Flight attendant, loudly, to her seated colleague on the other side of the plane: “Is that smoke? I smell smoke!” Her colleague agrees. Minutes pass as my heart races. “It’s getting worse! Has anyone told the captain?” she gets up and strides quickly to the cockpit.
These are things you really *don’t* want to hear and see as your flight has just taken off, especially after a 3-hour delay due to electrical storms that the crew have been describing as “a code red situation” –a delay that has definitely eaten up your connection time to catch your flight to Nairobi.
In those tense minutes, I did actually contemplate my possible demise, felt anxious I might never see my partner again, and considered how much worse it would be for him to be the one to grieve.
Fortunately, it was nothing but hot rubber from the wheels on the landing gear, rising into the cabin as they pulled up and into the plane. I took a few calming breaths (hot rubber-scented), then watched 90-year old Sylvester Stallone in his latest action movie. At this stage of his career, he’s held together by staples, glue guns and surgical tape, perhaps like my airplane. But Stallone, like my airplane, have survived and it seems so have I. For nearly a month, without luggage. Then the Nairobi airport burned down, causing me to fear my bag was incinerated. But, it turned out it had made a lovely trip to Tel Aviv without me, and was ultimately returned… with a broken handle.