Sunday, November 19, 2006

First Flight


I first traveled by plane in January of 1977, when I was not quite nineteen. It was during my first year of college and I was going to visit with my sister for a week before returning to school for the spring semester.

I remember it being bitterly cold as I boarded the American Airlines 727. Indeed, the plane had to be de-iced before we could take off, which didn't exactly inspire confidence in flying for me. I looked out the window as the procedure was being done and I recall the de-icing substance having a pinkish color.

Nevertheless, the flight went off without a hitch and we landed safely in Boston, where it was even colder. To finish the last leg of the journey, I boarded a small ten passenger plane, so small that I could not stand up straight in it, and there was no latrine aboard. This flight was also uneventful -- until we landed, that is. The runway was a sheet of ice and as the plane touched down, it slid and skidded all over the runway, finally coming to a stop.

I've flown several times since then, the last time being in the mid-90s, when I accompanied my father on his last flight for his funeral. With the way boarding procedures are now, I'm not sure if I'm eager to fly again any time soon.

My son's first flight came much earlier in life, in October of 1983 when he was two years old, when we flew to attend a family reunion. He was excited about the trip, treating it as a grand adventure, not having the slightest bit of fear.

I let him have the window seat, so he could see the ground get smaller, then watch the clouds from above as we reached cruising altitude. I remember that he was so little that I had to put his stuffed animal (Heathcliff the cat) on his lap and buckle the seat belt around them both so it wouldn't be too loose. He's flown a few times since then, one time without me, when he went to Disneyland with his stepgrandmother.

My mother never once traveled by plane, and my grandmother flew for the first and last time when she was 74 years old.

Let's hear about your first flight.

1 comment:

P.D. said...

I took myself down to Tasmania for a long weekend in 2005, and it was my first time flying as an adult. I flew to the States and back when I was a little kid but I don't remember it of course. I'm hitting NY in a years' time. Watch out! :)

All the way down the eastern coast of New South Wales, I was glued to the window with this stupid smile on my face. I love driving down the south coast away from Sydney, and this time I was seeing all my favourite coastal places from the air.
At one point, the hostess came to ask me if I'd like a drink, and as I turned from the window to say "I beg your pardon?" I was too slow to wipe the look of pure excitement off of my face. She giggled at me straight away... she knew it was my first flight.

Best weekend ever. It also helped that I was sharing a 767 with rockstars.