Friday, October 7, 2011

Plain ol' Plane Failure

We travel a lot. Just not to a lot of destinations most people are itching to go to. We go to Midland, Texas and Alma, Arkansas. That's how exciting it gets around here.

But it gets quite pricey going from the middle of nowhere to the middle of nowhere. While I have made it known that I think it'd be a wise investment to purchase a small plane and become a pilot, I have to convince Cash to do that. Lord knows I'm not becoming a pilot. I close my eyes on the take-off and landing.

This weekend is Claytie's annual Ranch Party!! Cash and I have been planning for months on where we were staying and what the weekend plan was going to look like. So I took off half a day of work yesterday and a full day today. For the first time I was flying from Ft. Smith instead of Tulsa to save on time (but definitely not money--why are small airports SO expensive?!)

the entire FS airport with pretty much all of FS in view--yep, 2 runways

Anyway, we were so excited!! I got to Ft. Smith and through the 1-man security operation. Okay, they had thrice as many people as that. But still they wouldn't let me go through security until the 1 gate on the other side was open. That's hoaky. I love Arkansas, but that's hoaky.

the 1 thing that FS airport has going for it

So I got on the plane and was having a good time listening to this guy in front of me try to talk to the kid sitting next to him. We started to take off, and the plane was literally all over the runway. I kept thinking to myself that I was exaggerating the problem...that it was just me being tense since this was the first time I've flown since the tragedy this summer. I had even driven to Midland twice in order to not fly. To say I had been anxious about this flight was an understatement.

Eventually we got off the ground and started ascending. I closed my eyes and could just hear all these sounds you don't really think you should be hearing in a plane. Mind you it was a little prop plane (even a more uneasy feeling), but it was still a little unnerving. At this point though, it was just a little unnerving.

an AA prop plane just like the one that ruined the afternoon

We weren't in the air for 5 minutes when I looked out the window and started thinking to myself, "We should be higher than this. Really, I think we should." And it was at this exact same moment when that same man in front of me looked out the window and said, "We are going down. Yep, we are going down. WE ARE GOING DOWN!!"

These aren't words a counselor-seeking scaredy cat with a terrible summer experience needs or wants to hear while in the smallest plane in use.

It was at this exact same moment a lot of beeping started coming from the cockpit to the stewardess. She then came over the speakers and said, "The landing gear will not come up. Please make sure your seatbelts are fastened securely and as tight as they will go. Please do not get up or unfasten your seatbelt. Please prepare for an emergency landing."


I felt the blood rush out of my face, and my hands grew numb. I clinched onto the closest thing to me, even though the man sitting next to me wouldn't let me hold his hand. He was mean. Then I started praying, and my prayers grew louder. I just kept repeating aloud, "Oh, Lord. Oh, Jesus. Oh, help us. Oh, Lord."

The man in front of me? Remember him? Yep. He took his hat off and started praying too.

After all of that we did land back in Fort Smith, but they couldn't get us back to the terminal. We had to walk. I was bawling the whole way.

I tried to call Cash twice, but I knew he was playing golf with some of the VP's from work. So I called my mom to tell her to stay in Ft. Smith and called Cash's mom to tell her I wouldn't be at the airport in Midland at 6:00. I was freaking out with both of them and crying hysterically.

Eventually I got to the ticket counter where they offered to get me on the same plane...yes...I just said the SAME PLANE! in a couple hours. They were going to "strap up the landing gear." I looked at the lady like she was crazier than Obama'a economic advisor and told her in no uncertain terms that I wouldn't step foot back on that plane. Seriously?! I am not a pilot nor am I am a mechanic, but I am pretty certain that at some point in the flight you need landing gear. Reason #2 it was quite hoaky.

Well, I thought I was going to just drive, but I couldn't imagine driving 10 hours back on Sunday. Not happenin'. So they rerouted me to fly out of XNA to DFW then from DFW to Lubbock...2 flat, dusty, windy hours away from Midland. I was to get in at 11:30. Basically, Cash would be getting in bed at 2:00 in the morning and having to get up and be at work by 8. I felt terrible, but he said he'd rather me do that than drive the entire trip.

So Mom and I headed to XNA. When I get there, I realized many more people and planes were there, and I started feeling much better. This is the point where I should mention that we couldn't use another plane at Ft. Smith because that was the only (yes, the ONLY) plane at the entire airport. Ohhpp...hoaky moment #3.

XNA...a little bit busier than FS

 XNA was nice though, and although they couldn't get me on the earlier flight to DFW they were nice enough to check the flights from DFW to Midland for me one more time. Luckily there was 1 seat left for a 9:15 flight to Midland...and I took it!

an AA regional jet
Instead of having a 2 hour layover in Dallas and flying into Lubbock, I had about 45 minutes to sit and be so so so excited to fly straight into Midland and see my honey. Plus, I was on a regional jet on both flights instead of 2 prop planes like I originally was going to fly on. Perhaps it was all worth it just for that. I do NOT like prop planes. 

Wouldn't you much rather be on a regional jet too?

Long story short I got into Midland a little over 4 hours later than expected and missed the play I had taken a half day off work to see with Cash and his parents. But I was safe. And I was in the Permian Basin. And that's all I really cared about at that point.

Cash stopped and got me some Whattaburger (we are fancy eaters) and came home to finish up some work. And I played with Jett. Sleep never looked so good after such an eventful day! Tonight he's taking me to my first ever Texas high school football game: Midland vs Permian! I am so excited and even brought a purple shirt to cheer on the Bulldogs in honor of Cash's alma mater. Tomorrow is the big ranch party!! Can't wait to see Barbara and Ross...and have a great time with Cash!!

Prayers for safe travels home Sunday would be awesome. See you guys next week (hopefully ;) ) and can't wait to tell you all about my weekend with my favorite!


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