A flight to remember

We flew out of Melbourne very early on Tuesday and had a wonderful 8-hour flight to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific.  The food was good and the crew was efficient and polite, and due to the configuration of the aircraft we had two seats together on a window and aisle. At HK airport we spent several hours drinking Starbucks coffee and wandering through duty free stores before lining up for our flight to New York.

This 14-hour flight, also with Cathay, was quite different, right from the beginning. Where the previous flight had been smooth all the way, this one was a little bumpy to start with. Then, when we reached the coat of Japan it became even bumpier. As I was having my water bottle filled I asked the crew member about it and she said it was quite usual for that part of the world. It was bumpy, but we could cope.

Then, as we flew over the Canadian Rockies things became more 'interesting'. The turbulence increased to a very uncomfortable lurching as we hit some fairly serious air pockets. The worst of them caused three of the overhead oxygen hatches to explode resulting in multiple oxygen masks bursting out and hanging over passengers' heads.

I held on to the arm rest, white knuckled, as the female passenger beside Jim was thrown from her seat and landed on his lap. The aisles quickly filled with all manner of rubbish including noodles that the mother opposite me had been feeding her two small children. I ended up with food on my back and in my hair as Jim tried to calm his companion who said she thought, 'this was it.' The aircraft looked like a war zone.

Finally the Captain, a Brit, made an announcement. He said the turbulence was totally unexpected and that he was pleased to report there were no injuries. He said he was concerned about fuel as he had descended several thousand feet to get us free of the turbulence and this used more fuel. However, he said, he would endeavour to take us up again as soon as it was safe to do so. He also said that the good news was that he'd been able to warn other following flights about the situation...

We still had 5 or 6 hours before we reached JFK Airport and it took most of that time for my heart rate to return to normal. From time to time we experienced more turbulence but nowhere near as severe. Finally we touched down at JFK and vowed that on any future flights to the US we would fly via Honolulu and los Angeles!


  1. Now I really am not flying, ever again…… phew……


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