Photographer’s Phantasmagorical Flight

June 6, 2008

in Odds & Ends Stories

On July 1, 2007, I was on American Airlines flight 2200 from Seattle-Tacoma to Dallas/Fort Worth on a Boeing 757. As we boarded the flight, I looked forward to taking some good pictures. My sister and mom decided to switch with me and my dad, which would prove consequential. I objected, but all three disagreed, and the plane was packing up as it is. My window (which was assigned to my sister) had a large scratch on it, smack dab in the middle. I knew from then on that my photography efforts were going to be a nightmare. I was barely able to take any pictures at the gate, and feared the worst as airlines such as Korean Air, Air France, and other nice airlines began to arrive and depart within my view.

We backed up from the gate, only to receive an announcement that we would be delayed on the ground for 15 minutes due to storms and gate shortages from diverted planes at our destination. I had no problem with it as I understood the situation.

Then, as he said, we took off 15 minutes late. I struggled to take pictures of Mt. Rainier, but was somewhat successful. The flight attendant told us that they would play the movie “Wild Hogs” on the in-flight entertainment systems (IFES). However, for an hour and a half we watched dozens of commercials and an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” until the movie finally started. Then, 15 minutes into it, the screens went black and they folded up into the ceiling. The flight attendants made an announcement that there was a short circuit in the IFES and that they would attempt to restart it. Then it started working again and it picked up where we left off….for five minutes. Then it happened again, and they announced that they would leave it off for the rest of the flight for safety reasons. I was a little agitated over the no movie thing, but in the line of safety I knew AA was doing their job.

Also, it was an ex-TWA plane with the old less comfortable seats, and since the IFES wouldn’t work neither did the headphone jacks for the radio in the armrests. My dad loves those and was listening to his laptop, yes, laptop, for a few minutes until the guy at the end of our row started talking to him. He was this overweight guy who took up my dad’s right armrest. He just kept talking about stuff my dad wasn’t interested in, and this went on for maybe 2 hours of non-stop explaining about his own stuff and barely let my dad talk. Of course, I don’t like my dad, at that but one moment I felt sorry for the guy.

For the rest of the flight I listened to my iPod and attempted to look past the huge mark on my window. On approach I caught some beautiful photos of the storm that we passed. We were at about 20,000 feet and the storm was directly to the right of our plane in the sunset. It was very beautiful. When we passed the storm it went from beautiful – to ugly. Sudden turbulence caused me to hit my armrest, resulting in a bruise to my arm. But unlike most people, I love turbulence. Then we kept descending and, yes, the man was still talking to my dad.

At around 2000 feet, nearing our final descent, the pilot quickly made evasive maneuvers to the left and right at a slow speed which made me nervous; it felt like we were gonna stall. Then he touched it down; it was not a good or a bad landing. As soon as we taxied off the runway I thought, “Good, now I can get home at a good time and get on the computer after nearly a week without internet.”

That’s when the pilot made another announcement stating that we will be delayed on the ground at DFW for 45 minutes. I was the ONLY ONE in the cabin who didn’t sigh, as I laughed when I looked back and saw everybody’s faces. But then my eyes enlarged in happiness when he said that people are allowed to visit the cockpit until the delay is up. I got out from the row and just kept walking down the aisle, trying to resist smiling for the cheesiness of it. I’m a BIG aviation guy, so I pretty much know everything there is to commercial air travel.

I waited in line behind a couple of screaming preppy teenage girls who just wouldn’t shut up. After about 3 minutes I entered the cockpit; the pilot was amazed at how much I knew about everything on the flight deck.

Then I went back to my seat and waited to move. We then started to taxi and sat by a gate which was occupied. The captain said there was another 20 minute delay in which the entire cabin did a repeat of their complaining. After 30 minutes the plane at the gate didn’t hadn’t moved. The pilot finally came on the intercom telling us that the plane we were waiting on had a mechanical problem. And the cabin did you-know-what once again.

