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Today I flew from Paris Orly to Nice and right as the engines were starting to wind up, the hip guy next to me did a big sign of the cross and started praying feverishly. Wondering if he knew something I didn’t I started to get worried, but then I realized it was just his way of ensuring that the flight took off without incident.
When I mentioned it to friends, they all started telling me their rituals which I found fascinating. One of my friends actually counts the seconds of the takeoff roll until the wheels leave the ground (he’s confident that as long as it is around 30 seconds all is fine). Another sings his favorite song until the plane is above the clouds.
Me? I simply watch with fascination and am thankful for the miracle of flight and that I’m able to see parts of the world that people would only dream of being able to see. Actually, I’m usually busy trying to find a good photo to upload to my Instagram- my takeoff/landing pictures of iconic skylines are among my most “liked” photos.
Even though I’ve had some insane flights, like the Air Canada flight 7 years ago from Toronto to LaGuardia where in the middle of a wicked snowstorm I actually thought it was going to crash after severe (read: grown men screaming) turbulence and two aborted landings. But I still get more nervous driving on I-95 or crossing a busy avenue in NYC- at least with planes you have a relatively high standard of protocol and experience, unlike terra firma (at least in the US) where people can buy automatic weapons, but not certain foods that the government deems too “dangerous”.
Just curious what other rituals people had and whether the frequent flyers out there still have anxious moments when the airplane is rolling down the runway.