I was reminded of this today since the trip came up in my memories on Facebook. It was in April of 2018. I was flying to the UK to attend a concert with Darren Criss in London.
I met up with some fellow fangirls; Anja and Sabrina and we had a wonderful time.
I got to meet the man himself too and I remember that I made a joke about being able to die happy… now that I had accomplished this mighty great task.
I didn’t mean it but the universe almost took me literally.
The incident occurred on my way back home with EasyJet.
Here’s what happened: I always have a window seat because I like to play “spot the UFO” to entertain myself. Anyway… so I’m sitting there on the left side next to the wing looking out and suddenly a plane comes into view flying in the same direction and altitude as us – and already on first sight my instinct tells me it’s too damn close. I just know instantly.
It was not one of those small dots of a plane you see regularly. No…its perfectly clear. I am guessing about half a mile away and I know FAA regulations says every plane has to be 3 miles apart at any time. It makes me pause for a second but I am not too worried about it.
I just keep tracking it and it’s not until it starts swerving right that I start to get really nervous because our plane is not changing direction accordingly and its putting itself on a collision course with us until it’s nose is pointing right at where I am sitting. And it just keeps coming, at an alarming speed. Until it’s so close that I can see all the markings on it and tell it’s from British Airways. I can even make out the shapes of the pilots.
And I know something has gone really wrong here because I have flown pretty regularly since I was 4 years old and been on a plane enough times to know that this isn’t normal. I can hear the people behind me start to panic a bit too, I was definitely not the only one who noticed something was off. The plane was buzzing with nervous energy and chatter and then suddenly it went really quiet as if everyone were holding their breath at the same time; just waiting to see what would happen or bracing for impact.
There were a few terrifying seconds where I couldn’t tell if it was gonna hit us or not. Where it could have gone both ways. It was enough time for me to think; “Okay, this is it.”
But then it pulls up and passes over us with only about 10 meters to spare and the cabin does a little jump like it’s getting affected by the gravity of the other plane passing overhead. I look across the aisle where I see the engine trail from the plane hit the window on the other side, and I swear… the collective sigh of relief on that plane could be felt in that moment, literally. Like we all started breathing again at the same time.
Seriously, no one can convince me that I didn’t escape certain death by seconds. I’m absolutely sure that we were scarily close to becoming another headline that day.
Had it smashed into us, both planes would probably have exploded because it was headed right for the wing where all the fuel is. At the very least it would have torn right through our plane, breaking it in half. No one walks away alive from that. Especially not the people right by the wing like me or those in the tail. We would be doomed.
I do wonder how often this happens? I’ve heard pilots talking, in plane crash documentaries, about how planes almost colliding mid-air happens more often than anyone knows, because it’s not talked about, but I really don’t get it. I mean, the sky is so big… and yet, you still almost crash into each other? How in the hell is that possible?
This was the first time in all my years of traveling that I’ve experienced anything so crazy and dangerous while flying. Of course, I’ve had my share of turbulence and bad weather, but nothing too frightening. Nothing where I actually thought my life was in any danger.
However, this experience definitely takes the cake when it comes to scary flights.
It wouldn’t stop me from flying again though.