Then, 15 minutes later, he came on the intercom telling us that we finally had a gate opportunity. We taxied near the gate and waited for 5 minutes as an American 777 started to depart for London Gatwick. We got into the gate but when we parked, for some reason, we didn’t get off until 10 or 15 minutes later. I could finally stretch my legs when we deplaned, but the thought came into my head when I passed passengers in the terminal – they have been there all that time waiting for their flight to Baltimore-Washington to arrive.

A few months later I got an email from AA providing an apology for the inconvenience. I forgave them, but I’m not sure if my father ever did…

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel July 15, 2008 at 5:55 am

It cant have been an American Airlines 777 headed to London Gatwick as they moved all operations to Heathrow in April, and im not sure if they operate the 777 to Gatwick anyway, i work at Gatwick ya see.

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John July 15, 2008 at 9:11 am

Are you retarded? all your issues were so minor yet you make them out to be so major. It's 5 hours at most out of your life, can't you just sit there and shut up? Window smudges, bruised arms and your stupid need to take boring photos…you are one high maintenance complainer.

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GenXer July 15, 2008 at 10:18 am

This was one of the most boring stories on here. Your whole story just sounds like a typical flight! Plus you sound like a smug, self-absorbed individual. I feel for your dad.

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elhombre July 15, 2008 at 10:39 am

I'd go easy on the poster, they way I read it he is about 13 years old .. maybe a bit younger.

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doug July 15, 2008 at 11:04 am

wow… You better be a bit younger than 13 dude because that was so bad that it is funny. Sure we all wasted 5 minutes waiting for something to read about but it never happened. You may want to consider getting a life…

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Jay July 15, 2008 at 11:17 am

I find it ironic that Iron Hogs was more interesting than this story.

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brahms lee July 15, 2008 at 3:37 pm

BORING story. how is this a flight from hell? Try bouncing on the runway a few times, then to lift back off and have the masks come down on you. Course the door couldn't close after that. No air pressure. your story is a boring typcial flight.

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RED July 15, 2008 at 4:11 pm

I DONT KNOW WHAT AIRLINE YOU WERE ON BUT NO ONE ALLOWS IN PASSENGERS IN THE COCKPIT. WHOLE STORY WAS BULL

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Anne July 16, 2008 at 8:29 am

You are the most high maintenence, boring, whiny passenger ever. For goodness sake, shut up..

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Scott July 17, 2008 at 10:49 am

the only thing i am HOPING for is that you made that entire thing up, trying to mock other peoples stories.

even then, it sucked.

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Anonymous August 16, 2008 at 8:12 pm

LOL Ritalin at it's finest!

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Julie October 30, 2008 at 8:50 am

Anyone count how many times this kid wrote the words "I" "my or "me"???

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mike r December 14, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Well, I got beaten to the punch again by prior posts, but…..this is a kid posting his story, so cut him a break. And, kid……..be sure to take your Ritalin as prescribed.

Mike R.

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Ryan February 9, 2009 at 9:17 pm

This story is bullshit. They wouldn't have allowed cockpit visits after the 1996 TWA crash over Long Island and certainly not post 9-11. Add that to what the first reviewer wrote and this story smells fishy.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 6:35 am

ok…they let my 3 year old brother in the cockpit just pre-9/11, so this is POSSIBLE, but not likely.

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Doug Terry April 2, 2009 at 8:54 am

Is this a put-on, put down? Satire?

Let's see: scratched window, bumpy ride, couple of delays at the arrival gate. Sounds like a walk in the park.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 9:21 am

This actually sounds like a pretty nice flight.

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Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 9:39 am

Uh yeah, you suck dude. STFU.

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juan stumofu April 2, 2009 at 10:52 am

i want my 5 minutes back that i just wasted reading the dumbest "flight from hell" ever. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH

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Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 11:22 am

Great story! Awesome.

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Steve April 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Definitely written by one of our finest astronauts. Full of excellent prioritizaton and relevance.

Pity about the scratch – spoilt the experience of a lifetime. Never mind tell it like it was my hero!

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mike April 2, 2009 at 12:10 pm

this is the most boring story. fly in or out of any NYC airport and this is an everyday flight, not a flight from hell.

please remove this story from your webpage.

