I hate flying even when it’s smooth — the combination of terror and tedium really wears me down.
But when it ain’t smooth, my nerves jangle so loud they drown out Alec Baldwin playing games on his cell phone in the next row.
While I inhale a whip-it to relax, let me tell you my five worst flights:
(5) New York to Toronto
It bounced up and down so hard the whole time they couldn’t even serve the beverages! It was a short trip but felt so long I was ready for my AARP card by touchdown!
(4) New York to London
I heard an explosion aboard. I thought for sure the engine had blown up. We looked at each other, confused and horrified. The flight attendant came down the aisle, picking up orange rinds. “What happened?” we asked her in a panic. “Just collecting fruit to throw out,” she chirped. NO, THE EXPLOSION!!! “Oh, we were hit by lightning,” she blithely informed, continuing with the rinds collecting! I was chilled, but held my breath for the next three hours and made it home in one piece. What does it take to ruffle these flight workers? And who gives a shit about orange rinds?
(3) L.A. to New York
After an eternity in the air, I thought the ghastly experience was finally ending, but the pilot said we had to circle while we awaited an OK for landing. The weather was bad, so we kept hitting alarming speed bumps as we circled around. It was like being in a bumper car, except it was 35,000 feet in the air, it was storming, and we were probably running out of fuel. “Does this happen often?” I asked a flight attendant, on the verge of hysteria. “Why. Does it make you nervous?” she answered, coolly. YES, YOU MONSTER!!!! Anyway, we finally got the OK and landed and I vowed never to fly again. But ill-advisedly enough, I did.
(2) Honolulu to L.A.
Completely unexpectedly, the plane bumped and dropped a whole bunch at one point in the ride! I have no idea how far — maybe it was just a few feet — but it felt like thousands. My heart was in my mouth — no, it had traveled all the way up to my forehead. My kidney was up to my widow’s peak! Everyone on board laughed nervously and braced themselves for death, but amazingly it didn’t happen again! Still, I was as shattered as Blanche DuBois after that trolley ride.
(1) Las Vegas to New York
They warned us about “really heavy winds.” I started whimpering and shaking, wondering if I couldn’t just hail a camel or something. The flight attendant assured me that the captains were the best in the biz and she wouldn’t get on board if there was any real risk because she had two sons and had to stay around for them. I’m completely barren, but still wanted to live. And I must say the first 90 minutes or so were surreally horrible! Not the usual up-and-down bumps, but weird, existential twists and turns without any seeming logic. It felt like nature was raggedly conspiring to pull us down at every horrid moment, but we got through it and eventually landed. I couldn’t look the flight attendant in the eye as I scampered back to normalcy.