Yikes. Content has been edited for clarity.
Starting A Comotion Part One
“A flight attendant once told me that the reason passengers are told to keep the blinds up during take-off and landing is to increase the chance of someone spotting anything untoward like a fire in the engine or a wing dropping off. You know, the kind of thing that requires panic and immediate attention.
So on a recent flight, I was rather alarmed when only seconds after the plane lifted off the ground, a woman sitting in a window seat suddenly began screaming hysterically and waving her hands frantically.
‘Hey! Hey!’ she yelled whilst rapidly pounding her fist against her palm ‘Hey! HEY! Help, please! HELP!’
A look of panic crossed the flight attendants’ faces. We were in a steep ascent and they were safely strapped into their seats. But this was clearly an emergency and so two attendants unstrapped and bounded over to the woman as best they could, given the uphill gradient.
My heart was in my stomach. What would be revealed? Were we about to suffer the same tragic fate as the recent Ethiopian Airlines crash? I held my breath.
The emergency, it turns out was an argument between the woman and someone sitting next to her. The gist being, that the other person ‘has no respect’ and it was so unbearable that she was demanding to move seats immediately. An unimpressed attendant informed her that the flight was full. There were no spare seats and she would have to wait until the seatbelt signs were off before they could discuss a solution. But she wasn’t having any of it. She stood up and tried to climb over her next-door passengers into the aisle. She caused such a commotion that someone in a different row offered to swap. Except, that person was in an aisle seat and she refused to sit in an aisle seat. She wanted a window. Or in her words, ‘I will not accept that chair which is not a window!’
Oh, it went on and on until eventually, after much mediation and an awkward game of chair swapping, she was eventually reseated (in an aisle seat) just in time for. ‘Ding!’ The captain announced ‘It is now safe for passengers to remove their seatbelts.’
I spent the flight trying to figure out who she had had the argument with. She had been sitting next to a rather meek-looking man with a long-suffering look about him and I forged a theory that the subject of her wrath might actually be her husband.
Well, it turns out this wasn’t the case at all. Just as we were about to land things kicked off again. Seatbelt signs were on, the aircraft was in a rapid descent and all the attendants were strapped in. Suddenly a different woman stood up and began shouting at the take-off-commotion woman. A heated squabble broke out between them and a confusing flurry of words echoed around the cabin saying things like, ‘Hey, lady!’ and ‘No!’ and one voice saying, ‘Papa?’
All while the attendants repeatedly called over the tannoy ‘Get back in your seat!’ Passengers began shouting at the standing woman ‘Go back to your seat! We’re landing!’
But she wasn’t listening and instead threw a series of short sharp punches at the take-off-commotion woman, all to a shocked gasp from the audience of passengers.
A completely unrelated passenger leaped to her feet and with a feisty London accent challenged the take-off-commotion woman, ‘Are you gonna take that?! I’m telling ya now, I wouldn’t be taking that! Wotcha gonna do about it?!’
It was like I’d time-traveled back to school and I half expected everyone to start chanting ‘Fight! Fight!’ while the two contenders disappeared into a blur of hair pulling and face scratching.
But before it could escalate further the attendants came tearing down the aisle, grappled with the punching lady, and restrained her just as the plane touched down on the runway. The attendants then tried to force the woman back into her seat, after all the plane was still moving and we had to taxi over to the terminal. But she continued to resist and was crying out ‘Papa! Papa!’ like a forlorn lost child. It was all rather odd until someone noticed that there was an unconscious man flopped over in the row of seats the punching woman was trying to get to. It unfolded that the sick and elderly Father of the punching lady was sitting next to the take-off-commotion lady. The punching lady had noticed her Father was unconscious just before landing, hence her refusal to sit down and her lashing out at the take-off-commotion lady who refused to get out of the way so the man could be checked on.”
“It was a frightening and emotional scene that unfolded. The attendants were so focused on separating the two women and trying to get them to sit down they simply didn’t realize there was a medical emergency. In fact, no one realized just how severe the situation was until we’d almost come to a stop. Only then did we hear the cry ‘Is there a doctor on board?’
In the movies, you always see a respectable-looking older gentleman with specs and a briefcase stepping forward. But real life is rather different from what you expect. A heavily tattooed Scottish man emerged wearing a tiny white t-shirt with biceps the size of watermelons bursting out from each sleeve. ‘Make way! I’m a doctor!’ he called and immediately set to work testing all the vitals and putting the unconscious man into the recovery position.
