My 9-year-old daughter made some poor woman’s first flight a Flight from Hell.
We were traveling to Orlando for our first family vacation since I married my second husband. He was a seasoned traveler; the rest of us were experiencing our first time on an airplane. My mom sat with my 6-year-old daughter, I sat with our 2-year-old (who slept from the runway to Orlando, so my job was easy), and my husband sat in front of us with my 9-year-old daughter. In front of them was a middle-aged husband and wife couple on their first flight as well. As we got off the plane at Orlando International Airport, I noticed the woman sitting in front of my daughter clutching the armrest in a death grip, while her husband was laughing his head off. My husband relayed the entire story to me once we got into the terminal.
It turns out my daughter was super excited at the prospect of air travel. She loved listening to the radio with her earbuds and picking the station she wanted, she loved the little bottle of water she got mid-flight, and she especially loved looking out the window over my husband to view the clouds and what landscape she could see below.
When the captain announced we were landing, and we were getting ready for our descent, my little girl kept announcing in a loud voice, “We’re going down! We’re going down!” I’m not sure how much of that was just joyful exuberance and how much was mischievous child, but that announcement was enough to send the poor lady in front of her into hysterics. She started asking her husband in a panicked whisper, “Are we crashing? Are we crashing?” No matter how many times her husband tried to calm her, she wasn’t having it.
My poor husband apologized profusely, got my daughter to calm it down a few notches (she also apologized when she realized what she said, but I don’t think that helped the woman’s poor nerves!), and she sat quietly as we touched down. The memory of that poor woman, white-knuckled on the armrest with her husband laughing at her misery, still sticks with me to this day.
So ma’am, if you’re out there and you happen to read this, allow me to extend my deepest apologies for my daughter causing you to go into full panic mode! If it’s any consolation, she’s grown up now and in college, and she now knows better than to announce “we’re going down!” on an airplane!