A Story: Toxic Flight
Way back in 1802 when I worked at the bank, one of our department’s responsibilities was to be fully involved with mergers and acquisitions.
And so it was.
A co-worker and myself were assigned several responsibilities in preparation for some branch closings. It required us to fly to DC on one of those commuter planes…the ones that hold about 20-30 passengers.
Now back then I hadn’t yet discovered my “magic wristbands” which alleviate air sickness, so needless to say I was nervous about the flight…really nervous.
We arrived at the airport and as our flight number was announced by the desk, I couldn’t help but notice the plane (which really resembled a big cigar!) sitting off in the distance. Yep, we had to walk across the part of the concourse and climb a set of those portable stairs. Carrying our suitcase in one hand and briefcase in the other, we made our way to the staircase. Climbing the stairs was the easy part. It was the instructions we received once we entered the plane that made my nerves really kick in! The stewardess was balancing the plane by strategically placing people!
For whatever reason, she assigned me to a single seat on the left side of the plane which, when I sat made my knees come halfway up to my chin. I’m 5’ 7” and all legs so it was not comfy. Yet, after inquiring was told I could not be relocated. Gazing out the window I saw the small engine on the wing. For some reason that always comforts me.…seeing the wing. Meanwhile, my co-worker was at least six seats ahead of me in a single seat close to the cockpit on the left side of the plane.
A large man carrying a newspaper boarded and was placed towards the front of the plane on the right side. He, too, sat alone. In fact, nearly everyone was by them-self. Perhaps commuters are anti-social!
Anyway, an announcement was made to fasten our seat belts. No need to tell me, because mine was fastened as soon as I sat down! Taking in deep breaths to help me relax I gazed out the window at the activity below and as the staircase was removed and rolled toward the building, the engines started.
Just NOT the one on my side!
Raising my hand as if I were in grade school, I called the stewardess over, alerting her to the malfunctioning engine. Her response was a quick, “Oh, don’t worry, it will. It just takes a while for it to rotate.” Was I feeling safe? No, not really! However, I was a banker not an aeronautical engineer. I accepted what she said and after a few moments, the propeller began to spin.
I was really doing quite well, looking around at the other passengers and thumbing through my notes of “Things To Do” when suddenly the breath I drew in through my nose reeked havoc with my senses!. Drawing in yet another breath, the smell was stronger. Someone was farting…passing gas…fluctuant…call it what you will..but it was so disgusting that it made my stomach begin to churn! Then I figured it out...I think.
The man with the newspaper was waving it in front of him like a fan! I think he was the culprit, wafting that paper to and from circulating the air around him while we, behind him, suffered!
Meanwhile I’d begun to breath through my mouth and exhale through my nose because I’d begun to dry heave from the stench. The only thing that saved me was that we were landing. As soon as the door opened, I was at it nearly running down the staircase. Turning toward me, my co-worker said, “You look green. I’ll get your bag. Go find a bathroom.”
Our return flight was much better. All the engines worked. No one had any hot air to expel AND prior to the flight, I found my “magic wristbands.” I’ve flown ever since without a problem…gas or no gas!