By Mary Schwager for GalTime
It was the flight I'll never forget. Years ago, back in college, I was on a commercial airline jet zipping over one of those huge Midwestern thunderstorms with ferocious energy. The clouds below were fast moving and dark, you could see each time lightening struck. All of a sudden, the plane just, well, “fell”; that is the best way to describe it.
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I later learned it actually fell several thousand feet. Luggage flew out of the overhead bins and onto my head, drinks spilled everywhere, and the worst part of it all: Complete and utter panic filled the cabin. People screamed like we were going to die. Well, okay, it did feel like we were going to die. Sobs, hysterics and tears from hyperventilating passengers ensued.
Then, the plane dropped AGAIN. Yup, again. People who weren’t panicked the first time were now freaking out. People who were panicked the first time now changed into full swing Academy Award winning dramatic performances. I remained quiet and just stared at the seat in front of me, until the plane leveled off and the voice of reason came on in my head and said: You aren’t going to die on this plane.
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We ended up having to make an emergency landing because the woman in the seat next to me went into shock and was in a cationic condition. Of course, this person would be assigned the seat next to me. Never fails. I helped as much as I could until the paramedics came on board and had to lift her out of her seat, while her body remained frozen in the position one would be in if seated in a chair. I still remember seeing her being loaded into the ambulance with her legs at a right angle on the stretcher. Poor woman, I later learned she was okay.
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The airline let us off the plane and into some small airport for an hour. It had one bar. Let’s say no one felt any pain by the time we re-boarded. This crazy flight taught me NEVER to panic in a scary situation, because dealing with people who did was just awful. If we had to make critical decisions like the passengers on board the flight that landed on the Hudson River in 2009, I’m not sure some could have calmed down enough to get off.
Not panicking is the NUMBER ONE safety tip, according to award winning national airline safety expert Alan E. Diehl, PhD. His top10 tips for “Ways to Protect Yourself While Flying” cover things we all wonder like, “Do those seat cushions really float?” and, “Does where you sit in the plane really matter?”
We'll go through Alan's entire list for you -- so you can print and save it!