Youngster’s Flight From Hell

October 1, 2010

in Baby & Kid Stories

This was not what I would consider a “flight from hell” for me, just a memory I can shake off and even laugh about now. But for my 10 year old seat mate, I’m sure it was a flight from hell.

This was back in June 2002 on a trip back to my home in NYC to visit family while I was in college in AZ. My flight from PHX to JFK on Delta cost $54 each way. I kid you not. It was the 9 month anniversary of 9/11, back when superstitions were still believed with the numbers.

The plane was a 767 which surprised me. Usually 757s do that route from PHX. In any case, the flight was packed probably due to the killer rates of the flight. I had a window seat in a seat arrangement of 2-3-2. I sit down, all is well. Then I see a couple in their late 30’s or early 40’s coming towards me with their young 10 year old son. They drop him off in the seat next to me and then wiggle up to 4 rows ahead of me. Not saying a word. The kid looks scared %^&*less. I make small talk to comfort him. He tells me he is scared to fly, never flown and really scared. I try to tell him how “cool” flying is to ease his mind.

We take off, he is fine, even excited. In the air an hour and he starts crying. Not just a few tears but sobs. I go 4 rows ahead to alert his parents asking if they wanted to switch with me to be with him. They say “he’ll be OK.” I walk away stunned. Ummmm…. OK. I’m not the parent! Your kid is crying. I’m a 19 year old college girl taking care of your kid and I’m not a babysitter! WTF? I go back, offer my Walkman (yes Walkmans were still sorta cool then). He relaxes, eats, talks with me about how excited he is to see Times Square, etc.

This is where it gets bad. Over Upstate NY we start to do just constant turns due to Boston Center Air Route Traffic Control backing up traffic. This lasts 30 min. The 10 year old was slightly green. OK, the pilot comes on, they are cleared to enter that airspace. Cool. Closing in near JFK, I notice out the window it is the north shore of LI we are going over, not the regular route. Yes, we are circling JFK due to congestion and thunderstorms. Fine, no biggie but the 10 year old was turning greener. Storms hit. Bumpiest ride I have felt to this day. The terror on this kid’s face made me so sad. He turned yet greener. Thar he blows! I was lucky enough to see the “I have 10 seconds to get that barf bag out or get barfed on look.” I hold it for him.

Finally we land. God bless. Clean him up a bit and walk him off the plane to meet his parents. Did they look me in the eye? NO. Was there a thank you? NO. This boy must be 19 now. I hope he moved FAR, FAR away from his inept parents!

– Karrie

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Clare October 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Poor kid. 🙁


Morgan October 1, 2010 at 9:39 pm

What sorry parents. You should have emptied that barf bag in their laps.


Shelly October 2, 2010 at 6:12 pm

I think I would have notified the FA after they abandoned this poor kid. Maybe the FA could at least shamed them into behaving like proper parents (and yes I am a parent, I have 4 and would never sit apart from them). Stupid parents give the rest of us a bad name with the flying public!


D-Money October 6, 2010 at 9:20 am

Next time you're at an amusement park take a look at the kids. They're afraid of a roller coaster, they puke after riding it, only to get back in line for another go. 😛


Laura October 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Poor kid. Kudos to you for helping him. Being little and sick on a plane is really awful but having someone watching over you makes it less awful.


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