My Airport Antics

I was reading a friend’s blog the other day (tidalscribe.com) and she was regaling her readers with her airport experiences. It made me think of the times I’ve had, well, issues in an airport. My biggest and most traumatic experience was when my father’s plane crashed in 1978. He survived.

Then I guess the one that stands out most was the time I thought I was going to be arrested for transporting drugs. It was August 1978, I was a Boy Scout at the time (they would go coed at a certain age) and we were travelling to Alberta for a National Moot. Think Jamboree. Groups were travelling from all over Canada and I think a few from the States and we are going to meet in Pincher Creek, Alberta for three days. My group thought we would go a little early and camp in the Rocky Mountains and then make our way down to Pincher Creek.

It was a great idea. We had to travel in uniform for insurance purposes so think of seven or eight 17-year-olds in Boy Scout uniforms descending on an airport. We stood out. For years my mother had been supplying us with hot chocolate that she would make herself because it was great when you’re camping. You only had to add water. This was over 40 years ago and I don’t believe they made hot chocolate that you could just make with water.  To make things easier, she put the powder in plastic baggies. There were probably about 20 double bags and then she put them in a flight bag.  None of us thought of the optics. As we were going through Customs it suddenly became very apparent why the Customs agents were taking an inordinate amount of time investigating that flight bag. I moved back in line a few paces. I wasn’t carrying the flight back.  It all worked out when somebody stuck their finger in the bag and tasted the hot chocolate.  They realized it was not cocaine and we were allowed to board the plane. I never did that again.

Then there is the time, many years later, I was travelling to Washington DC for a wedding with my mother. My father had declined the invitation. It was for people we didn’t know but their relatives were cousins that my mother had not seen in 60 years. They were coming from Belfast, Northern Ireland and I was anxious to meet them as well.

When my father’s plane had crashed, it was in a DC9.  I called the Airport to inquire as to what kind of plane we would be using and I was informed it was a 727. When my father dropped my mother and I at the airport and we collected our tickets, my father’s face looked odd. I didn’t question him at the time. We got on the plane and got comfortable and I reached out to read the little brochure in the seat pocket. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the plane I was sitting in was a DC9, the kind my father had crashed in.

We made it to Washington in one piece but I was a wreck. First place I went was the bar! We had a lovely three days and I met some incredible people. It was on the flight back that things got even funnier. We were not sitting in a DC9, we were in the promised 727. When we were packing for the weekend, I had asked my mother to pick up a book for me to read on the plane. Obviously, I was in no shape to read the book on the first flight but now I was relaxed and I reached for the promised book. It was called No Highway by Nevil Shute about a plane with a fatal flaw that’s going to crash and nobody knows about it. Thank you mother.

Oh, and the funny look on my father’s face? He had noticed my seat number, it was the same seat he was sitting in when his plane crashed. Who says life is boring?

Ah, Airline antics . . . .

 

 

36 thoughts on “My Airport Antics

  1. joylennick

    Thank you for the above piece, Pamela. Eek! Life can be a teaser… All last week, I was hooked on ‘coincidences.’ and wrote my weekly column in the local paper on the subject, as it’s such a fascinating phenomenon..

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  2. Murphy's Law

    Life is definitely stranger than fiction! You can’t make this stuff up. The same kind of plane. The same seat. But the kicker is the ‘book’! Can’t say your mom didn’t have a sense of humor!😂

    And look at you and your beautiful red locks. A stunning 17 year old boy scout who morphed into a stunning woman. One so many of us admire and love.

    I, for one, am so glad that history didn’t repeat itself with that plane!
    Ginger

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    1. quiall Post author

      You are so kind Ginger. My poor mother felt so bad when she realized what she picked up. She had no idea. She just knew I liked the author. The universe works in mysterious ways.

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    1. quiall Post author

      My father was actually in two plane crashes. One in World War II and one in 1978. He continue to fly, it didn’t seem to bother him. I guess he believed that when it was his time it would happen and not to worry until then. He died in his sleep in the hospital at 81 1/2. My father’s background was English and he was never completely comfortable with cousins we did not know. But he was a good egg about it. And never denied us.

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  3. tidalscribe.com

    I am honoured my blog inspired you. I can’t compete wit a father in a plane crash – though actually his Halifax crashed when he was in the RAF during the war – but I see from your comments your Dad did that as well. I think your story proves there is no need to worry about superstition. Same seat same plane, but you didn’t crash! One of my colleagues in the airport lounges had been an air hostess. When she was chatting to some passengers about to depart she said to them ‘I wasn’t nervous of flying till the family next door were wiped out in a plane crash!’

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    1. quiall Post author

      I knew a man who saw a tornado coming. His home was in the direct path. He got his family into the basement and they waited to lose the house. The house next-door was taken, the house on the other side was taken. His house was untouched. He lost a canoe out of the backyard. We do not know the reasons but we are happy with the results.

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  4. Sun Hesper Jansen

    This was a stitch! Nerve wracking stories do pay their way eventually! ^_^ I practically grew up in airplanes (my dad worked for United) which is probably why I prefer to travel by train now whenever possible… but I’ve got so many horror stories from Amtrak that people wonder why I stick with it. Endless material for a regaler of tales!

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      1. Dale

        No kidding! Isn’t that the great thing about memories? We can go back to them after and, in most cases, forget about the scary part and focus on others.

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    1. quiall Post author

      I definitely had the Twilight Zone shivers for quite a while. There are a whole lot of coincidences in my life that I sometimes think about and then others try very hard not to. An example? My father was in bed for five days before he died.My mother was in bed for five days before she died. They died five years apart. My cats died five years apart. There are five people in my immediate family. Each one of us has a five in our address. Do you see my dilemma? Best not to ponder.

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      1. Dan Antion

        I knew two people born the exact day after me. One was my undergraduate roommate, the other was my best friend in graduate school. They both died soon after their respective graduations. It is best not to ponder.

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  5. Annika Perry

    Pamela, after your father’s plane crash I’m surprised you ever dared fly again! I’m glad he survived well but yikes, eerie you got the same seat number. As for books on planes, I’m always careful to bring something light, cheery and non-plane crash related!

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  6. Sorryless

    I mean, it’s hilarious NOW, but I imagine being suspected of smuggling drugs was probably just a tad bit nerve wracking. And then you upped the ante with that flight you took with your dad!

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