When Flights Become Frights!

At the request of some people at the MegaDO launch party, I’m posting a story I told when we were all talking about our weirdest travel experiences.  Feel free to post your own in the comments!

When I was sixteen, I was in Buffalo for a sporting event I was competing in.  I had to get back fairly quickly to participate in another, so I took aa truck pulling a trailer flight by myself while my parents drove back.  I hadn’t flown much back then so I don’t remember what plane it was, but I think it was a turbo prop maybe.  What I do remember is there was only one seat on each side and the plane was tiny.  I mean, TINY.

It was snowing that day and they had to de-ice the plane.  I remember watching the ground crew slowly disappear from sight as the snow came down harder and harder.


I couldn’t see the ground crew.  How the heck could the pilot see anything?!

I started shaking.  I was 16.  I was by myself.  And I was pretty sure I was going to die.

My pale façade and inability to stop shaking grabbed the attention of the flight attendant.  She rushed over and all sugar-sweet asked me, “Honey, are you okay?!”

I desperately pointed out my window and asked how the pilot could see to take off.  The flight attendant smiled reassuringly and said, “Oh, don’t you worry yourself, the pilot can see the sign!”

The sign?  You mean there’s a sign that alerts the pilot it is okay to take off?

“Oh no, honey!  There’s a Burger King, right across the street there.  If the pilot can see the neon sign, it’s more than clear enough to take off!”

Needless to say, I didn’t doze–or blink–for a second on that flight.


While writing this, I just remembered that was the stage of my life where I was sure I was going to grow up to film documentaries and I had been shooting on the plane.  I wonder what I got on that tape…


What are your crazy travel stories?  Feel free to post about them in the comments!


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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