July 11, 2011

"I always wanted to visit Idaho."

And that was the phrase to change our day.

As we were driving AWAY from out hotel at Teton Village the Coach nonchalantly pointed to the right and said: That is Idaho, just over that mountain there.

Oh..." I always wanted to visit Idaho" would come back to bite me in the butt.
And we were on our way to the lil' airport.  The lil' windy airport.

Extremely painful; causing physical or psychological pain.

I would never throw that word around. But this would prove to be a harrowing day.

Our  plane on the ground in Jackson.

As we were boarding our flight from Jackson Hole to Salt Lake City (later to connect to Las Vegas) we noticed the HIGH winds. This set my alert radar on HIGH.  With my alert radar already set to medium high....this MIGHT be an issue.

But the winds in Jackson hole would not be our issue....our issue would be the wind shears/Storms in Salt Lake city.

In reality, our plane should NOT have taken off with that destination. IT was supposed to be a short flight, 1 hour at the most. The pilot warned us upon take off that it would be bumpy on departure and upon arrival. I had no idea...that the TWO meant the SAME. LIKE: NOT UNBUMBPY at all.

Have you ever flown in wind shears? How about Micro-bursts? 

The Coach has flown in both...many many times. Did I tell you that he worked in the airline industry for many years? He has flown all over the world in all sorts of planes. Lil' planes. Big planes. He could be flown across the world to work on an engine...fix the engine and then have to FLY in that same plane.
He knows good and bad...
This flight from Jackson to SLC was beyond BAD.

The plane was fighting so hard against the wind, it was all I could hear. You know when you can hear the wind? I could feel the plane pushing as hard as it could against the wind. 

I only had one armrest to clench seat mate to my left had the armrest flipped up when I sat down and I just ignored it.
The flight attendants never even got up from their jump seats..there would be no drinks or peanuts on this flight. Way too much wind. Way too many bumps. Up and down. Side to side. Up and down.

As the pilot was trying to make his descent into SLC it got much much worse. The up and down became BIGGER ups and downs.

At once it seemed like the plane just dropped...from the corner of my eye, I saw LoLo fly up out of her seat for what seemed to me at least 2 feet. (coach was across the isle from me, then Linds, then Lo was by the window)

At this 'fall' the pilot hit the peddle to the metal to get us out of this trouble.

This, I would find out later was a micro-burst.

And I knew then and there, we would not be landing anytime soon.
I again, for the 100th time tightened my seat belt. For sure, my hips would break in half before I fly out of this seat.

I did my best to breathe...meditate....pray...eyes closed, both hands clenching my one armrest...I tried to take myself away from this plane...away from this hell. But it was hard.

Several people all around me were crying hysterically. And the barfing began...bags were being opened all over the plane; people coughing(purging) into them. 

I peeked open my eyes for a moment to check on the girls...they were huddled together covering their faces with Lindsay's sweatshirt. The coach, well, he did not look good, sweating, pale.  And that solidified my thought: This is BAD.

A few minutes later the pilot let us know that we were in a holding pattern, waiting for the weather to clear in SLC.
I thought: "there is no way this is going to clear up soon"

I continued with my breathing...meditating, trying to block out the criers and vomitters.  Lucky for me, I am not a big vommiter...I am more likely to shat myself than give up my groceries. Lucky that did not happen.

I was thinking about my Grandma and her always telling me how much she loved to fly.

(oh, Grandma, you have never flown like THIS!)

I don't know how much time passed while we circled SLC...maybe 15 minutes...but it never was smooth...still bumping up and down, side to side. We were all waiting for another big DROP like before.

Finally the pilot said we were going to land in Idaho and refuel...then try to fly back into SLC.

I was thinking, please, lord let me off this plane.

We landed. It was over. We were on the ground. I looked at the Coach and the girls...we survived. I made a motion with my hands holding a steering wheel referencing 'driving'.

Coach said to me: "I need to get off this plane."
I thought: there is no way they will let us off...they just don't do that.

He got up and headed to the front immediately. I moved over to sit by the girls and make sure they were ok. 

They were better than I expected. But once on the ground, I did feel better already. My heart stopped pounding so hands were so sore from clenching the armrest. I felt close to normal. (for me)

All the crying people were up and moving...looking terrified; shocked.

I told the girls, "they won't let us off...they are not allowed to."

I was also thinking...I am in Idaho. I really don't even know WHERE Idaho is compared to where we were going.  I forgot my globe at home.

This is getting really long.
Can you guess how it ended? 
Obviously we lived...
Do you want to throw me off a plane after reading such a long post?


  1. Oh no! How horrible. I don't like flying anyway, but I've never had this bad of a flight before. I had one bumpy flight and it was all I could do not to vomit.
    You had such a great visit, it's a shame about this flight.

