April 29, 2009

I Wou'd Rather Be Dumped Than Fly on an Airplane (This one's a long one...)

It was 1992. I thought I was in love. I wasn’t. His name was Chad, he played football and he was spending the summer back home in Missouri. After a few months Chad thought I should fly out, spend some time with him and finally meet his family.

The following is the true account of the events that went down on my four-leg trip from hell to Missouri where I spent a week with someone who would eventually break up with me in a Taco Bell parking lot my Junior year in college.

First Leg: Salt Lake City, UT to Cedar City, UT
Air Time: 55 minutes
In Salt Lake City, I boarded a small plane that had the capacity to hold up to 30 passengers. When I landed in Cedar City, 55 minutes later, the plane picked up 2 people. This made for a grand total of 3 paid passengers on board the plane.

That’s right. For almost an hour, I was the only person on the plane besides the pilot, who sported denim shorts and a “Fear This” t-shirt and his two leathery companion women who claimed to be "the help". I believed they were truck-stop waitresses. As you can imagine, it was awesome.

The flight crew, or “threesome” spent the majority of the flight in the front of the plane cackling and carrying on. About 20 minutes in, Truck Stop Waitress 1 hollered back to me and informed me that there would be no beverage service and she would hook me up with a soda once we landed.

As the time went on, the “party plane” more rowdy. Around the 40-minute mark, I was almost positive I was the fourth-wheel in some sort of mile-high caligula.

Second Leg: Cedar City, UT to St. George, UT
Air Time: 10 minutes
A 10-minute flight. Truck Stop Waitress 1 forgot my soda. I’m pretty sure the turbulence we experienced on the flight had something to do with the pilot and Truck Stop Waitress 2 disappearing into the cockpit for the entire flight.

Third Leg: St. George, UT to Las Vegas, NV
Air Time: Felt like forever
Before the plane left St. George, me and the other two passengers were escorted off the plane and made to wait in an airport the size of a Chili’s Restaurant. We then switched planes, to a larger bird that held 75 people. When boarded the plane, I noticed a rather large, sweaty man sitting in my seat. I remembered seeing him in the Chili’s/Airport because he was the guy leaning against a wall, shouting, “Does anyone have any aspirin!” Also? He was violently emptying his lunch into a wastebasket.

As luck would have it, the new flight crew ushered me to the seat next to Sweaty Guy. After take-off, Sweaty introduced himself by pointing to my courtesy “barf bag” and grunting. I took this as the universal sign that he was about to blow chunks AGAIN and immediately thrust it at him.

That hour-long flight will probably go down as the most uncomfortable and nasty hour I’ve spent in the air. Let me break it down for you.

I spent the first ten minutes of the flight watching a grapefruit-sized stain grow on my linen pants. I tried so hard to believe the wetness was some bizarre airplane condensation, or prayed to God that I had started my period and through some unexplained medical marvel, it was appearing on the top of my thigh. But I knew better. It was arm sweat from sweaty. ON MY LEG.

I was seated in an aisle seat, thank heavens for small miracles, and every time the flight attendant passed me, she gave me gun fingers, winked and exclaimed, “Love that hair!” Pretty soon she recruited a second flight attendant and three passengers into taking turns touching my hair. One of them, a nice, but slightly crazy woman, ran her fingers through it like a comb for more than ten minutes. I would have demanded she stop, but she kept telling me I that looked exactly like her dead niece.

Now, for those of you that don’t already know this, I have curly hair. One of the fundamental rules of having a sound head of curls is DO NOT TOUCH the ringlets unless you absolutely have to because they will lose all structure and before you know it, you’ve got yourself a hair-tastrophy of Diana Ross proportions.

Normally, having a total stranger pet my hair and call me “Claire” (name of deceased niece) would be out of my realm of comfort. But faced with my other options, Sweaty Guy – still throwing up and moaning loudly, or Flight Attendant – standing in our row asking Sweaty Guy to keep it down because the pilot has become distracted by the noise...well, I’ll hang with crazy any day.

Fourth & Final Leg: Las Vegas, NV to Kansas City, MO
Air Time: At this point, who’s counting?
As I board, yet another plane, I can see by the looks on the flight crew’s faces that I am a sight. I’m covered in vomit splatter, my linen pants are soaked where Sweaty’s arm rested on my leg and one side of my hair is now entirely frizzed out like a prize poodle.

This leg of my trip was fairly uneventful unless you take into account that my luggage was shipped to Hawaii instead of Missouri, I DID, in fact, start my period during take-off and Chad, my boyfriend, forgot to pick me up at the airport. When my taxi arrived at his house, all he said to me was, “What happened to you?”

We broke up three weeks later. At Taco Bell.

Check out Jen over at Sprite's Keeper. She posted about her fear of flying today too!!

