Friday, August 13, 2010

oceanic flight 2575

It's no secret.
I hate to fly.
Hate it.
I like to go places.  Just not really the getting there.
So why, oh why, did I convince myself that a crazy cheap flight was a good idea?
Maybe because even flying first class (frequent flyer miles, thank you very much mom and dad) on Delta can be traumatic.

So come with me on a little storytime adventure.

Scene:

Long Beach airport.
Small.
Outdoors.
Quirky.
I totally got a tan cruising the tarmac for 50 miles.
Not used to that.
At all.
But all is well.
Remember, our flight was $19.99 each way.
Erin and I were seated together.
In an emergency exit row.


Which is shady, because I am pretty sure that if ever a plane would go down, I don't think I would have the ability to keep it together enough to open the door and do the other assorted responsibilities.  Seriously.  Airlines put lives in the hands of people who absentmindedly agree to do complicated tasks.  When I am fairly certain that the only reason people pick emergency exit seats is for the extra legroom.  Not because they are skilled and altruistic heroes.

Our flight from Long Beach was uneventful.
I started reading For Women Only on my iPad (men are really, really, weird), while listening to my boyfriend Dave sing on the iPod.  I totally ignored Erin.  Sorry friend.  I promise you this, it is better to be ignored than to bear witness to one of my spiraling panic attacks.  An entire Quantas flight back in 2000 can attest to that very fact. 17 hours of facts.

But back to the flight...
We landed at Stockton airport.
The same Stockton airport that 100% of the people we were visiting did not even know existed.  That's weird, right?
One gate.
Free parking.
Just about the easiest de-planing ever.
I am used to flying out of LAX.
This was no LAX.
Not a Starbucks in sight.
In fact, not a thing in sight.
Mel picked us up in the midst of cornfields and cows.
It was awesome.
I am so crowded by suburbia, I always appreciate wide open spaces.  One day I hope to sleep on the hard ground, with a pillow of blue bonnets and a blanket made of stars.  Well, not really, but the Dixie Chicks sure make it sound fun.

Fast forward to the flight home.
Wow.  Just wow.

Every pilot has to have a first flight, right?
Do they take their first flight with a plane full of passengers?
I didn't used to think so.
Now I know that they do.

All was calm.
I had the window seat.  Erin the middle.  Random dude on the aisle.

I sent my husband a text that basically said:
"Boarding Sketchy Air.  If this plane crashes, know I love you.  Thanks for choosing me.  Take good care of the girls.  See you in heaven."
I am not kidding.
Because if the plane indeed did crash, I wanted him to have a moment like in the movies when the forlorn widower listens to the answering machine over and over.  Yes, I am prone to drama and melancholy.  He's used to it.

So we take off.  I nervously wait for permission to put my headphones on.  Why, oh why, do they make you wait?  Can an iPod really jack up the plane?  Because if the plane is that sensitive, I am not too comfortable flying on it.
Finally, Dave sings.  I start to relax.

But that is where it ends.
Randomly the pilot, who I will call Ed, as in Driver's Ed, accelerates.  Decelerates.  Climbs.  Dives.  Repeat.
I did not sign up to be part of an air show.  Thank you very much.
I stare at Erin.
She stares at me.
We both decide that this is the end.
Random dude next to us is trying to ignore our freaking out.

Imagine that you are a passenger in a car where the 15 1/2 year old is driving for the very first time.  But not only driving for the first time.  Driving a stick shift for the first time.  But you aren't a passenger in a car.  It is a plane.  You are in the sky.  With a 15 1/2 year old.  Driving stick.  That is pretty much how the flight felt.

I needed a distraction, so I pushed up the window shade.
Bad idea.
The giant turbine was all up in my business.  Making that "I'm about to suck somebody up, or burst into a ball of flames", noise.

Erin says "That's so Lost!"

Lost is one of the reasons that I hate to fly.
I realize that when the plane goes down we are going to be part of the Tailies.  That means when we go down, instead of being with cute Charlie, I will be with lame Ana Lucia.  Seriously, Damon and Carlton, who did you owe a favor to when you cast her?

Then I look down.  I see Catalina island.  Except I convince myself that it is actually Dharma Isle.  I am pretty sure a polar bear runs by, that is promptly devoured by the smoke monster.

The plane dives.
Gravedigger comes on the iPod.
Dave.  Bad song choice for this very minute.
I start thinking that I won't need a grave dug.  Because we are over the ocean.  Sharks will take care of my remains.  How thoughtful and cost effective.  Two phobias for the price of one.

