Teen’s Air Travel Tribulations

February 27, 2014

in Odds & Ends Stories

When I was in high school, we went on a Caribbean cruise for Christmas. The airline the cruise line made us use was TWA. This was right after the TWA crash over France, so flying that airline scared the life out of me. Nothing happened on the way over other than the plane being really old.

The cruise went as planned as did our three days in Disney World after that. The trouble all started on the way back. We were flying to the first stop, which was St. Louis on the way back to Portland, Oregon. Halfway into the flight, the plane began shaking violently and then suddenly dropped, lifted way up, and then dropped suddenly again. I was really freaked out. My mom had gone to the bathroom and had to grab onto the seats on the way back to our row. I seriously thought I was going to die. My dad took my mom’s hand it was that bad. Not once did the pilot come on the intercom to tell us what was happening, and the flight attendants were nowhere to be found. The severe turbulence went on for 20 minutes.

When we finally landed, we found out that our flight to Portland was cancelled due to a major ice storm. My mom was absolutely livid and immediately went to the TWA counter there to make them get us on a flight home. A baggage handler was the one who helped us get our tickets changed. There were only two seats on the Portland flight that opened up, so my brother and dad went on that one. My mom and I got a red-eye flight to Seattle.

Once my mom and I got to Seattle, we found out that we wouldn’t be able to get a flight until 6am in the morning. We got in at 2am and my mom asked if I didn’t mind sleeping in the airport. I told her there was no way I was sleeping there, so we got a hotel room. They had sent our luggage to Portland. My mom and I had to get new clothes, down to our underwear, and had a fun day at the movies and the mall.

We flew home that night and my dad accidentally missed picking us up. My grandpa then came and got us. In the meantime, my brother and dad went back to get the luggage. My brother fell asleep and when he awoke, the luggage was gone. We thought our clothes were gone for good. My mom investigated; finally our luggage turned up at the end of the week. A TWA person had mistakenly put the luggage in Lost and Found. The airline shut down the next year.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Snert March 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Well..the airline has no control over weather…have NO idea why your mom would be livid over the flight being cancelled for that…you have to have a bit of control over yourself at times. Was she rude in getting your flights changed/rebooked? Bet she was. As for your luggage…sounds like you had a "fun day at the movies and the mall".


Aircrew member March 6, 2014 at 9:30 am

Like the above poster said, the airline has no control over the weather. To see that you got upset about 20 minutes of turbulence is just unreasonable and ridiculous. The reason that you didn't see the aircrew members was that they were also strapped into their seats for safety and the flight deck had their hands full maintaining situational awareness and concentration. Think of it this way, in the 15 seconds that it would have taken them to inform the passengers that there was turbulence they could have had a compressor stall or some other emergency arise that they needed to be prepared for. It is merely a courtesy call to let passengers know that there is turbulence. Mover over, the fact that your mother was "livid" that there was an ice storm and "went to the TWA counter there to make them get us on a flight home" was bad form on your mothers part. How long has your mother been a pilot? She probably isn't. As a professional aviator with years of experience there is this thing that we all practice, it's called risk management. If there is an ice storm at a destination it makes it EXTREMELY risky to even be in that general area let alone trying to land a MD-80 and control it on an icy runway and taxiways. The simple math here is a 113,000 lb. aircraft with bone dry fuel tanks traveling at 20 kts ground speed equals out to a lot of moving mass to stop on an icy runway/taxiway. Not to mention the fact that ice has this nasty habit of building up on the wings of an aircraft and disrupting airflow. Which for some reason I vaguely remember wings being called "lifting surfaces" … now why does that stand out as an important coupling of words in my mind? Oh yeah, I just remembered, lift is that funny thing that makes that all important difference between flight and suddenly finding yourself on the ground. Finally, you're lucky that your baggage made it to Portland in today's day and age. You came off of a flight and your baggage stayed on the aircraft, from a security stand point your bags should have been removed from the aircraft and that would have potentially delayed the flight. Add to that the fact that your brother was there to pick up luggage that wasn't his and he "fell asleep" and it was "gone." You're extremely lucky that you didn't cause some sort of security incident and your bags weren't investigated.

Overall, I hear a whole lot of complaining about things that nobody could exercise any control over and extremely rude customers who are self entitled.


Dannielle March 6, 2014 at 11:02 am

You and your family sound like self imortant, spoiled brats. This is not a flightfromell story but rather a consumersfromhell story. Weather and turbulance can not be helped. And oh dear me, your mother had to grab a hold of the back of a seat on the way back from a bathroom? And then be forced to hold your fathers hand? (Your father sounds like a real winner btw, taking the flight home and leaving you and your mom there another night and then “forgetting” to come get you.) Oh the horror!!! How dare they!! Your parents have done you no favors by making you a spoiled rotten brat. Not all families even get to take a trip like you did let alone have the option of new clothes or a hotel and "fun day at the movies and mall". Most people have to spend that night in the airport and they dont get the option of "I told her there was no way I was sleeping there".


Bob March 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Poor baby ….


RJ March 18, 2014 at 5:52 pm

My question would be Portland is only a couple of hours from Seattle by train or driving. Unless there was a problem with the rails Id think a two to three hour train ride to home would be better than going toa hotel and staying in Seattle . Regarding the first leg of your flight home I agree with the others that weather cannot be controlled but I also suspect you and your mom got spooked by the rough ride in and perhaps your nerves were a little rattled which put you on edge.


Dave March 28, 2014 at 7:43 am

Well this one finally got me to comment. What a load of self important, self entitled, self righteous dickheads you lot are. Claustrophobic women being locked into seats, arguments over my right to recline/my right to not let you recline, people demanding to fly in icestorms, but being scared to fly in good weather, complaining about turbulence,crying babies, smelly feet, smelly snacks etc ad nausea-um. You all sound like a bunch of kindergarten children. What ever happened to TOLERANCE? What a bloody joke. You call yourselves TRAVELERS? You should all stay in the comfort of your own lounge room, where everything is just as you like it and watch T.V to see what the real world is all about.


Not Good Enough March 28, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Time to close the site. Dave has spoken and none of us come up to his standards.


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