It is so interesting to ask any travel lover “When and where was your first flight?” Some people have been flying since they were a child. Babies flying back and forth. Some remember their flight as a child or going on vacation with family.
My first flight ever happened at the most interesting time. My first flight in my life was a one-way flight in the first week of September 2001 (It could have also been the last few days of August, its a bit hazy).
Let’s give the background story:
In August 2001, my big brother started school at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. We packed up our SUV and drove him down from New Jersey to Atlanta (You know how my family loves to road trip). Fortunately, we made it to the campus; unfortunately, the car did not. We were able to figure things out due to my mother’s sister living in the city and booked a flight home. I was starting high school in just a matter of days and my parents had things to do at home.
Now the details of what TSA was like back then..but it was definitely different. Shoes stayed on. Brand new conditioner stayed in the bag. Easy as can be.
My parents gave me the window seat and I strapped in. I do not think I’d ever been more scared or nervous in my life. Everything was loud. The people talking. The announcements of the flight attendants. The sound of the plane moving across the tarmac. The take-off. All loud and scary. I gripped on to the armrest and closed my eyes. The pressure you feel on your body as the plane starts to lift off the runway is a new experience. But I made it. We got back to Philadelphia in one piece. I looked back at the plane and thought. That was super nerve-racking but fun.
Then just days later, our lives changed forever. Planes became a tool for destruction. Flying changed forever. I have now become a pro at TSA. I am confident and excited every time I fly. They still check my bun in my hair every time, the back of my bra, and sometimes my leg (I have metal in my ankle). It annoys me but I’m used to it. I don’t forget how 9/11 changed my life as a traveler. But I know that’s how it is and am grateful that it is my safety that they are concerned with.
–We won’t get into the issues around some racial profiling and discrimination that comes with some regulations and procedures. That’s for another post.–
I thank my parents’ poor SUV for breaking down. I might not have gotten on a plane for the first time until I was 17 years old. Years after 9/11. My first flight and how it became a past time in no time.