The flight that changed all others

The other day, I told a story about my first flight ever. It was just in a small 4 seater plane, and the pilot was a friend of my dad’s. That experience kind of scarred me for life on flying. However, it wasn’t until this story that my hatred of flying was really cemented. 

So the last story was about 10 year old me. Flying in circles with my face plastered to the glass and eventually getting motion sickness. That kind of put me off of flying. It wasn’t that big of a thing since it was just motion sickness, but my stomach didn’t appreciate airplanes after that.

Then, about 10 years later, in 2007, I took my first commercial plane ride. I was going to BC with my dad for a week long vacation. Before we left the airport, I took a gravol or two, knowing that it would help my stomach. I was being proactive.

My dad got the window seat, and I was in the middle. He’s all “look out the window! Look out the window!!” Because he’s a little crazy and loves to look out the window while flying. And I was all “o-m-g dad I literally could not care any less” and fell asleep as soon as the gravol kicked in. The flight back wasn’t as bad, I didn’t take any gravol and I seemed to be fine.

Two years later, I was headed to BC once again with my mom. Her sister (and my favourite aunt) lives in BC so we were going to visit her. Now this time, I was all “pfft flying? no probs bob! I gots this!” Our flight didn’t leave the Kitchener airport until 6 pm. I had lunch at my regular time, but again, the flying process made me feel a tiny bit queasy. I took my gravol and fell asleep.

Our flight had a change in Calgary, which was normal when flying from Kitchener to Vancouver. Since we had left Kitchener at dinner time, my mom and I had bought sandwiches from Tim Hortons before getting to the airport. My mom ate as soon as we took off, but I decided to sleep. When we landed in Calgary, it was after 9pm Ontario time so I hadn’t eaten in over 9 hours. I INHALED my sandwich in the airport and got a Starbucks mocha to go with it. I was just finishing my drink as the plane was boarding.

The flight from Calgary to Vancouver is over the Rocky Mountains, so you are going up and down, up and down (omg I’m getting flashbacks, I swear I have PTSD because of this). Well having just inhaled food as quickly as possible, and a super sugary drink after not eating for over 9 hours, my stomach didn’t like that. I started doing that breathing that all parents recognize as “ooo she’s gonna blow”. You know, the in through the nose, out through the mouth, long inhales and exhales? My mom was concerned I was going to be sick so I made my way up to the bathroom.

Once in there, I wasn’t doing too good. I didn’t get sick but my face was as white as snow and my heart was racing. I knew it wasn’t going to be too long now, and there was an added bonus of feeling like I was going to pass out.

I came out and there was an empty seat in the first row by the bathroom. One of the stewardesses had talked to my mom and said I could sit there. She saw how pale I looked and gave me some ice to hold. Like right in my hands, pure ice. Apparently it’s a trick to stop from fainting – it shocks the system into paying attention to the cold in your hands (I have used this on multiple occasions after and trust me, it works!).

I was able to sit there until we started to land in Vancouver. Then I had to go back to my seat and buckle in. I was in the middle seat and the person who was beside me was kind of a jerk (not my mom by the window, but the dude on the other side by the aisle). The whole time I was in my seat before feeling sick, he was adjusting his headrest and elbowing the side of my head.

Well I climbed over him and strapped myself in for landing. The plane did it’s normal change in position and we were speeding to the ground. Well this was the time that my stomach was like REVOLT!! REVOLT!!!!

I couldn’t stop it any more…the seat belt sign was on, we were literally hurling towards the ground. My mom had the air sickness bag open and in front of me just in time. The best part about me loosing my lunch was that the dude beside me was clearly disgusted by it (as was I actually). He kept trying to position himself as far away from me as possible while still staying buckled in haha.

Once I finished being sick, we folded over the top of the bag, cos like duh gross. Well the pressure in the cabin has been increasing the closer we got to the ground and the seam on the bag ripped!! OMG as if anything else could go wrong?!?!?!

So we double bagged it, and by then, than goodness, we had touched down. My mom and I waited until everyone else had gotten off the plane before we attempted to get up. The ladies working the flight were so gracious as we left. I was mortified!

On the way home, I made sure to take gravol as often as I was allowed to. Luckily for me, there were a few other people who had flown to BC who were also returning on the same flight and they recognized me. And while they were little old aunties (like 65-75 I’d say) and just trying to be nice, their “oo are we feeling better this time?” was definitely not appreciated……

So now, every time I go flying, my stomach gets butterflies remembering the trauma of that day. Omg, even reliving it now in my mind for this post is making me feel a little gross. It was literally the worst thing that had ever happened to me. It’s also why I have developed a great system for flying. Non-drowsy gravol ginger chews (chew one 30 minutes before boarding, and as soon as I sit down suck on another one), bring snacks for the trip (nuts and seeds work well), and always have an aisle seat.

I seriously hate flying…..

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10 thoughts on “The flight that changed all others

  1. Oh crap! What an experience!! That sounded mortifying. Do you often get sick? Like, you always have to take some sort of sickness med? Poor thing. Thankfully, I never has to take and meds for getting queasy. But I do have to hold my head back and try to relax and breathe. Whenever we hit turbulence or a bumpy landing. It is quite uncomfortable but I’ve never lost my lunch. I don’t understand how the flight attendants can stand up and walk all flight long. I mean, of course it’s because they are so used to it. I enjoy flying, but I do get a little nervous before. Always have to say directed to the pilot, “do a good job, do a good job …stick the landing.” Haha.

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    • For a few years, I had a very nervous stomach. It was really weird, just for like 2 years whenever I would become really nervous, or stressed out, I would feel like I was going to be sick. Now it’s slowly getting better, I’m not sure what brought it on….probably that flight actually lol cos it never happened before that. Now it’s just flying that causes such a reaction. But even then, it’s much more managable, I part of it is mental now, like my body isn’t really feeling sick it’s just my brain thinking that? I’m glad I switched to the ginger chews since they don’t have the drowsy medication in them and are much better for you 🙂 I don’t have to take gravol as often as I used to a few years ago which is nice! I think my body is slowly getting over it haha.

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    • They are just gravol. Does the US have gravol? It’s the same thing as dramamine. I was taking a vacation to Canada during my first contract in Korea 5 years ago, and I knew I had to eat on the plane. I had taken gravol (which makes me really really drowsie) and asked the flight attendant to make sure I got woken up for the in flight meal, explaining the fact that I had taken gravol. She told me a story of a flight she was on a few weeks prior that had to do an emergency landing since a young lady on it had taken gravol and her heart wouldn’t stop racing after it. There is something in the gravol that reacted badly to her body and the cabin pressure. Since my heart was racing (maybe from the gravol, maybe from stress) I stopped taking it after that trip and just switched to their ginger chews product instead. It has the same calming effect just without the medical ingredient to make you sleep 🙂

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      • Ahh, I have never heard of it. But I would be wary to take it for the reason that your heart goes berserk. Thankful I’m pretty cool on flights. You sleep during flights? Dear God, I cannot do that! I don’t sleep well in my own bed, much less an uncomfortable airplane seat. I envy people like you. 😊

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        • After I stopped taking regular gravol it’s hard to sleep on planes. But when you have to get up at 4am and then are stuck in the air for 14 hours straight, it does happen 🙂 A good neck pillow helps! And the fact that the lights in the plane are dimmed for a good 4-5 hours at a time lol.

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