Its been over four years and I think I can handle some questions. Be kind to me, I'm still dealing with PTSD.

EDIT: Sorry guys, I created throwaway instead. Here is my proof (I hope its enough)

EDIT 2: sorry about the misspell in the post. I'm a little nervous about this.

EDIT 3: In case anybody is curious about my name, the airline refuses to call it a crash, instead what we survived was a "Runway Excursion."

EDIT 4: Thank you for all the questions so far. This is actually turining out to be a great experience for me. You guys are awesome.

EDIT 5: I'm going to bed now. Thank you for all your questions. Keep posting more if you'd like. I'll get to them as soon as I can. You've all been great.

EDIT 6: If anyone as anymore questions just leave them here and I'll answer throughout the day. I'll be at work but I'll have a couple of breaks.

Comments: 101 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

misterbayan15 karma

What was going through your mind the moment you realized something wasn't right? I fly often and thankfully nothing like this has ever happened to me. But the fear is always hidden behind the calmness.

RunwayExcursion25 karma

At first I surveyed the plane to see what was going on. I was terrified. It quickly got very violent and the panels above our heads fell. I clung on very hard to my seat.

My thoughts were; I need to get off this plane. Don't panic. Don't freak out. You need to do what you're told to be safe. My worst moment was when I noticed the plane was on fire. The woman next to me was blocking my way out, she was digging for her purse under the seat in front of her and would not move no matter how much I pushed and shoved. I though I was going to die trapped behind this lady.

Edit: I hope you you never have to go through that. Keep flying, I do.

misterbayan8 karma

Thanks for replying. I usually have thoughts of what I would do if anything like this ever happened, but I usually try to brush those thoughts away immediately and sleep or watch a movie to get my mind off the idea. It's not going to stop me from flying. I know things happen and thankfully nowadays stuff like this has been less common.

RunwayExcursion8 karma

You're welcome. Honestly, I do the same. I watch a movie, I go on a run. Think of all the places you couldn't go if there weren't plane. Shit happens, it usually happens to me. So I think you're safe. :P

OooEeeOooAhAh4 karma

You run on airplanes?

RunwayExcursion3 karma

Lol, yes. I guess in my case I think about that kind of stuff when I'm not necessarily on a plane so when I do I run or bike or something. I can't let myself wallow, if I do, there is a dark, dark hole waiting.

misterid4 karma

did you dot that bitch's eye?


RunwayExcursion12 karma

Oh, I considered it. I shook her pretty roughly and she didn't budge. I wonder if she was just in shock or something.

NurseAngela12 karma

For the lazy:

and <3. I'm already a horrible flyer I can't imagine what it would be like to be in a crash, stay strong.

RunwayExcursion3 karma

Thank you. You as well. Keep flying, I still do.

brekeke11 karma

Will you receive a moneybag?

RunwayExcursion15 karma

As in did I join a lawsuit? Yes, I did do that. But only after 3 months of being on the phone for 3 hours a day with various representatives and hospitals and what not to get my bills paid, while working part time and going to school part time.

I broke down into tears from the stress in the middle of school

budchase6664 karma

How much do you expect to receive? (Or have you already received)

Also, do you have a lifetime pass now?

RunwayExcursion11 karma

I cannot discuss money. I will say that I'm not incredibly rich. I've had enough to get a car I feel safe in and pay off medical bills and get some treatment.

I do not have a lifetime pass. They only thing they offered in that area was a "frist class to any Continental destination within the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean during the next twelve months."

Edit: Fixed it.

rainman410 karma

I will say that I'm incredibly rich. I've had enough to get a car I feel safe in and pay off medical bills and get some treatment.

Supposed to be "I'm not incredibly rich"?

RunwayExcursion7 karma

Yes, sorry about that. I'll fix it.

ojay126 karma

Sort of ironic they offered you another plane ticket after your plane crashed, no? As if you'd be in the mood to fly in the next 12 months

RunwayExcursion10 karma

Also, my original destination was not included in the options they initially gave me. So it was extra useless. Sort of like a slap in the face. I called them and actually scoffed at how preposterous their offer was.

malvoliosf2 karma

Also, my original destination was not included in the options they initially gave me.


Did you ever get where you were actually going?

RunwayExcursion3 karma

I went in May after the accident. I got married in July.

brekeke8 karma

Apart from the involuntary effects of PTSD, are you consciously looking on the bright side of life by now? You absolutely should, and there are SSRI's for the former.

