of lights got fractured by the scratches on the window. Rather pretty.

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