Ten more minutes of crazy, which seem more like one hundred million.
Jerk flight attendant tells me to turn off the iPod.
Doesn't he know that this is the WE ARE ABOUT TO DIE part?  That when the plane snaps in half, I want Dave to be there with me?
But he doesn't care.  Dave gets packed up.

Random dude has gone from laughing at us to a full white knuckle mode.

We approach the runway.
WAY TOO FAST.
Crazy fast.  Like crash into the terminal fast.  Starring in an action movie fast.
Then we suddenly veer right.  Skid, skid, skid, skid, skid, stop.
That plane might need a set of new tires.
I almost needed a new pair of pants.
I have never wanted to kiss the ground more.
Will I fly them again?
Honestly, yes.
Because I like me a good deal, and I love adventures with the Hollas.
Plus, this month prices have dropped to $10.99.
Crazy.



57 comments:

  1. I think i mighta said, out loud,

    "WTF - that's so LOST!"

    You're nice to leave out that fact that I curse when I'm scared TO DEATH.

    I am not afraid to fly. Love flying. But that flight was INSANE. Glad I had you to document the maddness.

    "Tailies"
    You crack me up.
    XO

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  2. Just so you know, I have tears rolling down my face and I had to drag my husband away from the TV so he could laugh with me, Julie! You CRACK ME UP!!!! I hate to fly, too- and sharks, don't get me started. Kindred spirits are we.:) Glad you made it home safely, Sweets! Lori

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  3. haha! This made me laugh...I live about 45 mins away from Stockton. (And I grew up in Sacramento which is about 45 mins in the other direction). I've never flown out of the Stockton airport. I have only ever heard horror stories about them, and the airline that flies into/out of there. The joke around here is that there is a reason why it's cheap!

    Flying out of the San Diego airport always freaks me out since they have to climb so fast.

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  4. You're so loyal to the Hollas. A true friend, times 2575.

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  5. I love reading about your adventures - your storytelling abilities make tears of hilariousness roll down my cheeks. I can't even believe your Lost experience. I've been on a 15.5 year old driver's ed plane ride - I think I left 6 of my 10 fingernails in the armrests. And I'm with you - if my iPod is going to send the plane into a tailspin, then I'm not exactly sure how safe these things are. I wish allegiant flew to Utah. That would be awesomespice. Then I could see my mama more often.

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  6. I laughed so hard reading this. From Dixie Chicks (which I love) to LOST (which I love too) it was an epic account of your journey. Thanks for sharing! Glad you survived.

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  7. Felt like I was on your plane ride reading this post! Glad you made it safely :) !

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  8. I. am. cracking. up.

    So first, let me thank you for coming back into my life. My husband and i recently moved to Africa and I cleared out almost everyone except personal friends from my blog list due to crappy internet and lack of time. But there were a few that I just going back to... and your's was one. So, welcome back to my blog list... sorry for deleting you in the first place. It wasn't personal. ;)

    Aaaaand, about this post- I'm still laughing... from your text, to the dixie chicks, to LOST! As I mentioned, we just moved to Africa- that's FOUR plane rides. (Aaaand, we watched Lost from season 1 to the end this spring/summer... smart? maybe not.) I could pick someone out on every flight that looked like a lost character... not ok.

    This is long enough. By far, the best thing I've read today!

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  9. my hands and feet are sweating just reading this post. I HATE to fly too!
    I have to say..better you than me :)

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  10. That was seriously so funny. I know...not funny to you but you did a great job painting the picture of the moment!
    I have a real reverence for the blessing of flying but it also terrifies me. I hate it when the engine is "all up in my business"!
    I'm going on a big flight in a few weeks and I'm already panicking!

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  11. I fly allegiant all the time from South Dakota. Their prices are so cheap. I've never had a problem with them. Taking a little vaca to LA next month only because we can fly there round trip for $60. Thank.you.Allegiant! :) Glad ur home safe and sound.

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  12. you crack me up!!!! i'm ok with flying, but i think i would have been a mess too! glad you made it home safe and sound :) also, i LOVE LOST.

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  13. OH MY...I don't know that I could fly after that. I'm like you, I hate, hate flying...but I like to go places so I do it from time to time. I was on a plane once with a new pilot and it freaked me out, but it was smooth, not all Lost-like like your flight. So glad your friend was there with you (and yes, bad choice at the time Dave) and that you're home safely, not with the black smoke :)

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  14. Omg I have tears in my eyes from laughing. I can just picture you leaving that message for Jason. I mean, I'm sorry for your trauma, but it makes for such a great blog post. :)

    I still can't believe there is an airport in Stockton.