RunwayExcursion5 karma

I am. About a year after the accident I had gained over 25 pounds, which added to my back pain and depression and back to the back pain. I got fed up, started working out and changed my diet. Though I am not in perfect shape, I can honestly that I am in better shape than I was before the crash and much happier for it. My depression is under control without medication. I'm happily married (I had just gotten engaged and was going home to plan the wedding). I could go on for a while about all this, but I learned I can survive a plane crash and be a lot stronger for it.

ParkYu6 karma

what happened right after the accident??

RunwayExcursion7 karma

I jumped of the plane. There was no slide as I was going out the back and it was so close to the ground we could hop off. I helped a lady off and ran for dear life. We all went up a snowy hill and that's when I finally pulled my phone out and allowed myself to look back. As I called my fiance I started balling. I was trying to explain what had just happened and he couldn't make sense of it until I repeated it several times. We went into a firehouse that was thankfully very close to us. I searched my phone for a way to call my parents (I didn't have a smart phone and my parents live out of country). I finally found one of my mom's cousins and called him so he could call my parents. He tried to convince me not to call the so soon after, I'm pretty sure he was as much in shock as I was. Once my parents called and we talked for a bit I calmed down and my back started hurting. They took me to the back room where all the injured people were waiting. I was laid on a gurney and an firefighter put his coat over me because I was shaking. Finally in the ambulance I chatted with the attendant, and my parents, grandparents and uncles started calling me. It was kind of comedic considering I was trying to answer questions about my pain when I kept getting frantic calls. At the hospital they x-rayed me, checked me and gave me pain killers. By then my fiance and his family arrived and I felt so vulnerable on the gurney in front of them. He took me to his parents where I spent the next 6 or so days in shock, watching Pushing Daisies and sleeping. That night I didn't sleep much. The airline told me it would take something like 2 weeks to get me my stuff. I thought that was cool, my in laws on the other hand did not. I got all my stuff back in batches, destroyed by chemical washing. The remnants of gifts for my cousins. The mere thought of that makes my blood boil.

I could go on more. But that sums up the immediate or so.

kiwispouse5 karma

how did the staff handle it? were they open/honest about what was happening? or did you have to suffer in silence and just wait for whatever came next?

RunwayExcursion8 karma

There was no warning before the crash. The plane started shaking as if going through turbulence, but we were still on the ground. Suddenly we were being shaken more and more violently. Then a sudden stop. I did not see staff until I approached the door behind me. They did their job and they did great considering the circumstances. I stayed seated hoping for guidance but none came, I tried to get out when a pile of people was by my seat (I was towards the back). I was trapped for a while (seconds? minutes? I don't know). I was finally able to get out, which meant the flight attendant by the door was doing her job. They were awesome.

toekneetigre5 karma

What was it like to get on a plane again after you recovered?

RunwayExcursion9 karma

My frist flight I took xanax and passed out. I haven't fully recovered in that area. I still can't drive in windy conditions. The wind is one of my biggest triggers.

Every flight is different. I usually take meds but I'm trying to not do that as much because its not the most comfortable feeling to be on xanax, yeah, my heart isn't racing but my mouth is dry and deep down, I know exactly where I am and what it reminds me of.

OooEeeOooAhAh8 karma

I have always thought that a takeoff in an airplane is one of the most intense things a person in our society can experience. For some reason, it doesn't get to a lot of people, but I get a huge rush when I hear those engines spool up. My heart races too; it usually takes a couple of minutes after takeoff for me to calm down.

RunwayExcursion9 karma

Despite the fact that I can no longer enjoy it as I used to, I find take of and landing the funnest part of flying. I always chose a window seat, seeing the world shrink and come closer is amazing!

secondapril4 karma

When did the passengers know the plane was going to crash? Was it chaotic on board? I hope the best for you and thank you for being open for questions.

RunwayExcursion10 karma

I can't speak for all the passengers but I knew something was wrong pretty soon. The plane started shaking as we were gaining speed ont he runway. I thought to myself, "we're not even in the air, why would there be turbulence?"

secondapril4 karma

I don't mean to have you relive the experience, but sometimes it is good to let things out so they stop weighing us down. where were you sitting in the plane? which section of the plane were the most people injured?

RunwayExcursion7 karma

I talk about it quite often actually. Its never a pleasant experience. But I don't expect it to be and I have no problem doing it. I'd be curious too if I was in your position.