But when he asked the attendants for some medical supplies they told him they couldn’t give him any because we were stationary on the runway and it was against the law. However, if we’d still been in the air they would be authorized to give him whatever he needed.
It turns out the unconscious guy had, had a stroke and was in pretty bad shape. Completely out cold and barely breathing, an ambulance was called and it seemed like an age before they turned up. And when they did, they boarded with the wrong equipment and the buff Scottish doctor had to give them instructions on how to evacuate the man properly. He was visibly frustrated with the situation. The frustrations were compounded by the fact that no one was allowed to disembark until after the ambulance had arrived and confoundingly, all the passengers had done what they always do when a plane stops; crowd the aisle with their necks craned and awkwardly pulling down luggage. On top of this, people were cramming around the unconscious man and one guy even began filming until someone yelled at him not to be so disrespectful.
So the medical team had to fight their way through the blocked aisle to even get to the patient. The flight attendants meanwhile, seemed to completely give up on any attempts at crowd control and simply stood at the back of the plane giggling nervously amongst themselves. While this was all going on the take-off-commotion-lady stood in the aisle tutting exaggeratedly, over and over then began demanding that we be let off the plane. To be fair, she had been assaulted and had no reason to care about the assaultee’s Father. But for someone so hung up on the concept of respect she certainly put on quite the cold-hearted display; willfully obstructing the way of the emergency staff whilst declaring loudly in a thick foreign accent ‘This is ridiculous!’
When she was told that no one could leave the plane because she and the punching woman were to be questioned by the Police she made a big song and dance about everything being ‘Unacceptable!’, all while a man’s life was fading away only a meter from where she stood.
It was really quite awful and honestly, I felt a bit shaken by the time we eventually made it off the plane. I wish I knew what happened to the sick man but all I know is that he was transported to the hospital and the two ladies were transported away by the police.
Anything, But This
“Nine months ago I was on a plane from Amsterdam to Mexico City.
When I was in line to get in, a bunch of people from Poland were there too, I thought it was interesting that they were all on the same flight and assumed it was a tour of some sort.
When we got to our seats the whole section was packed with the people from this tour, which at first didn’t bother me at all. It was an overnight flight so I was expecting to sleep for most of it. As soon as the plane took off and it was safe to stand up, the Polish people started walking everywhere, they filled the corridors and started talking, laughing and singing, there was a moment in which most of them had drank two cups of vino and they all wanted to pee. My seat was close to the restroom so the line was always next to my seat.
They spent 12 hours walking around the plane and that wasn’t the worst thing that happened. Suddenly everyone took their seats, the place started moving in a very uncommon way, the pilot announces they are having slight problems with the turbines and that the plane was going to shake a bit. This announcement followed hours of stress followed by nausea and the fact that I had had an upset tummy earlier that day only made it worse.
I was never able to sleep properly, I couldn’t even eat.
Then the polish people started talking again and screaming the name of whoever they wanted to talk to, everyone who wasn’t part of the group seemed very upset. The flight attendants didn’t even know what to do.
The turbine started failing again. Whenever the turbine wasn’t failing the people from Poland were making a mess.
When we finally landed, the air smelled like smoke and firefighters approached the plane. Some flight attendants were crying because apparently, the failure in the turbine was really serious and we barely made it.
I kept thinking how I could’ve died surrounded by a bunch of annoying people.
“A Nervous Flyer, At Best”
“Back in December 2013, me and my girlfriend, at the time, and her family had been on a trip to Berlin to check out the Christmas markets.
We were flying back on the 20th (I think, somewhere around then) and I had been keeping my eyes on the weather for days before.
During this time, Britain was being slapped about by some pretty severe winter storms, and one particularly gusty episode was being forecasted days in advance for the date we’d be flying back on.
You see, I was a nervous flyer – at best.
I would fly, and I could stay composed but deep down, every little sound or movement the plane made filled me with dread.
So anyway, the day of our departure comes and we make our way to the airport in Berlin.
Our flight left on time and the take-off and climb out are as smooth as peanut butter.
After about an hour of flight, I was on my second drink and, frankly, I was feeling much more relaxed about the whole situation.
I had forgotten all about the weather warning currently over London – until the pilot started talking;
‘Ladies and gentlemen this is your captain speaking. As I’m sure some of you are aware, the weather up ahead is a little bit rough at the time being. We will be shortly turning on the fasten seatbelt signs and ask all passengers to remain in their seats for the remainder of the flight. Flight attendants, please prepare the cabin for landing.’
