02/23/2006: "Going Down!"
OK, some of you may know that like many others, I am afraid to fly. Don't get me wrong, I fly all the time but every time I do I experience a lot of anxiety, bad dreams, etc. It probably wasn't a great idea to watch the pilot for "Lost" last night (the one with the gruesome crash) but i did. I have often wondered how I would react in a plane crash situation. Would I be a screamer? A weeper? would I call out "Save me Jebus" or would I be stoic. Well, now I know...sorta. (mostly stoic with delayed weeping).
We had just reached cruising altitude of 12 thousand feet and the attendants were starting their beverage and snack service. I was coming back from the restroom and was stuck behind the snack cart on its way to the forward of the plane. I noticed the bags of chips looked like hillium balloons but didn't think much about it until there was a loud pop and they all went flying into the air, landing spread out over about three rows. I had never seen anything like it. We all laughed nervously. I sat back down and noticed one of the first class attendants trying to calm down a couple passangers. I was sitting directly behind the bulkhead and the curtains were open.
A woman in first class looked back at me with a panicked look on her face. I mouthed "problems?" and she gravely nodded yes. The plane began to decend. I looked behind me and saw the airline attendants quickly stowing the food and beverage carts. There was a flurry of activity near the cockpit. No one was saying anything. There had been a couple of announcements to stay seated and keep our seatbelts on but then nothing. Then the attendants voice came back on saying in a scared voice "some of your are still moving around, I can not stress enough how you must stay seated with your seatbelt on. The pilot will make an announcement as soon as he knows something".
The plane was silent. I couldn't even be sure i heard our engines. Were they out? I started to feel this horrible sinking in my stomach. I was sitting near my boss, she as looking out the window watching the mountains get bigger and bigger as the plane continued to go down. She looked over at me and I could tell she (who was normally the most stoic person I know) was scared.
No one knew what was happening. i can tell you though that where we were flying, there was no where to land. Just mountains. It was a beautiful clear day and you could see them perfectly...and we were getting closer and closer to them. I said "well, if it's our time to go I guess that's that" and my boss said "I have to much work to do". and then we sat there. I felt certain the plane was going to crash, and very soon. Our ears were killing us, sharp shooting pains from the fast decent. It was the most creepy thing I think I've ever experience.
I've been on horrible flights, through electrical storms with terrible turbulance and wind so bad they made us move seats around the cabin mid flight to balance the plane, and none of them freaked me out as those terrible quiet minutes we spent slowly losing altitude.
5000 feet later the captain came back on to say that they were experiencing a problem and that the cabin had lost pressurisation. That's why he had to make an "emergency decent". It was hard to hear his announcement cuz our ears by this time are all messed up...I heard something about landing in Cordova, but that they wanted to try and continue on to Anchorage where there were better medical facilities. My first thought was "CRASH LANDING" but it turns out they wanted emt's there to check passangers with severe ear pains. The plane was met with fire engines and ems people who came on board and helped escort a few passangers off the flight. We were told that Alaska Airlines wanted to contact each of us in writing and gave us all cards to fill out.
On the bottom it said "sorry for the inconvenience"!!!!