I was in the back of the plane, by the window. The front of the plane was the most affected. I don't know much, but they got most of the smoke when the fire started.

At first I hated being in the back of the plane because I was so close to the bathroom and it smelt like pee. I never complain about shit like that anymore.

EDIT: took out my seating number.

rainman44 karma

Did you take another flight home or drive? I can't imagine getting on a plane anytime soon after something like this. But at the same time, that drive would suck, too.

RunwayExcursion3 karma

I did not have to take a flight home. They offered another flight to get to my destination but I could not bring myself to get on another plane. I was traveling alone and incredibly vulnerable. Thankfully my fiance at the time came to pick me up at the hospital where they took me.

Poor guy, got quite the phone call when he got home from dropping me off at the airport.

this_or_this3 karma

How was the experience with the FAA? did you get interviewed by them for the crash report?

RunwayExcursion10 karma

The FAA did not directly interview me for the report. I did however depose once, they said it would only take no more than 3 hours, it took 5. The lawyer deposing me was going crazy, he kept trying to make me answer what he wanted by changing the questions and rewording stuff. I kept answering the same information. I finally told him, you can ask me this stuff all day, I'm going to keep answering the same thing, all day. It was so painful. But I had some sense of success when he ran his fingers through his hair as a sign of desperation.

this_or_this3 karma

Well done. Was he asking about the crash or your injuries? I assume he was trying to get answers that would make the airline look better.

RunwayExcursion7 karma

He was talking about the injuries and about the crash. One of the points he kept pressing on was the fact that I'd been on at least 10 flights since the accident. I kept telling him that I didn't have much of a choice considering my family lives out of country and I'm not going to stop visiting just because I'm scared, that doesn't diminish the fact that it is a very tough experience every time and the whole experience has changed my life.

You are correct, they wanted to look as least guilty as possible. My opinion on the whole matter is; I'm sure nobody crashed the plane on purpose but mistakes were made, consequences happened and someone has to take responsibility, buck up like the rest of us.

EDIT: I hold no grudges against the pilots.

this_or_this2 karma

I think your attitude is completely understandable. And, frankly, as an aerospace engineer, the explanation for the crash is very unsatisfactory. I would be much angrier than you seem to be. The wiki indicates that the black box recording stopped working seconds before the crash which seems absurd to me. I would probably rage all my life because of that.

RunwayExcursion13 karma

This response seriously wants to make me cry. I was extremely hesitant about doing this AMA because after the crash as a whole we felt attacked by the general public. We were branded as gold diggers for suing and whiners because we were alive and we should be happy for that. Seriously, thank you for understanding. I was very angry and I still am sometimes. I was just engaged and going home to celebrate and plan my wedding. My whole family had planned a trip to the beach in my honor, grandparents, uncles, cousins and what not. They all went without me because I couldn't bring myself to get on a plane. That's the part that infuriates/breaks my heart the most. Thank you HUG

brekeke3 karma

Do you still bond with the others? In or out of courtrooms?

RunwayExcursion5 karma

We never actually went to court. I did however make friends with another survivor through a random series of connections. We are very good friends and have gone through a lot together.

I would love to meet and connect with other people from the crash.

hypedupdawg2 karma

How did the evacuation of the plane go? How many people remembered where the exits where, what to do in a crash etc., and how many people just blind panicked?

Could you remember the safety briefing you'd been given before takeoff at all?

RunwayExcursion3 karma

The evacuation was quick (from what I remember, it could not have taken more than 15-20 minutes).

Most people panicked. I stayed seated and waited for someone to tell me what to do. Before I knew it there was a pile of people at my isle (I was 2 rows from the exit), I thought I would never get out. The lady beside me kept digging for her purse under the seat in front of her. I kept trying to get her to move, to the point where I was shoving her but she would not budge. A man finally saw my situation and pulled her out and helped us both out. I've flown many times and I know the basic evacuation procedure, I like to believe I did what I could to make the evacuation go as smoothly as possible.

mduell2 karma

The evacuation was quick (from what I remember, it could not have taken more than 15-20 minutes).

Is that a typo? It shouldn't have been more than a few minutes.

RunwayExcursion1 karma

You know, I don't really know. I just guessed how long it would take to get so many people out in a situation like that and put that with what I remember. The passing of time is so weird in a situation like that, I almost remember it like a movie; from shot to shot to shot. It could have been just a few minutes indeed.

