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My World First travel writing competition

My World First: Our travel writing competition returns

World First customer service administrator endures ‘flight from hell’.

Hands up if you remember My World First.

When we launched our monthly travel writing competition we had no idea how popular it would become. The sheer volume of fantastic entries bombarding our inbox each month eventually forced us to put things on hold while we worked out how best to share our customers’ travel tales.

We’re just applying some finishing touches to the new look competition. To help get things moving again, we asked members of our customer service team to submit their travel stories. (Nothing like a bunch of Amazon vouchers to stoke a little in-office rivalry.) The winning entry was written by Colin Cuppleditch, who endured what sounds like a truly terrifying flight to Crete in 2005.

Read on, if you dare.

Graduation holiday turns into flight from hell

Graduation holiday turns into flight from hellThe year was 2005; I had just graduated from University and was taking a break before heading out into the real world of hard work and utility bills.

It was my first holiday without my parents and I was joined by my best mate Russ, his soon-to-be wife Kate, and our friends Karen, Delyth, Melanie, Charlie and Zoe.

We all wore blue ‘Crete 2005’ t-shirts as we ran through the puddles outside a rainy Exeter Airport. The prospect of a week of sun, sea and sand seemed all the more appealing as I watched raindrops bounce on the shiny tarmac.

After take-off, we hit more than our fair share of turbulence, enough even put the frequent fliers on edge. Everybody was relieved when the pilot announced we were approaching our destination and prepared us for descent. With our nerves already at their limit the pilot made a second announcement.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts; oxygen masks will fall from above your heads. The second set of wheels is jammed. Please follow the instructions of the crew and enter the brace position” Images of the Final Destination films flashed through my mind, I was too young to die!

The pilot continued to explain his plan; descend then pull up sharply into an incline to free the wheels and jolt them into position.

In a moment of spontaneous fear my friends and I joined hands and began to sing. “Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning; Give me oil in my lamp I prey” the singing took our minds off the panic and other passengers joined in. Soon, the whole cabin was singing and holding hands as the plane swooped just above the ground.

We were now just a few feet above buildings and people below. Looking out the window, I caught a blurry glimpse of flashing lights and emergency vehicles readied and primed for disaster. The pilot pulled up fast and with a loud ‘clunk’ the wheels fell into position, he circled again and landed safely to rapturous applause.

A calm, familiar voice spoke as we pulled into the terminal “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Crete, the temperature outside is a scorching 32 degrees”.

Relief.

The rest of the holiday was a complete delight – except when I threw the laundry maid’s clean sheets in the rubbish by mistake but that’s another story.

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