© 2014 MJL

Welcome to Oakland

My POTR tour started at 4 am.  The flight for Denver took off as planned at 6:00 AM.  As soon as we were above the bay we began bounce around and the pressure seemed extreme our ears exploding with each bounce.  The lady next to me said, “they are going to have to land this, they cannot continue this the entire flight.” I gave her the no shit look.  Not to long after that exchange we seemed to level out and the pilot came over the loudspeaker and explained in a bored voice,  “having some difficulty finding the optimum air space.”   He went on to explain that as soon as they do they will begin beverage service.   The reprieve didn’t last long, minutes later I began to feel the pressure again in my head as the plane bobbed up and down.  The captain again came over the speaker  just as the oxygen masks were released from the ceiling, he explained that they have an issue with the cabin pressure and that if we needed we could make use of the oxygen masks to be more comfortable.  Since I am very paranoid of germs in airplanes, I began a debate about using the mask.  I weighed  the possibility of when the last time the masks could have possibly dropped and the length of time any germs could live on the masks.  It was unfortunate that I never considered the masks  were probably disposable.  I ended the debate with the premise that if it was a necessity it would not have been offered up as an option rather the captain would have ordered us to wear them, therefore I would pass on the oxygen.

I don’t know how much time elapsed but the ear pressure was all I could concentrate on.  I looked over at my husband he was also struggling, in fact the call buttons were ringing all through the plane like music. Before I knew it I was having difficulty breathing, I went for the masks dangling overhead, pulled on it, put it up to my nose and mouth to try to get some air but it felt like nothing was coming out. I listen to the pre flight instructions every time I fly, I even count the seats to both exits as if I am going to remember the number of seats after we have a crash landing…the point being is  that I pay attention.  On one flight I attracted the  concern of the air Marshall who questioned me about what I was doing. I know that the flight staff says that the oxygen bags do not inflate, but I’m here to tell you they should. Once something like the on board air pressurization breaks you have your doubts that anything on board works. I tried to keep calm but I think I was panicking I kept taking the mask on and off, I was in a complete sweat. I rang my call button in symphony with the rest and the flight attendant made her appearance and assured me it was working to just breathe…she felt me and I think she decided I needed more help, she told me  that she would stay with me 2 seconds later she was gone. The captain made a sharp turn and announced we would be diverting to the Oakland airport.

When we came in view of the runway my seat companion pointed to the emergency vehicles coming towards us in the window. The plane with all of it’s fuel and full of my over packed carry ons came to a halted stop without incident. The captain came back on to announce we would be de boarding and re boarding another flight as soon as they could get it ready.  Once safe on the ground all I could think of was how I was going to make Jim late for Taos sound check.

Welcome to Oakland and thank you for flying Southwest Airlines.