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  15. Shut. Up.
    Now I for sure know we are long lost sisters.
    Dave, panic attacks and possibly seeing a polar bear being devoured by the smoke monster?
    You. Are. My. Twin.
    So glad you made it back safe and sound.

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  16. oh.....i am really excited for my flight next month.

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  17. this is possibly my favorite post of yours ever. ever.

    fear, excitement, great adjectives, LOST, Dave. it had everything.

    i loved it so much, i read it aloud to my husband, which he normally loathes, but even he was laughing aloud.

    fantastic!

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  18. this post just officially talked me out of flying down to visit you guys next month....

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  19. JULIE, you were in Stockton as in Northern CA Stockton? About an hr from Sacramento Stockton?? If so wish I would have known, I live about 10 minutes from Stockton {if it's the same Stockton} but really how many Stockton's can there be??

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  20. Oh my word! I hate flying too and had a similar "adventure" when I flew into Colorado Springs. In a snowstorm. But instead of crashing into the ocean, I swore we were going to crash into the mountains. Not so much "Lost" as "Alive." :D Glad you made it safely!

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  21. Did you know that you are such a good writer. I was captivated the whole time and my children kept wanting my attention, but I just HAD to know what happened in the end. I guess I should know you are alive because well, you wrote this. Good thing you survived. I have to say I do like Long Beach airport though. I like that it is small. I was pretty shocked the first time we deboarded off a staircase though. Thanks for the laugh....although I know I would not have been laughing if I was on the airplane with you.

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  22. I'm so glad you guys are alive!! When I got home I told Tony we were literally driving through cornfields and cows, and then suddenly a teeny airport appears. His response "that just can't be right."

    So glad you guys are alive! Thank you for visiting the Nor Cal hollas, even if you had to fly sketchy air!

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  23. WE got one of those flights to disney and they did a 50/50 raffle on board. No joke. And we all had tickets in our hands trying to score some free allegiant air gear. or the cash. i think most were in the cash. But similar landing story. Terrible.

    But too cheep to do anything else...

    sooooo funny!

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  24. WE got one of those flights to disney and they did a 50/50 raffle on board. No joke. And we all had tickets in our hands trying to score some free allegiant air gear. or the cash. i think most were in the cash. But similar landing story. Terrible.

    But too cheep to do anything else...

    sooooo funny!

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  25. i don't like to fly and now it's likely i won't ever again. i will forever imagine every pilot as a 15 and 1/2 year old driving stick.

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  26. i'm dying laughing! did you see jack on the plane anywhere? i am so with you on the flying thing...even a xanax doesn't do me a lick of good. super jealous of how crazy cheap it was though.

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  27. You write so well! I felt like I was there with you. Last year was my first time to fly. The flight from Kansas City to Atlanta not to bad, the lady next to me found out I was a newbie...announced it to the ENTIRE plane and then gave me tips...one of the them being.."if we crash, don't worry you probably won't feel it." YIKES!?? The connecting flight from Atlanta to Willmington, NC oh my! My arm span was the width of the plane. We hit some bad turbulence and I was for sure we were going to die. Not sure what I like most the long drives or short flights!! :) Glad you made it safely! Nicole

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  28. I am so sorry you had such a terrible flight and I'm glad you made it home safely....but I have to say that reading your post was HILARIOUS!! Your posts always make me smile and usualy laugh obnoxiously out loud!

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  29. Oh man... what a crack up!!! Loved this post :) Loved Erin's comment at the way top ha!

    My favorite part of this replay was where you said..

    "That plane might need a set of new tires.
    I almost needed a new pair of pants."

    HA! Thanks for a good laugh this evening :)

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  30. If you fly with them again, and land on Dharma Isle, can you tell Hurley that my husband REALLY wants to meet him!? lol

    Glad you made it safe and sound!

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  31. I am laughing so hard! I completely relate! i have to travel for work and it kills me :) I feel so sorry for the people next to me. :)

    So glad you had a great time!

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  32. okay - honestly - this "airline theater" post made me nervous, made me laugh, made me stop and imagine the scene... perfection.

    the plane ride? not so perfect.
    the ticket price? beyond perfect.

    ... I've only been on a plane twice in my life: once when I was an infant (so I don't remember it) - and the other time not too long ago ... let's just say that the runways in the Virgin Islands are scary. no kidding - it looked like we were landing in the water - and the runway was the width of a toothpick.

    scary stuff.

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  33. Allegiant Air is pretty random...they fly to unheard of airports but also have unheard of prices...so it's a draw I guess. Taking them to Orlando in a few months!

