I’ve written about the scariest in-flight experience I have ever had, but I think last night may have been even worse. I’m still trying to process how much was reality and how much was nightmare.
I was on a redeye from Los Angeles to Chicago and had nodded off to sleep using my new sure-fire sleep method: an audio book on my phone. I must have been dozing for two hours when all of a sudden the plane began to violently shake and rapidly lose altitude.
I was jolted awake and grabbed onto the arm rests for support. It felt like we were on a roller coaster…going down. I recall what felt like a 45º angle and more than 20 seconds of precipitous drop. Drinks flew through the cabin and the captain urgently admonished all FAs to take their seats. It felt like the captain had lost control of the plane. My heart was beating rapidly and I thought that this was it…
We leveled out, but the shaking continued for several minutes. We were nearing Chicago and the FAs immediately concluded service. The plane continued to jolt though we ultimately made a perfectly smooth landing at ORD.
I pulled up the Flight Track Log on Flight Aware to examine the altitude and it does seem like my mind was playing tricks on me, at least in terms of whether the plane rapidly lost altitude. The incident did occur while passing through this weather system over Kansas/Nebraska:
So my guess is that I had a nightmare/hallucination of some kind. My goodness it was a scary one, though — I’ve never had anything like that. Have you ever had a bad dream about crashing while on an airplane that you thought was real?