MonkeySteriods2 karma

This ladies and glentlemen is why you should turn your electronics off and keep your tray table upright on landing and take off.

Those who don't won't be paying attention to situations like this.

EDIT: Sorry to the op that I felt the need to include this, but people not paying attention make things worse for everyone. Phones start flying when an incident like this happens.

RunwayExcursion1 karma

I'm sorry. Why exactly are you mentioning this? For general information? Or in response to a certain comment?

MonkeySteriods3 karma

Its because people bitch/moan, and refuse to cooperate with the FA's request [and FAA's mandate] to turn off all electronics, store all items, , and keep the tray table down during take off and landing. People will fight to the death to claim theres "no justification" for doing so. But in the situation you were in people need to be aware of whats going on. Take offs and landings can be incredibly dangerous.

RunwayExcursion1 karma

Gotcha. I completely agree.

futureispresent2 karma

Suing the airline for inadequate pilot training/experience is valid, no matter what pretty letter they send you, corporations don't care about ethics and safety, the only motivating factor they have to change their safety practices is the financial impact.. i.e lawsuits. Good for you.

RunwayExcursion4 karma

This is indeed the fact of the matter. I did not want to sue. I wanted to go on with my life and forget about it. But it became such a huge issue to even get my belonging back that it felt like a second job. I couldn't handle it and they didn't give a rats ass about us. In the end the cashed a hefty claim on their aircraft which was, well, in pieces. That's all they cared about.

EDIT: always lawyer up. Not for the money, but because they will first and then they have corporate insurance companies to stand behind them. We're but mere flies to them.

taytermuffin2 karma

Since nobody asked, what was the worst injury someone sustained from the crash?

You're a strong lady for being able to talk about this :) And I love your responses to the assholes on this post, they make me laugh.

RunwayExcursion1 karma

I'm not really sure what the worst injury was. I know for sure there were a couple of broken bones and some pretty bad respiratory issues due to the smoke.

Thank you! As I mentioned before I was a little hesitant as to how I would react to an AMA about this and how people would react to me. I'm honestly surprised at how therapeutic this has been and how I feel towards the assholes making comments. I'm ok. I still have some bad reactions, but I'm able to manage them a lot better. I'm really thankful for that.

prettycountrygirl2 karma

I am so glad you are alright! but i was wondering if it wont cause a PTSD flair up if you could tell me what all happened? Like example: we took off... the plane started to shake... it started going down... and like what was going through your head? what was every one else doing?

I am fascinated/terrified of planes... and plane crashes.

Edit: Did you get into the air???

RunwayExcursion10 karma

Here is how it all went down, blow by blow.

I was flying alone. I sat towards the very back of the plane, by the window. There was an older lady next to me and a younger girl on the isle seat. As I sat down I realized I was so close to the bathroom it smelled like pee, I hated it. But I settled in and started reading my book. The plane was pretty full so it took a while to get everyone settled. Once we were all settled it took a while for us to leave the gate. I looked out my window and noticed the ground was pretty icy. I shrugged it off, I figured the pilots knew what they were doing. We finally started moving and were on the runway for a while, I assume we were making our way to the runway we were using. I still noted that it was taking quite a long time. Again, I shrugged it off. The plane finally started gaining speed. I usually look out the window to enjoy take off, but it was dark and there isn't much to see out by DIA. The plane sped up for a long while, I thought it was a bit odd. Then, the plane started shaking, very much like turbulence and that's when I knew something was wrong. We weren't in the air at that point. I can't confirm or deny whether we got in the air, but it felt like we were airborne for just a bit while shaking and then we slammed down and as we skidded across the runway the panels above us fell and the masks came down. I clung onto my armrests for dear life. One last slam down as we fell into the ravine and a sudden stop. I looked up and see what was going on. The lights were off, nobody seemed to be moving at first. Then all of the sudden people were jumping out of their seats and heading for the exits. I kept telling myself to wait, to wait for instructions on how to get out safely. Then there was a pile up right where my exit from my isle was. That's when I feared for my life. I clapped my hands together and asked God to get me out of here safely. The cluster of people by my exit had diminished and I attempted to get out. The lady next to me was folded over digging for her purse. I told her we need to go, the plane is on fire. She tells me she needs to get her purse. I sit and look down at my shit and try to decide whether I should grab my stuff considering I'm trapped either way. I decide that just my phone is all I need and turn to start shaking the lady next to me. At this point I'm panicked. She is not moving, she insists on getting her purse which she is obviously not going to find. I look up and make eye contact with a guy who somehow understands my predicament. He reaches our isle and helps the lady up. He holds her back so I can get out first and follow me. At the door the flight attendant is helping people out. I notice the slide isn't deployed, its stuck because we're so close to the ground. I hop out and turn around to help the lady hop off the plane onto the snowy ground. Once I confirmed she was off the plane and well on her way away from it I started running. I didn't want the plane to blow up and kill me along the way. I regret not helping her up the hill, but everyone got out safe. I ran and when I felt I was at a safe distance I picked out my phone and called my fiance. I broke down and finally allowed myself to take the situation in...