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  34. Well done for surviving!!! Great read

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  35. Oh, my. You have me laughing outloud... and I didn't watch Lost and don't listen to The Dixie Chicks... or Dave. But I hate to fly and if it weren't for the fact that my family lives 3000 miles away, it would be fine with me to not fly again. Just made that 3000 mile trip -- but my small airport plane from Eugene was delayed getting into San Francisco, making me miss my flight home and rebooking me on not one but TWO more flights. First one wasn't as bad as yours but we hit one of those random air pockets that makes everyone jerk their heads around and then nonchalantly pretend that it was nothing and they're not terrified and the second and much longer flight had a screaming toddler across the aisle. Not sure if I felt more sorry for the mother or for the rest of us. Anyway -- thanks for the laugh. I totally relate.

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  36. Sooo funny! (And scary too!) I love the shark part, that was so funny I woke up my little one on my lap with my laughing!

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  37. Pilot = Ed. KILLING me. Seriously. I needed a new pair of pants, too... from peeing in the ones I'm currently wearing. FUNNY post.

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  38. You have no idea how God used your humor tonight to turn my tears of sadness into tears of laughter. I think I'm going to read this post over and over tonight. You are stinkin' hilarious!!

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  39. you made me laugh so hard with this post! I had a similar flight experience when I lived in Seattle and flew to Eugene. I knew things were bad when they had to move people around and put bags in different places to "balance the plane!"

    I have to tell you too that my husband saw me reading this post and he said "where can we go for $10.99?!" I'm not so sure I'm ready for this flight adventure...but what great prices!

    patti - urbanbundle.com

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  40. I have not laughed so hard my poor sore P90X'd abs this was a great post and For women only is a great book men are weird.

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  41. Bahahahaha... LMFAO... I know it's not funny, but I just can't seem to stop lauging... Ahahahahaha!!!!

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  42. H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S, in a "I think I just pooped my pants listening to it" kind of way.

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  43. I just love the way you write.

    I loudly giggled at "all up in my business"!

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  44. This was hilarious. I was laughing with your. Or something like that.

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  45. Write a book Julie. Seriously funny.

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  46. haha I loved this. I love your whole blog actually. I stumbled across it recently and am now a new follower. I love how you write, it draws me in and keeps me reading. I also LOVE all of your gorgeous quilts. I'm currently working on my first right now and seeing your amazing work definitely inspires me. :)
    Have a good day!
    Haylee

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  47. Glad you made it home safe and sound so you could bring some joy and laughter into my morning.

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  48. One of your funniest posts ever!

    "Can an iPod really jack up the plane? Because if the plane is that sensitive, I am not too comfortable flying on it." - Totally!! What is up with that!

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  49. Yeah, I flew from South Bend, Indiana to Las Vegas a few years ago on Allegiant. They're well known around my part of the world, mainly because they're pretty much the only airline that flies out of our local airport! Cheap flights are awesome...and so is not crashing :) Luckily, our pilot on the way in and the way out had some flying experience. Glad you made it home alive!

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  50. Julie!!! Oh julie..I am laughing so hard there is NO noise coming from my person!! There are some tears too...ahhh.thanks..i needed that!! Awesome!!
    Joyfully!

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  51. Flew to South Dakota on Allegiant last week. Both ways. $49.99 each way...super awesome price. Ed was our pilot, too...super un-awesome pilot skills. HOLLA for surviving.

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  52. Oh my word. $10.99 like your cheap shoes at target. FOR SURE there is an underage (probably an 8 eat year old) flying that bad boy. And just so you know, that "airport" has evaporated into thin air. Never even existed.

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  53. The first thing i did when we had internet again after the mexico trip? Read your blog :)

    Love this post. And i'm glad you're alive!

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  54. Xanex- get it from your Dr. it is the ONLY way I fly!! I adopted my daughter from CHINA- do you know how far that is from Michigan?? Seriously, it takes the edge off! Your story made my heart race just reading it... XANEX girl, trust me!!!!!

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  55. Seriously, we are the same person. Wait, that sounds creepy on so many levels. But it's true. I could have wrote that post...but I would have gotten way more side tracked on Anna Lucia. What was WITH that chick? I think I would have had to have several martini's before the flight followed by a yummy dessert full of zoloft. But hey, less than $20 is worth it.

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  56. Just catching up on my blog reading after taking off a few weeks and WHAT, I find out you were in Stockton! Hello! I live in the "livable lovable" town just north of Stockton. Glad to see you had a nice trip! Heads up are in order next time!

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