A pretty standard-sounding address to many people – but I knew it was strange.
I was hardly a seasoned flyer by this point, but I’d certainly never been asked to fasten my seatbelt a good hour before we were due to arrive at our destination.
The cabin was eerily quiet when the seatbelt sign sounded and the cabin crew hurried around to check we were all strapped in before securing themselves in their jumpseats.
And then it began.
It was light at first – just a bit of standard turbulence.
And then it got a bit worse and kept on getting a bit worse.
Within half an hour of the pilot’s announcement, it felt like we were on a roller-coaster.
The plane felt as though it were swinging, or rocking from side to side – like a pendulum.
It felt as though it was a headwind too (not that you can really tell what’s going on in the passenger cabin) because I remember feeling like we kept decelerating hard as if the wind was pushing against the front of the plane.
The closer we got to London, and the lower we flew, the worse it got.
By the time we entered the clouds, the cabin was a noisy place. Kids crying, adults crying (seriously), and screams every time the plane violently lurched in either direction or altitude.
The noise of the overheads rattling was crazy – it was like I was on a bus that was driving at 70mph down a dirt track.
Eventually, I heard and felt the gear coming down and the last of the flaps coming out and guessed we were just about to land. I was too scared to even feel relieved about the prospect of being on the ground, I honestly thought my number was up.
We descended through the clouds pretty close to the ground. I closed my eyes at that point and just disappeared to my happy place. The plane felt like it was going to flip over, it was rolling back and forth so violently.
I was waiting for that thud as we touched down – waiting, and waiting, and then –
I was pushed back into my seat as the engines roared to full power and the nose of the plane pointed into the sky again.
No! Not up there again! It’s bad up there! Ground good!
I realized later, of course, that the pilots had obviously decided on a go-around – which they soon calmly confirmed over the com – but I was squeezing the blood out of my girlfriend’s hand by now. She – an experienced flyer – had been helping keep me calm up until now, but even her face had gone white.
‘Not a good flyer, buddy?’ an American accent suddenly said into my left ear.
I looked over and became aware, for the first time, that there was actually someone else on the plane, sitting next to me no less.
This guy was smiling at me as if he found my fear quite amusing
‘Not really,’ I said, ‘especially when we can’t even land!’
The guy laughed.
‘You want a Pilot that won’t land when it’s not safe man. Take it from me, if this was Air Russia, the pilot woulda slammed us down anyway, runway or not!’ he chuckled.
I didn’t know what to say, but I felt like I was sat next to Evil-Knievel.
Here we were, moments from death, and this American dude still has the humor to take a crack at the Russians. I started to think, maybe I’d survive after all. Or maybe, I was just being a big baby.
Turns out, this guy was from New York and flew several times a week, all over the world with his job. He basically talked me down from the ledge and convinced me that what we were flying through was nothing compared to what he’d seen before.
I wanted to believe him, but I was still fairly sure that we had somehow stumbled into a hurricane. Eventually, we were coming in to try and land again and It felt even rougher than before.
This random guy sat next to me, sensing my fear levels rising again, kept me engaged in random talk of anything he thought would even be remotely relatable between the two of us complete strangers – not once dropping his relaxed, friendly demeanor.
And he did it just to try and distract me from the rough landing. We eventually made it onto the tarmac (to actual applause) and I felt like kissing the ground.
My helpful companion wished me a quick ‘good luck’ and a ‘nice to meetcha’ before he disappeared into the throngs of people clamoring to get off that cursed plane.
I didn’t even say thanks for helping me through that – I was too busy revelling in the ecstasy of life. We get off the plane, I hug the cold, wet tarmac, we get our bags, and me and my girlfriend go out front for a smoke while her parents fetch the car.
Who’s standing there, smoking a Camel?
It’s my new best friend!
I walked straight up to him and shake his hand, thanking him for his help.
He laughed again and told me it wasn’t a problem. Apparently, he used to be deathly afraid of flying too until some old guy helped him through a nasty flying experience, somewhere in South-East Asia.
That old guy used to be in the air force during the Korean War and told him – after the pilots had warned of severe storms in the area and the plane became a feather in the wind – something along the lines of;
‘Hailstones? Pfft. Fly through a cloud of AA shells when you can’t see your Hand in front of your face, that’ll load up your britches,’ and these words changed his whole attitude towards flying.
I gave him one of the Cuban smokes I had bought in Berlin (he was mind-blown at having an actual Cuban) and he gave me a pack of Camel’s and we went our separate ways.
