On April 23rd, I went on the first flight I had been on alone. I was not travelling with my partner; I was not travelling with friends. No, I was a big girl and going by myself. It was a work related trip, and I luckily had a few people that worked with the company going along. That made it a little easier.
My partner had driven me to the airport in the morning. I was responsible for myself after that point. I had managed to set off the alarm going through TSA thanks to my bra strap. That worked me up a lot. When I say a lot, I mean I almost cried. I knew I had nothing to worry about, but it is still startling whenever an alarm goes off on you, three stern people are around you, and patting you down.
After that, I boarded one of the fancy little trains that take you to the gates. I got out and was greeted by evil escalators (I do not like those things!). I was left with a few hours to wander around the shops. I spent the time on the phone, watching planes take off, and watching people. You see a lot of interesting individuals at an airport. Before I knew it, it was time for me to go to my gate.
I did not like the last fifteen minutes. It felt like time was not real. I watched as various people rushed around. I must have checked my boarding pass at least a million times. I checked to make sure I had not forgotten any of my belongings. I was so anxious. Then, before I knew it, I was handing in my boarding pass, and I was making my way to the plane.
Once on board, I had to enlist the help of one of my fellow workers to get my carry-on into the overhead bin. I was not tall enough to reach them and was small enough to stand in front of my seat without hitting my head. I eventually sat down as the plane got fuller. I was messaging my partner and using my phone while I could.
The flight attendants were wonderful. The attendant that was going over safety procedures was engaging with a smile. He had such a personality. In all of my previous flights, I had never seen such an animated flight attendant. The pilot was super polite and kept everyone in the loop. He made us aware of the storms in our path and the adjustments to make to have a smoother flight. I appreciated that.
The flight itself was very … bumpy to say the least, but it was not as bad as it could have been. I was sad that I was not able to see more out of the window, but it was magical to watch the clouds. Part of me wished I could have stayed up there longer, but a stronger part of me was eager to be safe on the ground.
The landing was a nightmare for me. I was not calm for the impact. It felt as if the whole plane bounced. I found myself leaning back in my seat, feet on the floor as if I were slamming the brakes of my own car. I forgot to breathe.
After we were out, I was relieved to be on the ground. Next was the hard part of trying to get to our hotel…. On the other side of Atlanta. Through late night traffic. And going through the whole week away from what I was familiar with. It was daunting and exciting.