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Yes April 2, 2009 at 12:22 pm

clearly you don't like your father because he doesn't approve of you taking pictures and putting penis in your mouth on the regular

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Pygmalion April 2, 2009 at 1:31 pm

While this story went nowhere and just sucked- I am responding to a previous comment. This comment:

"clearly you don't like your father because he doesn't approve of you taking pictures and putting penis in your mouth on the regular"

What the fuckdiddley doo is that about?

The story was worth the retina strain just to read "putting penis in your mouth on the regular".

Sigh. Good times.

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Mimi April 2, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Not only are you an immature a-hole, you are a liar.

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federico April 2, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Egads, that was a horrid story. Can I have my time reading it back?

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fjackie April 2, 2009 at 6:05 pm

This kid doesn't get many dates, I imagine.

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jag April 2, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Thank God for the comment from YES or I probably would have put the gun in my mouth. And I didn't (couldn't) read the diahrea that spewed from the kids' mouth. A stratched window? Take the fucking kid to Disney World Dad.

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Buttons April 3, 2009 at 12:30 am

Inbound flights are routinely delayed on the tarmac at DFW; Every time I've flown into DFW, I sat on that tarmac waiting for a gate on an American Airlines flight for at least 30-90 minutes.

Once I actually sat on the tarmac for over 2 hrs waiting for a gate to open up. It's an extremely busy International airport. A 30 min delay on the ground is nothing. A crack in the window is nothing. A malfunctioning IFES is nothing (yes, we all noticed what you consider to be your wide knowledge of the subject), A jib jabbering seat mate who won't shut up is annoying, but that's the chance we all take when we fly coach; tell your dad to buy headphones for his laptop and be happy.

And I highly doubt the pilot was "impressed" with all of your aviation knowledge. He's a frickin PILOT working for an Inernational AIRLINE. I GUARANTEE you he knows more about the aircraft than you do, sport.

And I would guess too that the OP is around 13 from the content of his story, but suspect from his vocabulary than he's closer to adulthood. Just spoiled and not a frequent traveler.

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kevin April 3, 2009 at 1:42 am

HEY BUTTONS! POST YOUR OWN FUCKING STORY! This one has already exceeded maximum bullshit.

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Sarah April 3, 2009 at 2:23 am

this was the worst story ever. epic waste of time.

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MJ April 3, 2009 at 5:38 am

"Of course, I don't like my dad, at that but one moment I felt sorry for the guy."

*snort*

Teenage angst much?

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Chris April 3, 2009 at 7:10 am

To steal a line from Superbad:

"OMG that was the coolest f*cking story I've ever heard! Can I hear it again? Do you have time?"

Having said that I love How I Met Your Mother

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Melissa April 3, 2009 at 7:56 am

Either this is a kid, or some lame wannabe pilot who is too afraid to actually learn to fly. "I'm a BIG aviation guy, so I pretty much know everything there is to commercial air travel." "the pilot was amazed at how much I knew about everything on the flight deck."

Yup, you're a nerd. No true pilot brags like this about how well they know the plane. Let me guess, you think your Microsoft Flight Sim hours count towards actual flight hours?

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Beavis Comeavis April 3, 2009 at 10:37 am

The only thing I think you should have preceded your story with is:

"I got an interesting story to tell. Well it's not so much interesting as it is long."

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last boyscout April 3, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Nice to hear you accepted their apology. The only piece of the story I actually read, you boring little shit. However,you did garner some of the funnier comments,at the expense of totally getting trashed. Keep up the good work.

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The kid April 5, 2009 at 7:25 am

What a fucking idiot. You honestly believe the airline should be apologizing to you because you couldn't take better pictures? Oh, and the chances of you going into the cockpit of a plane in the post 9/11 era are zero!

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GetReal April 5, 2009 at 10:21 am

That'll teach you not to leave your parent's basement again.

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AL April 5, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Number one, this is supposed to be about flights from hell, not pleasant flights with inconsequential annoyances.

Number two, the pilot was not impressed at all, he was just being polite.

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Buttons April 7, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Hey Kevin – I suspect you're the original poster on this. Your intelligent response is telling. Max BS is right!!

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Hobbit May 25, 2009 at 4:31 pm

And you're bitching why?

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