Have you ever flown on an airplane and learned what if means to fly? Ever experienced the tremendous amount of force as the plane thrusts itself skyward? Or seen a cloud from above? I have, and I will never forget the experience of my first flight.
I was fifteen when my aunt surprised me with a trip to Louisiana, by plane. I was extremely excited. None of my close friends had ever been on a plane, so I would be doing something they hadn’t.
The morning of our flight, we were up by two and on our way to the airport. We had all packed the night before to insure that we wouldn’t forget anything. Being a novice packer, I didn’t really know how to pack for a long trip. None of us did. As a result, we took very little, but what we did take filled our suitcases and was heavier than we expected. Luckily, we all had rolling suitcases. We did manage to get that part right.
We managed to get out tickets at the kiosk and have our baggage registered without a problem and made our way to security, where we had to remove any metal objects, and even our shoes before we could step through. My Mother and Aunt made it through without a problem, so I stepped through with confidence. Bzzz!! I had somehow managed to set the alarm off. The security guards made me back up and check for anything I may have forgotten to remove, but I had nothing else that could set the alarm, so I stepped back through. Bzzz!! went the alarm again.
By that time, I was extremely embarrassed, and became more so when security had me step aside and ran a little scanner over me. The security lady was as baffled as I was. The scanner found the metal in my bra hooks, but that wasn’t enough to set the alarm off, so she scanned some more. The next time it went off was where my jeans had rivets, and that really confused her. That shouldn’t have set the alarm off either. Since that was all she could find, I was sent on my way. My Mother and I discussed what could have happened and decided that the jeans I was wearing were old enough to have rivets made of slightly different metal than her newer jeans. That could have been a possibility. I didn’t know how old those jeans were, only that they had sat in my Grandmother’s closet for ages after she couldn’t wear them anymore.
Once through security, we found our way to the correct terminal and sat down to wait until we could board our flight. Finally it was our turn to get on the plane. By then, I had forgotten my embarrassment and was excited once again. However, my first sight inside the plane was a bit disappointing. It was so small! We found our seats and got settled in without much mishap. Then we had to wait some more for the rest of the passengers to get settled in. A stewardess caught our attention as the plane was being pushed backwards, away from the terminal. She began going over safety instructions, telling us where the emergency exits were, how to properly secure our seatbelts, that our seats could be used as floatation devices, and how to use the oxygen maskes should the need arise. Then she checked the cabin one last time and secured her own seatbelt as we pulled onto the runway. We stopped there for a couple of moments and pilot greeted us.
When he had finished speaking, the plane began to roll slowly forward, picking up speed until the engines were fully engaged and we shot down the runway, and then we were shooting upward. The force was so powerful that I was pressed back against my seat and unable to lean forward at all. It was a good thing that I had a piece of chewing gum, otherwise my ears would have popped numerous times as we ascended.
Before I knew it, everything on the ground looked like a child’s small play town. It all looked so small and surreal. Then, we were in the clouds and the ground became invisible in the ocean of white, and later, all I could see was the tops of the clouds. It was so beautiful! It was just like we were sailing on a vast white, fluffy ocean, without all the swaying from the waves. It was such a lovely sight that it took my breath away. All I could do was stare in awe for a long while.
When we reached the top of our flight arc, the stewardess came down the isle with a trolley, offering drinks and pretzels for the remainder of the flight. It was shortly after that we began our descent back down to earth. The flight wasn’t a long one, only about an hour, so it hadn’t taken very long to get where we were going. Before I knew it, we felt and heard the landing gear unfold and the engines reverse. Not long after, we were once again rolling down a runway.
Once we were at the terminal, we all began to collect our carry on and slowly exit the plane, after we stood up too fast and hit our heads on the low ceiling, though. The experienced travelers just shook their heads and smiled at us, realizing that we hadn’t flown very much before and probably thinking back to their first flights. We found our way to the baggage claim, collected our bags, and exited the airport into a bright Louisiana day.
I will never forget the experience of my first flight, even though I have been on several other plane rides since then. That trip was magical, more magical than I could ever believe. I know that there are some people that surely take flight for granted, but I don’t know if I will ever be one of those people. My first flight was a wondrous experience, one that will stay with me for all time.