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The School of Flaunt

Back when "Flying Was Fun" Alexandra Smythe and Cate Clarke were Flight Attendants with a Major International Carrier. Prior to Private Jets coming into vogue, Alexandra and Cate traveled in the First Class World, meeting and greeting the top celebrities, politicians who would become Presidents, nouveau riche, and yes the occasional Headline Grabbing Criminal in Handcuffs!

What the two ladies viewed and experienced became fodder for the School of Flaunt, so much money, such bad taste and oh those terrible manners. Something had to be done! Hence, The School of Flaunt Handbook was born. Read More

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Pan Am Flashback - I'm Going to Die in Entebbe!

Category: SOF Divas’ Diaries ®  |  Permalink

Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Pan Am Flash Back"


I'm going to die in Entebbe!

Well, Sunday evening arrived and I sat back with my glass of red wine wondering what memories would be stirred up with the latest Pan Am program.

The crew had to make an emergency landing for a passenger that was having a heart attack. Yes, I had the flash back "episodes" immediately to an epileptic seizure, insulin shock, miscarriage, hyper ventilation, people fainting and many more. As Cate would say, "Good times."

And the woman who was concerned about missing her flight to somewhere else. Oh yes, that happened too. Except it was a man that was ticked off because he couldn't get to his carryon bag because the paramedics were attending to a passenger who had gone into insulin shock! So sorry sir, I know it is all about you!

But let me tell you another true story. My husband and I were going on a picture taking safari in Kenya and Tanzania. We had flown over to London and had spent a few days and then were taking a foreign carrier (which I will not identify) to Nairobi which made stops in Rome and Entebbe. Our travel agent had told us not to get off of the plane in Entebbe since they didn't like Americans.

From London to Rome was basically uneventful. I had told one of the flight attendants that I had a broken seat back that wouldn't stay in a locked position for takeoff and landing and it needed to be fixed in Rome. Not a problem on that leg of the trip because I could move to the center seat next to my husband.

Well, we land in Rome and no mechanic ever comes on board to fix the seat. The plane was going to be full from Rome to Entebbe and sure enough a man appears who has the center seat assignment. Not being a fool, I suggested that he take my aisle seat and I would sit next to my husband. He seemed delighted with that and plopped himself down. Seat back not staying in a locked position didn't seem to faze him at all.

So now we take off for Entebbe. It was late in the evening and most of the passengers dozed off after the meal service. I had made a trip to the lav and saw both of the flight attendants were asleep in their jump seats! Oh perfect! Especially after I had looked at the In-flight magazine that was bragging on how well trained their cabin crews were! And even better yet, I had noted that they had cartons of soft drinks piled up in front of the exit doors! This is where ignorance is bliss. I unfortunately was not ignorant and had come to the conclusion that if we made it to Nairobi I might be staying there permanently for fear of getting on another plane!

O.K., but it gets better. As we approach Entebbe we are flying into a terrible rain storm. It was literally like someone was outside throwing buckets of water at the windows. The rain was pounding the plane! Of course, everyone is asleep including my husband and I was reading the same paragraph over and over again in my book. The plane was black inside except for my reading light. No emergency lighting had been turned on for landing as it should have been by the "well' trained flight attendants. To say I was slightly anxious would be putting it mildly. In fact I was convinced that we were probably going to meet our maker soon!

The plane was shaking and rolling; my husband stirs at one point and says, "What's going on?" I wanted to tell him that we were probably going to die in Entebbe but why do that. Let him die in peace was what was screaming through my mind at that point. So I just said, "Oh nothing honey go back to sleep." Which I might add that he did! Back to rereading that same paragraph.

Now, I'm the only one on the entire plane who seems to be awake at this point. The flight attendants had not even bothered to come through the cabin to check on us, nor as I said, turned on any interior lights for landing. And then it happened! We aborted our landing!

What does that mean? We were close to the runway for landing and then all of a sudden the Captain pulls up the nose and we start going back up rapidly! Now what went through my mind is not repeatable. I was sure we were going to die now! Does my husband wake up - NO!

Well, the Captain goes back for a second try and this time we land! OMG, terra firma! But we are in Uganda! And the travel agent said, "Do not get off of the plane!"

Many of the passengers deplaned at this time and I got up to stretch my legs. Would you believe my husband was still sleeping? I walked to the open back door for some fresh air. Now you have to picture an airport that is the size of a postage stamp. So obviously there are no jet ways. The rain is pouring down and I peered out to see a 6'5' man in Army fatigues with a machine gun! Yikes! I'm not getting off of this plane!

Well, end of story we finally get to Nairobi and have the best vacation of our lives with another couple who was meeting us there.

I might add that she was also a flight attendant and the first thing she said to me when we met in Nairobi was, "How was your flight? My God I was scared to death on mine, I thought it was the end! And now we all have to fly back together on that carrier."

Picture us nine days later: My girlfriend is sitting across the aisle from me on the plane. The captain revives up the engines. She looks at me and I look at her. Both of us are rolling our eyes now! She extends her hand out to me and we hold hands across the aisle as the plane takes off down the runway. The good news was we didn't have to stop in Entebbe on our way to Rome! There was a God! And we still laugh about this today.

Moral of the story: Fly on American carriers!!


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