    Hope you all have a great Monday!

  2. Oh no, that was a horrible flying experience.

  3. Harrowing to say the least! I can't even imagine. Thank goodness everyone was safe!

  4. Jesus, Suz! You're freaking me out! I was scrolling down with my mouse with one hand and biting my nails on the other hand. What a scary story. My only complaint, where are the photos of the people vomiting? If that were me, I would have my camera ready. Hopefully you'll think of that the next time.
    Your Friend, m.
    p.s. I'm glad that you survived. m.

  5. I have always wanted to visit Idaho=)

  6. Seriously, how many "I da ho? No, you da ho." jokes were told?

  7. I've been on some bumpy flights but yours took the cake! I once had a man sitting next to me who cried like a baby and squeezed my hand so tight it hurt.

    Glad you made it back safely!

  8. I do not like to fly. Haven't flown in a couple of years. I freak out with even a little turbulance. This would have been a nightmare!

  9. Crud Suz..that post scared the junk of of me! Makes me want to swear off airplanes and Idaho forever. I think I would have been writing my last will and testament on the back of one of those puke bags...and then probably puked in it. I have never puked on a plane but just reading that made me a little green around the gills. Did you kiss the ground when you fiiiiinally got off??? And drive the rest of your trip?? Scarrrrry.

  10. I don't think I would ever fly again after a flight like this. But at least you got to Idaho!
    And, no, we would never want to throw you off a plane!

  11. That must have been AWFUL. So glad y'all all kept your cookies and survived.

  12. Dear Suz, I am so sorry you had to endure this. I would have been a mess. I hope it never happens again!
    God bless your wonderful, calm, experienced, professional pilots for getting you all safely to the ground - and of course, those prayers and meditations don't hurt, either!
    My brother and I once endured a similar flight in the midwest - from Wisconsin Rapids to Chicago - and we will never forget it. The urge to kiss the ground upon landing - and never board another aircraft - was STRONG.

  13. Yipes----your recollection is just so vivid that it made my heart pound just reading about it... Glad you all are okay and that you DID make it...

    I've never been on a bumpy flight much --at least not like that--but that one may totally cure me from flying at all.... GADS!!!!


  14. i am now clenching both arm-rests on my chair (not to rub it in or anything) and am feeling a slight sickness in my throat! i am sure all that was keeping you safe and up in the air at all was God's mighty hand! and maybe your bee wings :) i now totally understand why you could not re-cap this story to my via text! YIKES!

  15. Oh no. What a horrible time. I'm glad everything ended well for you! So scary.

  16. My scariest time was when they took us back to the airport to de-ice the wings because it wasn't safe enough to take off the first time. At that point, I was wondering if I should beg to get off the plane. However, my trip was nowhere near as scary as yours. So did they at least give you a souvenir potato for being in Idaho?

  17. That does sound harrowing--there have to be times when people just get so hysterical they have to be let off, but I've not seen it.

    I hope my friend Debbie--who is already scared to death of flying--doesn't see this. She'll be grounded for life.

  18. Oh SuzyQ, this was a harrowing experience. Even though I worked for Alaska Airlines,I have always hated flying! I had a similar flight on Delta manyyyy years ago and I was sure we were going to crash. Did you guys drive to SLC??

  19. Just to have been in bad turbulence for a lesser amount of time was terrifying for me....I can't imagine this. I found myself holding my breath as I read it. For real. I did get one break from breath holding though....and I want to thank you for it, "I am more likely to shat myself than give up my groceries." I laughed out loud. Nobody tells it like you do Suz. I'm glad it ended up alright.

    Thank you so much for sending my dad an 80th birthday card! He was showered with them and brought them all to my house for dinner so I could look at them. It was a very lovely thing you did. xo

  20. Will you ever even fly again? That would scar me for life!

  21. Oh Suz....I felt just ill reading this post. (and kind of proud of your girls! Mine would have been a mess!)

  22. Wow, that was a terrible experience. I've never been on a plane with mass vomiting. Yuck. Not to mention the fear factor.

  23. I'm on the edge of my frigging seat here - OH MY GOD!!


    *hurries to next post*

    *goodness you guys are brave - the smell of vomit will make me sick for days!*

  24. my lil feet will nevar leave the ground. i flew once to and fro, and will never go up again.

    my anal sphincture is on strike now and closed until further notice.

  25. Oh gosh, I am in SLC, I hate those winds! The mountains create such unstable air, we really do get awful wind storms. I can't imagine trying to fly in that, yikes!

    I think you probably drove right past my house!

    LOL at the be happy all the time. Maybe that is why I get so cranky, just to prove I can...

    Glad you made it to Vegas ok! ANd yes, I love those 80 mpg signs...


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