So, that was my worst flight ever, but it led to me being able to fly with relative ease today. So really, it was also my best.
And who knows, maybe I’ll be able to share my wisdom with some terrified kid on a plane someday.”
A Close One
“Once upon a time (2008), there was a value airline called Skybus. Skybus proudly advertised $10 fares. Yes, you read that right, ten dollars. The idea was that the first few people to book a flight got it for $10, then the next batch went for $20, and so on up to ‘normal’ fares. So anyway, I book my flight and I actually drive an hour past my usual airport to get to the one that has Skybus Airlines.
First off, the plane didn’t pull up to the terminal. They saved money by not doing that. We had to walk out onto the tarmac. I’ve done this with little puddle jumpers but never with a huge 747. We had to walk up a series of ramps to get on the plane, which was decorated with a Nationwide Insurance ad right on the side like a city bus or something. Whatever. My roundtrip flight cost me $20. I can’t complain.
So then the plane gets ready to take off. No lie, a woman wearing a hoodie and jeans walks up to the intercom and introduces herself as the flight attendant. She explained that they’re not your typical airline and that they save money by not offering anything complementary. Pillows are $5. Blankets are $10.
‘Keep those wallets out because we will be coming by with the QVC cart momentarily,’ they said.
They walked up the aisles selling jewelry and electronics. Again, my flight was $20. I turned up my headphones and went to sleep.
I woke up as we were about to land when the hooded flight attendant asked me to un-recline my chair. We landed without incident and the captain made an announcement: ‘It’s currently 50 degrees and raining here, but this plane is headed to Ft Lauderdale next where it’s a nice sunny 80 degrees. If you’d like to go, remain seated and have your credit cards ready for the flight attendant. It’s only an additional $70.’
Tempting, but no. I deboarded the plane, down a series of ramps, onto the tarmac.
I get inside the airport and look up at the TV screen to see, ‘SKYBUS DECLARES BANKRUPTCY. PASSENGERS STRANDED.’
This was ‘08. I was still using a flip phone, so I couldn’t verify details. Oh yeah, they also saved money by not having any airline staff at the airport. Their ‘counter’ was just a bunch of computer terminals that were shut off. I get to my hotel and immediately start googling.
Sure enough, they declared bankruptcy that morning and decided that their last flight would be at 11:59 pm that night. My return flight was scheduled for the next morning. I went to their website to find a message on the homepage that suggested stranded passengers find another airline to get home (thanks for the tip). Their 800 number had a recording of someone reading what was on their webpage.
All flights were either sold out or at some ungodly price. I ended up renting a car and driving 11 hours past my house and to the airport where my car was parked before then driving another hour back to my house. All told, with gas, rental fees, and tolls I paid way more than I would have if I’d just flown with a regular airline.”
The Baby Didn’t Even Cry
“I lived in Texas, where I had given birth to my first child. I had severe postpartum depression, and my fiancé was aloof as to how much I was suffering. He decided to take a surfing trip to Nicaragua when our son was three months old, leaving me to continue working (I was an IT Analyst) and take care of our son by myself.
Deciding that was a horrendous idea, I booked a flight to stay with my parents in Washington state while he was gone. I hadn’t flown with my baby before and was terrified. However, the flight to Washington went smoothly and everyone I encountered during the trip was incredibly kind and helpful.
Now, the flight back to Texas.
I hadn’t slept much at my parent’s house and was working remotely the whole time I was there. I did not want to leave my parents though. I was pretty emotional. My son and I boarded the flight from Seattle to Austin. We boarded first, as is customary for parents with young children to do.
We were seated in a window seat. I was holding my tiny baby, who was quietly cooing and playing with a rattle. A man and a woman sit in the seats next to us. Immediately, I sensed something was off.
The woman turned to glare at me, then loudly announced to the man, ‘Oh god, we’re sitting next to a woman with a baby. Why do people travel with children? I’m sure it’s going to scream the whole flight. Ugh.’
The man laughed, and said ‘Ugh gross,’ and forcefully turned to his side to give me a death stare.
I was uncomfortable at that time.
They continued to talk about me and my baby (which they called ‘it’) for another 30 minutes or so. My son fell asleep. Then, halfway into the flight, my baby sneezed into my chest. His pacifier fell out of his mouth and while I tried to catch it, it slightly touched the lady’s leg before falling to the floor.
She jumped up and screamed, scaring my baby, and yelled, ‘Oh my god! How disgusting! I need sanitizer now! Attendant!! I need an emergency clean up, bring me towels now!’