51 comments:

Cameron said...

That. Is. Awesome.

And....first?

Cameron said...

Hell......

......to the......

......Yeah!!!

Thanks for the in-flight scare, steenky, three days before I fly the hell out of here.

My flight out east was uneventful, I actually got an empty seat next to me up to Detroit, booooyyyahh!! But then from Detroit to Baltimore, I was the creamy filling in a large lady sandwich. It's not easy trying to sit stiff as a board for 1.5 hours while the ladies around me and trying to keep their 'jiggle' on their side of the row (and failing).

Kat said...

That has got to be the worst flight ever. Oh my goodness I would have ripped crazy's fingers off. Don't touch the curly hair dude, seriously.

Wicked Step Mom said...

A Taco Bell parking lot? That is seriously awesome... Well, okay it is not awesome, but I would have broken up with him half way through the flight of hell.

Sprite's Keeper said...

And my fear stems from a backpack falling on a passenger's head? I need to reassess my priorities.
Chicago? Yes?

robin said...

Oh my gawd. Small planes are just the WORST, mind you adding sweaty barfy guys and strangers who touch your hair. Just. Plain. Awful. (The barfing alone would have done me in...) You're a trooper, for sure.
Aaaaaand a moment to make a total shameless plug: I am having a fab giveaway! Stop on by to enter. :)

Dana's Brain said...

I really want to read this but I'm eating my breakfast and just got to the part about the sweaty fat guy. So, I gotta come back later...

Lorren said...

I've never commented before, but I must comment on this one! The guy throwing up would have put me over the edge. I would have bargained with the flight attendant that they could braid my hair all they wanted if they would just move me to another seat. You are so funny!

Sammanthia said...

This is why I don't fly. Almost the *exact* same thing happened to me once.;)

kel said...

I have never flown... and now,I never will. thank you. lol.

Keely said...

I've had several traumatic small-plane experiences, but, uh, that totally tops all of them. I would never want to fly again, either.

HeatherPride said...

Chad sounds like a total winner. And yeah, what's up with people wanting to touch the curly? No can do, people. No. Can. Do.

Jenni said...

arm sweat on your leg?! that's the most hilarious thing I've ever heard.

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Yikes and then some!!!

Commercial flight is a, um, challenge under normal circumstances, but I would hardly call your experience "normal".

P.S. Guys that dump you in Taco Bell are totally tipping their hand as to what kind of husband and father they would be. No doubt he is torturing some poor girl with demands like "woman, make me a baloney sandwich" and "where's my chaw?" Good riddance.

Bex said...

what airline did you fly? that is insane! i thought my worst flight story was bad but yours is - scary.

jen said...

ohmygod. seriously awful. awful. ugh. all of it.
so ... i'm thinking you don't want to fly with me to hawaii to pick up your luggage?? (and the fact that your luggage went there? obviously both states end in an "i" ... simple mistake.)

Jess said...

I don't even know where to being...so I will just tell you that I laughed at your misfortune all the way through! :)

Pamela said...

Wow. I don't even know where to begin with this one.

for a different kind of girl said...

This? This makes me want to share a Taco Bell gordita with you and declare my love for the whole world to hear. Heck, I'll even spring for a couple quesadillas, too, and then I would chuckle under my breath because my Mom pronounces 'quesadilla' just like the grandma in 'Napoleon Bonaparte' and she actually thinks it's pronounced that way, but I promise you, I will not let my mother issues darken our already torrid love.

Sassypants Wifey said...

Dang, that is insane. I think that would possibly have scared me from flying. Now that I have 2 kids and the airlines are so "friendly" to kids, that is enough for me not to fly until absolutely necessary. Though once I did have a middle seat between two foreign fellas. I was flying from MN to Iceland. Neither one spoke english, and one proceeded to eat a ton of lobster. (Icelandic Air serves some pretty awesome food, for future reference)Also when I stood up, meaning I needed the potty, he just looked at me like i was about to jack the plane. I had to get the flight attendant to ask him if he could get up. Upon my return to my seat, the flight attendant asked if I wanted my own row... WTH? Where were you about 4 hours ago. There were totally open rows in the plane, yet there I was smashed in some kind of european sandwich. All ended well though.

Dude, i think it should be mandatory if your stuff gets shipped to Hawaii that you get a free vaca to retrieve it. Am I wrong?

Captain Dumbass said...

I don't know, I got nothing. I'm going to go get my hair cut and come back.

Ali said...

!!!! and !

Rebekah said...

Horrible horrible horrible! This is why air tickets should come with a complementary - mandatory - Xanax.

Peggy said...

You should have gently massaged the hair lady's hand and repeated (british accent)Auntie, it's me, Claire, I've come for you auntie...Come play with me auntie, forever and ever and ever.

