I have been in and out of airplanes for I don't know how many times. So I can say, I am an experienced traveller. However, my trip back from China was the closest I have felt to being on the news. (if you know what I mean)
Maybe I have been watching too much AIR CRASH INVESTIGATION for my own good. But, by golly, that flight really gave me jitters.
The weather was cloudy as we checked in at hangzhou airport that morning. We were relaxed and looking forward to going back home after 5 days of working. We boarded the flight on time and eased into our seats. Things got rough halfway into the flight when the pilot, in a distressed voice (well, that's how it sounded to me) suddenly announced over the PA system...
"We are going to experience sever weather conditions, everyone ...pls FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS... I REPEAT, PLS FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS!! Cabin crew, secure the cabin"
I could hear the whirling of the engines to my right as it struggled to push through the wind. The plane shook and rattled the overhead bins so hard I could hear the screws jiggling above. Due to the number of people who booked early, I was seated two rows away from my husband (either being seated apart or being seated in the last row.. I chose the former). The planed dipped three feet and I gripped the armrests and closed my eyes. I wished I was beside my husband and could grip his hand instead. I dare not look at the other passengers for fear they might reflect the same anxiety I was experiencing.
"Whir.....whir...... glug...glug...." the plane went as it successively tore through the air and shook. The airconditioning went into overtime and I wrapped my scarf closer to me. (a jacket would have been helpful at this point)
Outside, the dark clouds were punctuated by flashes of lighting as the wind whipped the side of the plane. There was a tropical thunderstorm in Hongkong and we were landing right in the middle of it.
Each flash of lightning was like me seeing my life flash before my eyes. I kept thinking how they can find my remains when they scour the sea after we crash. (GULP) I also kept thinking how my readers (you) would never know what happened to me.
"We are preparing for landing and Hk airport has asked us to maintain position for about 10 minutes. We are STILL under sever weather and we advise you to keep your seatbelts on." The pilot said after a few minutes. I was still not assured though as the plane kept going up and down, side to side.
Thankfully, we landed in HK... I actually did not notice the landing because my eyes were closed most of the rest of the flight. I was truly so dizzy I was afraid I would puke for the first time in years on an airplane. I guess the storm was so severe, our connecting flight was delayed for three hours (I could hear the thunder ringing though out the modern, glass and metal clad airport). I'd rather be delayed than in an airplane under a tropical cyclone is all I could say....
We finally boarded our flight home three hours later.. and got back in one piece, but as luck would have it, our luggage was left behind in hk. AAAHH..... the joys of flying!!!