United Airlines & the Writer

unitedWhen the video of United Airlines flight 3411 from Sunday April 9, 2017 surfaced I was curious because I had recently returned from a trip. Forty-eight hours before the incident, I flew the friendly skies.

Oh my!

As a writer, I’m always looking for fodder to feed my stories. After the “Oh my God!” and “What the heck!” moments passed, my mind automatically jumped to a conspiracy plot. This man had to be from a rival airline sent to tarnish United Airlines or make their stocks plummet. Or perhaps he was planted as a security test. He had to be, because what adult man would allow himself to be dragged like a stubborn toddler refusing to move?

My mind could not accept the fact that his man didn’t try to get to his feet. What a surreal video. Perhaps my conspiracy theory was influenced by my personal experience with the airline.

Spring break. One adult and three teens (feel my pain).

Leaving the house, my daughter felt nauseas. Nerves we thought. Wrong-oh so wrong. She started throwing up and continued to throw up through the one and a half hour flight, and then the layover. On the four hour flight from Chicago she couldn’t keep anything down.

On both these flights the four of us had been separated and sat in pairs. I sat with my extremely nervous thirteen-year-old.

The flight attendant worried about my sick child and found me. She wanted to find a doctor on board to have my daughter assessed.  The doctor was more than happy to help. My daughter was dehydrated and couldn’t even keep a sip of water down. Barf bags to the rescue! (Sorry United for using up your spring supply.)

My daughter’s heart rate was elevated. She was so pale her lips had no color. The flight attendant called ahead to the destination and had the EMTs on hand to evaluate my daughter thoroughly. Four Air Force paramedics, two airport firemen EMTs and two airport police greeted us and cared for my daughter. They took her sugar, blood pressure and even ran an EKG. Sitting in a wheelchair with electrodes and wires everywhere, she looked Borg. They wanted to send her to the hospital to get hydrated.


The first evening of our break was spent in the emergency room. Not the way I wanted to start my vacation, but the flight attendant was right. My daughter was very sick. She took two bags of IV fluids and anti-nausea medicine. We kept her hydrated and she had a great time for the remainder of the trip.

Did I mention I had a nervous thirteen-year-old? Turbulence. We had them both going out (my poor daughter), and coming back.

On April 7, 2017 the flight home the first leg was fine. We were seated together, but during the second leg, every single one of us was seated separately.  I asked the gate attendant if we could sit together. I explained about my anxious son and the other teens. Pairs were an option. She smiled and said, “Let me see what I can do.”

Fifteen minutes later, I had the new tickets. And guess what? We’d been upgraded. My son and I sat together, and the other two set directly behind us. Needless to say, I was happy with the flight and gate attendants. They performed admirably, and based on my experience, I will fly with them again.

What if the doctor on my daughter’s flight had been asked to leave? Would there have been another doctor? And off my mind goes… spinning.

This writer has loads of material to pull from. Both good and bad. Thanks, United Airlines.

2 thoughts on “United Airlines & the Writer

  1. I am so glad everything turned out well for you. Bless you and your family, my dear. I’ve had good fortune, too, except trying to traverse huge airports in little time. The people have always been nice. I think that poor doctor just faced idiots and felt justified in his actions.

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