clocks_1 karma

Do you play any musical instruments?

RunwayExcursion4 karma

I can play a song on guitar that you probably have never heard of.

I can play the intro to For Elise by Bethoven on the piano.

And I can play Mary had a Little Lamb on the flute.

[deleted]-2 karma


RunwayExcursion5 karma

1 horse sized duck. 100 duck sized horses sounds like too many little horses to worry about. I imagine that 100 duck sized horse bites would hurt like a bitch.

not_very_nice_at_all-2 karma

Was it annoying when all the weird shit starting piling on top of itself on the island without being explained or did you just sort of go with the flow, like everybody else?

RunwayExcursion5 karma

I actually was one of the ones that joined the others soon after the crash.

captain_obvious_scum-9 karma

Do you blame the pilot now? DO YOU HATE HIS GUTS??

RunwayExcursion10 karma

I don't blame the pilot at all. I was in the room with the pilots after the accident. I could see they were destroyed. I regret not approaching them to give them a hug. The weight of all those people in their hands, I can't even imagine.

KyleGG-12 karma

So as I see it, no one died, and you're suffering PTSD? It seems most people walked away unharmed. For what it looks like, it seems almost silly to suffer a stress disorder, more likely its being made up to be something larger than it is.

RunwayExcursion3 karma

As far as I know most of us suffer from PTSD. But that seems to water to down, I have nightmares about it even today. On windy days I have severe panic attacks, I can't even drive. I was on meds that killed my sex drive during our first year of marriage. I have pretty bad back pain that affects my daily life. Every day I work hard so that I can heal it and keep it strong. I know that here were some broken ankles, as well as respiratory complications due to the smoke. I have a friend from the crash who doesn't think she'll ever get on a plane again. And all that is just scratching the surface.

Sure, it was a stroll around the park.

KyleGG-6 karma

Well just reading what you wrote describes the problem to me. You're holding onto it so tightly and reading too much into it.

RunwayExcursion3 karma

Yeah, cause the plane crashing, that wasn't a problem at all.

KyleGG-2 karma

On takeoff. You didn't fall from 20,000ft. Listen to yourself, that Is the exact attitude that gave you PTSD.

Now_My_Watch_Begins2 karma

"Hey, you survived, nothing else matters. Let it go!" ಠ_ಠ

Have you ever been through anything remotely traumatizing?

Your inability to even think about sympathizing makes me think you've been pretty sheltered. Count yourself lucky for that.

Don't assume everyone is overreacting to everything for sympathy or a payout.

KyleGG-1 karma

Yes I have, my mother was a raging alcoholic and she abused me as a child. She passed away along with all of my grandparents. He has the completely wrong attitude to the situation and as a result he will never move on.

Just the way he describes the events show that he could be right there, right now. He emphasises little details like they matter any more. They dont.

RunwayExcursion2 karma

Honey, first of all. I'm a girl. Second of all, I did an AMA so that people could ask the questions and learn about the details first hand. The fact that I have a good memory and can actually do an AMA without breaking down is a testament to the fact that I've not only recovered in a lot of ways but have become stronger than I was before. Yes, PTSD still haunts me. Yes, I still have panic attacks. I also do whatever is in my power to move along, to recover and keep moving forward.

You know nothing KyleGG.

jakobsmommy-16 karma

Wasn't everybody a survivor?

RunwayExcursion33 karma

Yes. That doesn't make me not a survivor.

billalphonso-24 karma

You got paid for sliding off the runway? That's not as bad as being a survivor of the SS Andrea Doria.

RunwayExcursion24 karma

Yeah. If you lift up your arms its like a roller coaster.

You're an ass.