Spice Up Your Inbox. Subscribe Today.

enter your email address:


I’m not a big fan of flying. I mean, just the fact that everyone says, “Have a safe flight!” makes me think that something not safe might be happening. Because when I go to the grocery store, I’ve never heard anyone say, “Have a safe shopping trip!”

I do realize that the drive to the airport is far more dangerous than the flight but again, no one has every reminded me of where to find the life preservers or oxygen masks in my car.

But despite my flying hesitations, I do fly because I’d rather be anxious on a plane for 2 1/2 hours than miserable in a car for 24.

On Sunday, we flew from Laguardia to Ft. Lauderdale and as the plane took off from New York, a nauseating rubber smell filled the cabin. It burned my throat kind of like the Brazilian Blowout did but without the smooth, sassy hair. Four of my children immediately said, “What’s that smell?” And 3-year-old Chase followed up with, “Is it fire? Is the plane on fire?”

“The plane is not on fire,” I responded. I based this conclusion on the fact that I didn’t see any smoke and the plane wasn’t turning around. But I was starting to think 24 hours in a car wouldn’t be that bad.

Very soon after, the pilot announced that they were aware of the smell but that all indicators showed no problem with the plane. He said, the smell was likely caused by the plane sucking up some of the exhaust fumes from the plane in front of us on the runway.  He did not confirm or deny that any flight attendants were getting Brazilian Blowouts in the back.

The smell did go away and the plane continued to Ft. Launderdale.

Then about 20 minutes before the plane landed, the smell came back which pretty much put an end to the pilot’s “exhaust fumes on the runway” theory. The pilot once again acknowledged the smell, said all was okay with the plane but admitted he didn’t know what was causing the problem.

You don’t really ever want to hear that your pilot doesn’t know what the hell is going on. I mean, it’s okay if he’s not up to speed on the Kris and Bruce Jenner split up but you want him to have a handle on aircraft issues.

We landed with no problem. I expected fire trucks to surround the plane on the runway and TV crews to push through the crowds to ask me how it felt to be a survivor – but we all just got off the plane and headed to baggage claim.

I did make Rick call the PR department of this airline to find out what the hell was wrong with the plane and to make sure it was not going back into the sky.  I think he was more interested in finding a place to get a sandwich but he made the call.

The plane was headed to maintenance. Still no word on the cause of the problem. Hopefully, it had nothing to do with the weight of the aircraft because of some big family with too many bags.

14 Responses to so that wasn’t my favorite flight

  • Franny says:

    My parents were once on a flight from Philly to fla on which some serious hoagie addict had stashed some Philly Italian hoagies in the overhead bin and when the mysterious smell could not be identified, the plane made an emergency stop in Atlanta where it was evacuated and inspected for explosives etc. Those bomb sniffing dogs had a helluva treat once they found the culprit. True Dat!

  • Franny says:

    My parents were on a flight from Philly to Fla. and a strong mysterious smell caused an emergency landing and evacuation in Atlanta. It turned out to be a passenger bringing Italian hoagies down with him in the overhead bin! Those bomb- sniffing dogs must have had a helluva reward for their successful sleuthing!

  • Ann says:

    I was on a flight where a woman’s chorizo was dripping from the overhead compartment on to a passenger.

    Not as scary, but maybe even more upsetting.

  • Steph says:

    I can relate. After having children, I’m so anxious when we fly. Before kids, I was totally a nonchalant flyer. Miss those days. And glad you and yours made it safely home.

  • Princess Judy says:

    Wait?! Does this imply that you *have* life preservers and oxygen masks in your car?

    I think the next time someone tells me they are going somewhere I think I’ll wish them a safe whatever. “Have a safe lunch!” It sounds so ominous.

    I haven’t flown in decades. I don’t see the need to get into a tube of recycled air with a bunch of strangers and hurtle through space. They don’t even give you peanuts anymore I hear.

  • I feel the same way. I hate hearing those words “Have a safe flight.” It just implies how dangerous it is. I’m flying to Atlanta net week for Parent’s Weekend and I’m already having palpitations.

  • Tricia says:

    I was on a flight once, we had to make an emergency landing for medical problem. The emt’s ran on with the aisle chair, few minutes later they rolled back down the aisle, with an empty chair! My first thought, ” they’re dead!”
    No, just too heavy to sit in the chair. Older gentleman, having a panic attack.

  • Tara says:

    So, I’m mildly neurotic about flying anyhow, and every time we get on a plane I dig holes into my partner’s arm with my fingernails, and every time he says, “See, not so bad?”

    Except one time we were heading back to Newark (with our three kids and me at 32 weeks pregnant) and we’re descending and descending and ENGINE REVVING BACK UP INTO THE SKY. For like 15 min I’m having a seizure and my partner’s all “whatev, maybe we have to get back in line” AND THEN THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS START RUNNING UP AND DOWN THE AISLES WITH MANUALS. At that point I told my partner that if he still thought nothing was wrong he was clearly an idiot and I was divorcing him. Assuming we survived.

    Turns out we had no front landing gear and got to experience a low fly-by (to double-check the lack of landing gear) as well as an emergency landing into foam, followed by slamming down of the nose, smell of burning, and evacuation. The poor rescue personnel at the bottom of the slide – first I had to practically toss my 5 year old down (she was all “bump this, not doing it”) and then they see a heavily pregnant woman about to drop at a 45 degree angle.

    It was super fun.

    (P.S. United was awesome. Not only were the attendants INCREDIBLE in helping all the children on the flight stay calm, but the landing was actually smoother than some ‘regular’ landings I’ve had AND they went back through the plane, requesting permission from NTSB, when the crazy pregnant woman was sad that she’d left her knitting on the plane – the knitting for her new baby.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

kelcey kintner