My seat mates were livid now and yelled at me to control my child and how disgusting ‘it’ was. I started quietly crying,hiding my face. I don’t think they realized how hurtful they were. I cried for the rest of the flight, quietly rocking my baby.
Yeah, of all the bad flights I’ve had in my life (one that made an emergency landing in a field, one where I vomited all over myself, etc) this was the worst.”
Grown Up Tantrum
“This was not the worst that could happen to me, but it definitely was an odd experience. Last year, I decided to move to California, and I chose airline as my method of travel. Everything went smoothly at the Boston airport. My stepdad, who drove me, didn’t say goodbye, he practically threw me out of the car.
I got on my flight after a quick security check, nothing out of the ordinary. I ordered a window seat, and I saw someone sitting in my seat. I was not worried about it, so I sat next to her. She took one look at me and said, ‘Oh no, you have to move, you’re fat, and fat people are gross.’
I was perplexed, and said, ‘You’re actually in my seat, I ordered extra legroom and a window seat, but I’m not the one being a brat about things we can’t change this instant, now am I?’
This grown woman, who was double my age or so, threw a tantrum that because I was fat, I’d invade her space and need two seats (I am heavy, but I fit in one seat and do not spill over, I don’t need an extender for a seat belt, and I’m very hygienic. She went on and on and on about how can I live being a fat, gross, blob of space, how I would never find someone to love me, etc. I was just ignoring her at this point, and finally, people nearby could hear her verbal abuse and asked if I was okay. I told them I was fine, and that I understood that she just didn’t want her space invaded.
She kept throwing her tantrum, and finally, the attendant walked by and heard the woman. She told her, ‘We have a full flight, we can’t move seats. She is nowhere near your space, you have a whole seat between you, and she is in her seat, not spilling over or anything else. You need to get over it.’
The lady mumbled that she should have kept her original seat, and I swear that I saw the biggest smile on the attendant’s face. She said, ‘Excuse me? So, you’re telling me this isn’t your seat, to begin with?’
She yanked the lady’s ticket and saw that this lady was actually supposed to be in the back, with the normal seats that didn’t recline as far back, no extra legroom, etc. The flight attendant made the lady go to her original seat or be kicked off the flight.
I moved to my seat after she left, and this man sat next to me. He was a sweetheart for the entire flight. He talked and laughed with me. That made my worst flight a more memorable one, for sure.”
Don’t Eat The Fish Balls
“One day, I was flying in an almost-empty first class to New York, with a connection to Boston. During meal service, I was served fish balls as an appetizer with my meal. I ate only the fish balls, didn’t touch the main course, and went to take a nap.
Within one hour of eating, I woke up with the worst nausea and vertigo. Before I could gather my thoughts, my body began to reject the food I had eaten. I tried my best to get to the restroom, but the contents of my stomach spewed out from seat 1A all the way to the restroom door. I was barely able to make it to the restroom for the second bout of vomit. With one hour of flight time left, I was stuck in the restroom, throwing up every 15 minutes. The flight attendants were such troopers. They got the place cleaned up, gave me a few barf bags and towels, and covered me with blankets, as I was alternating between hot and cold sweats. They even offered me tea, which came right back up.
When we landed at Kennedy Airport, I was so weak that a request was made for a wheelchair (my first time riding in a wheelchair), and I was brought through customs and immigration. The officer who checked me also patted me down thoroughly for contraband, while I reached for and retched into another barf bag (He was just doing his job, I guess).
I ended up being too sick to continue on to my destination, and the airline provided me with a hotel room in NYC for the night to give me time to recover. They also asked me if I wanted to seek medical attention, at which I told them that I would get back to them if my condition worsened.
My diagnosis: Food poisoning from tainted codfish.
My conclusion: If the passengers in economy were served the same meal that they served in first class, there would have been many sick passengers and lawsuits that day.”
“I Still Get Really Mad Remembering This”
“I’m a software developer from Brazil. About a year ago, I started interviewing for a position in a company from Canada and made it through the on-site interview. I must add that I was a very inexperienced traveler.
The first leg of the flight was to São Paulo. It was set to last 50 minutes, and we took off at the scheduled time. But man, if only I knew what was coming my way.
As we were approaching São Paulo, the pilot told us that, due to bad weather, we would have to land in a nearby airport, wait for conditions to improve, and then fly to the correct airport. Only, it didn’t.
We were inside the plane for two hours, not being allowed to leave. We did have some snacks and water, but that was just about it. Some people got mad. I mean, really mad. In the end, we ended up taking a bus to the correct airport, but by the time I entered the bus, I knew I was going to miss my connection.