Ah, hindsight.

Dr Zibbs said...

You broke up at Taco Bell?

There goes the ending of my romance/thriller/horror/feel good movie I've been working on.

DeeMarie said...

Ok. Well, I can safely say I now understand why you hate to fly so much. I'm thankful you're pushing through the fear in July, though!!!!

Dingo said...

Oh no they din't! They did not run their fingers through your curly hair! You should've used your magic powers to make their fingers curl up like the Wicked Witch's fingers in The Wizard of Oz when she tries to take the Ruby Red slippers. Then again, if you had magic powers, I'm sure you wouldn't be sitting next to Sweaty Vomiting Guy.

I think I see the problem with this scenario. You need magic powers.

Melanie D said...

that is so sad, gross and scary, totally with you on the hair thing!! must send a picture.

FoN said...

That was the funniest thing ever. I'm walking into a meeting in five minutes and people are going to be curious as to why I'm crying. I would tell them about Taco Bell boyfriend, sweaty, crazy and gun fingers, but I think it would get lost in translation.

Miss Grace said...

Oh. My. God.

Sherendipity said...

Too bad, that Chad sounds like a real keeper!

blissfully caffeinated said...

I hate flying. Seriously. I need Xanax just to drive over a tall bridge, if I want to get on a plane I have to ask someone to shoot me with a thorazine dart first. So your flight? To Missouri? Would have killed me. And women should know to never touch another woman's hair. It's like the golden rule of womanhood.

The Flying Pinto said...

Sounds like a crazy airline: )

Lizgizzy said...

I wish I could commiserate but I can't...I love to fly. Even after a flight over the Cascades that had such strong turbulance, that the flight attendants served champagne to everyone including me...I was 12. Maybe that's why I love to fly. But still, someone else's sweat, that is just over- the top gross.

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

This is why I don't fly. At all. Ever.

*shudder* I just thought of Mr. Sweaty again. Oooooh....and that was not a good ....ooooh it was one of those accompanied by a *shudder*

Super Mega Dad said...

This makes all of my flying nightmares seem not so bad now. I feel much better now. Thank you! ;)

Zip n Tizzy said...

Horrible flight.
So glad I got to read about it!
I have a friend who has really beautiful hair. People are constantly touching it. My favorite line she gave when someone asked if they could touch it was, "Sure! Can I touch your breasts?"

Chris Wood said...

A classy and romantic guy, that Chad ...

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

All I can say is EW. That is my worse flying nightmare, for real. I am always so paranoid I am going to end up next to someone really weird, someone that touches me or that is vomiting. *shudder.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

I've had some rotten flying experiences in the past, but you are the QUEEN and totally take the crown... Sweaty armed barfing guy and crazy ladies frizzin' up your hair and you didn't lose it? I am so humbled in your presence... You ROCK! ;)

Casey said...

I'm flying twice this weekend and I really hope that someone hurls and possibly has the stupid pig flu. Oink.

Becky said...

Of all of that gruesomeness, I am the most not okay with them molesting your hair like that. Bad touch!

But a close second is Chad forgetting to pick you up at the airport. Jackass.

Sass said...

I'm covering my ears and rocking right now...and chanting "Make the bad man stop, make the bad man stop, make the bad man stop."

Thanks for that.

JuleeSLC said...

One of my favorite posts. Ever. Except for the ones where my name is mentioned.

Must share my Greyhound bus experience with you some time. Over Mexican food. Or over a Mexican.

Mrsbear said...

Jeezus! If he would've just broken up with you three weeks earlier, you could have avoided the emotional scars of a close quarter plane trip. What a nightmare? And he had to go and ruin Taco Bell for you...Jerk.

April said...

omg, you poor woman. ...poor poor woman. i think i would've walked back.

Scary Mommy said...

I am terrified of flying. TERRIFIED. This totally didn't help!!!!

apathy lounge said...

See...if you take a Beta blocker the size of a horse tranquilizer, you'll never notice the sweaty puking guy or the people touching your hair. Just one more story to prove why I hate flying.

shopgirl said...

Seriously girl? YOU ARE EFFING Hilarious!!!! When is your book coming out b/c I think it would be non stop laugh fest from page one!!
Thanks for the giggle!

GreenJello said...

I got to ride on a plane that had capacity for like 12 people. One seat on each side of the plane, with an aisle so little you had to sashay sideways down the teensy corridor to get to your seat. And then you spent the whole flight with your head sideways because the ceiling curved around your head starting just above shoulder level.

Fun times.

jerlyn said...

Just think you must be a much stronger person after surviving
such a trip.
ps since there were only 3 of u
on the flight, why didn't you
just move? Course that would have wrecked a great story.