11 July 2011

Flightmare

I boarded the flight like any other......excited to be boarding a flight to a new country and old friend. It was my first flight on LAN - the Chilean airline. I like the look of their planes with the Chilean flag and star. It looks like Texas to me. The plane was nice and new, things looked good. It was only about 3/4 full, so I was not sardined anywhere - nice!
We took off.i know that the Andes surround Santiago but the fog was sodense that visibility was about zero. I worried for a moment then remembered that pilots depend more on radar than vision so I was ok. Just after take off it was announced that for safety reasons while we were flying over the Andes we will have to keep our seat belts fastened and even the flight attendants will stay seated. At first it was smooth sailing, I thought this to be overkill. I saw the beautiful peaks of the Andes rising above the clouds. Gorgeous! I relaxed, enjoying the view until the person in the window seat closed the shade. Then we began to shake a bit, nothing alarming until all of a sudden.... Drop, drop,drop. We dropped three times in a row. I screamed out at one point (several passengers stared) we shook and shook....and even when we stopped shaking, my hands still shook. My stomach churned in response gurgling, protesting, threatening to explode. We tossed about in the air more. At this point it was not that bad, but I was so shook up (no pun intended) that I wasn't very relaxed. The flight attendants came around with the meal. I thought food might settle my stomach. It just protested further. We experienced fairly regular light turbulence. The flight attendants came by collecting The used trays and offering tea or coffee. My row was skipped. After a while I went back and told the flight attendants about the trays, got some ginger ale for my stomach and asked for tea. They told me they'd bring me mutes and come get my tray in a moment. That moment turned into minutes and more than an hour. I gave up. We were getting closer and closer to Rio. I began to relax although my stomach was still churning in protest. The onscreen map showed we were along the coast of Brazil over the Atlantic. Turbulence picked up and the fasten seatbelt sign went on. Then suddenly - drop, drop. Again the plane dropped twice. We shook and shook on our descent to Rio. My stomach protested more. I seriously thought I might be sick. Eventually, after what seemed to be a very long 3.5 hours we touched down upon landing I was so happy....for a moment. The engine then began to emit a very high pitched whine. As we taxied for nearly 15 minutes this whine never let up..... Finally in the park position, the whine stopped and changed to a drilling noise for about 2 minutes...until blissful silence. I have never been so happy to disembark!


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Location:LAN Flight 772: Santiago to Rio de Janiero

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