When we arrived there, there was absolutely no one to advise us. Eventually, we found the airline counter, and a line was formed, so they would take a look at each case and decide what to do. But we had no food, no water, no chairs. Even the children and the elderlies got no support. I still get really mad remembering this.
After a really, really long time, it was finally my turn! The attendant turned to me and said: unfortunately, your ticket was bought from another airline. This means that your situation is not our responsibility.
I was baffled. Literally. But it wouldn’t end this way! After 10 minutes of negotiation, and thanks to the help of the other passengers that were nearby, I got a basic hotel stay with a meal. Awesome, everything’s settled now, right? Oh no.
We drove to the hotel, and I saw a giant line in front of it. Fortunately, the receptionist told us that, since there were a lot of people in front of us, we should eat first, and then check in. Best advice ever! I quickly ate and went back in line.
When there were about five people in front of me, guess what: there were no more rooms. So we had to wait for another bus, which would take us to a different hotel. This time, everything was smooth. The hotel itself was much better, and there were much fewer people in line. In 30 minutes I had bathed and was sleeping.
Just to contextualize: my flight took off at 4:40 pm. I went to sleep at 5:30 am.
The next day, I ate lunch, rested for a while and went on to the airport again. The airline counter would open at 6:00 pm, so, of course, I was there by 5:00 pm. I also explained everything to the person inside the company that was taking care of my trip, and he managed to book me a flight on the same day. Success, right? Wrong.
Many of you already know this, but I didn’t until this day: airlines overbook flights. So I had a ticket, in my very hands, but there was no seat number on them. I had to stay in front of the gate until the very last minute, only so maybe I could board.
Waiting with me there was a super nice girl. I don’t quite remember her name, so let’s call her Mary. She was going to Toronto for a student exchange.
When it was time to take off, the attendant told us that there was one seat available. Mary and I looked at each other, in silence. The attendant continued: ‘Due to alphabetical order, you can board,’ and looked at me. I hugged her, really long, for 20 seconds or so. Then I said ‘Sorry,’ and boarded.
It literally was one of the most sincere reactions I had in my life. I couldn’t lose this opportunity. The interview was in the next day, and it literally was the opportunity of my life!
In the plane, I was the happiest man on earth. Everything that happened was in the past, and now the only thing that mattered was the interview. I was even happier when I saw Mary boarding! Apparently, someone was in the airport, but didn’t show up at the gate on time. His relatives were upset, but the flight ended up taking off anyway.
The rest of the trip was a breeze. Canada is beautiful, just amazing.
And yes, I got the job!”
“November the 10th”
“I was flying to Patna for an urgent matter. The flight attendant mid-air announced that we were diverting the route to Varanasi to refuel given that there is congestion at the Patna airport as reported by the ATC.
We were left stranded at Varanasi for more than two hours. Two hours might seem inconsequential when traveling but the wait is very painful when you’re flying from far and wide on a tight timeline to meet your loved ones. Jet is a code share partner of Etihad Airways. We had several fellow passengers traveling from the Gulf to meet their families in several parts of Bihar. Patna was not the end of the journey for them. They had to catch trains to Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Raxaul, etc once they deboarded. These plans of course were washed off given the delay.
What followed next was even more harrowing for a passenger. We flew from Varanasi at 8:00 hoping to land in Patna by 8:39 given the short distance. But much to all the passenger’s disappointment, the pilot announced mid-way that we are returning to Delhi due to ‘congestion’ at the Patna airport. This claim seems unfounded. My husband was at the Patna airport all this while and mentioned GoAir flights landing safely. Wonder what went wrong with our flight in particular.
The announcement was sufficient to make several passengers burst into tears. I too sobbed. I was on a short leave from my IAS training academy. Every day, every hour was critical. And there I had spent one precious day of my leave in an aircraft! What added insult to injury was the unprofessional handling of the matter by the airlines. They refused baby food to infants and even declared some passengers as ‘ganwaar’ (slang for uncivilized).
Speculation was rife that our flight’s pilot got into an argument with the Patna ATC. Given the inflated ego Jet Airways carries, this allegation cannot be rubbed off.
Just while I was beginning to believe that my ordeal would end after landing at IGI Airport New Delhi, I was led into greater spirals of unprofessionalism.
It has been easily the worst experience an air travel ever gave me and I speak for all the passengers who shared my plight and flight on the fateful day of November the 10th.”