Before I even stepped off the plane, two suspected hijackers, an hour of questioning by police, and a U.S. air marshal who looked strikingly similar to an extremely muscular John C. Reilly kicked off my journey to London.
Yes, you saw that correctly, a large John C. Reilly look-a-like.
Upon arriving at the airport in Chicago for departure, I realized that I was randomly sitting next to another girl (remember, there are 18 of them, and one of me) from my study abroad trip. Little did I know that her and I would be involved in arguably the most absurd experience of my life.
On the aircraft, Jenner Smith and I were comfortably situated behind two men. The first six hours and two minutes of the flight were very uneventful, aside from the occasional old person strolling across the aisle and slamming into my knee (seriously, just watch where you’re going), and the Spanish version of Moneyball (not nearly as good as the English version).
But the final 58 minutes of the flight turned out to be nerve-racking, exciting, and a somewhat terrifying experience.
I could not sleep throughout this flight. I would force myself to shut my eyes, as boredom of trying to transcribe Pelota Dinero, and the frustration of restless passengers using my knee as a bumper put me in an overtired state of mind.
I opened my eyes and looked up.
There stood a man, towering over my bruised knee. Check that, a beast. He was some type of shrek like-big foot creature. He looked like John C. Reilly in Anger Management when he was a monk.
Through my sound blocking headphones, I heard him howl (remember, beast), “YOU, GET UP. AND YOU, YOU’RE COMING WITH.”
For a second, I thought he was talking to me, which maybe would not have been a bad thing, as it would have given my dented knee a breather.
But no, he was talking to the two guys sitting in front of me. Throughout the six hours and two minutes, these men were acting very sketchy. Not only did they lean their chairs all the way back, forcing their torsos into my life, but also it was clearly noticeable that they were acting a little strange. They constantly kept getting out of their seats to check their baggage during odd hours of the flight, and would disappear multiple times in the back of the aircraft (which would mean they either have weak bladders, like to keep each other company in the bathroom, or something else that nobody wants to think about).
When John C. Reilly^100 power pulled them out of their seats, weak bladders and awkward bathroom company were immediately ruled out.
I remember the first thought that came to my mind. It was distinct and clear. Short to the point. Not over thought or nonchalant.
Suddenly, the old lady scuff marks on my knee did not bother me anymore, I turned off Pelota Dinero, and was suddenly being entertained in a way that I was not so sure I liked.
Following their immediate departure, two Jose Canseco like air marshals feverously began to shine flashlights at the seats, their luggage, and anything that had to do with John C. Yeti’s victims.
This process continued for the next 25 minutes.
My heart has never beaten faster. To give you an idea, my heart was beating as often as clumsy passengers kept bumping into my knee.
During this time, I looked in the back to see if I could see anything, but John C. Sasquatch had them in his secret lair.
I distinctly remember seeing that another passenger was watching Friends, so I thought I would distract myself with 90s sitcom comedy whilst air marshals, who would certainly be banned in major league baseball, tore through the area that was literally inches from my face.
As we got to the 10-minute mark in landing, the air marshals sat the two men back in their seats.
It was at this point that Jenner Smith awoke, and turned to me and said that we were almost there. She had zero idea of what just happened, and I figured I would just wait until the flight was over to tell her of my bruised knee. And the thing about the flashlights and air marshals.
As the plane landed, they demanded over the loudspeakers that everyone must remain seated, and that police were coming onto the plane. As they entered, an air marshal told the two suspects that they would be questioned in a secured location within the airport, and they were forced from the aircraft while puzzled passengers who sat farther ahead in the plane watched in confusion.
Following their shameful walk, it was reported over the loudspeakers that rows 1-19 could evacuate the plane. We were row 33.
A police officer, who sounded like he was from London, approached Jenner and I, and politely told us that since we were the closest to the incident, that we were not allowed to leave the aircraft until we were fully questioned.
This took one hour.
The officers moved us up to first class (in which their seats were cushioned and reclined, and fully protected your knees) and asked us very detailed questions about the incident.
I told them what I saw, and while this was going on, the British swat team and bomb-sniffing dogs roamed the aisles.
While I could not get a definite answer, from what I was told, the men sitting in front of us were suspected hijackers. U.S. airways supposedly contacted the aircraft mid-flight to alert them of the suspects, which sprung John Me Hungry into action, and the remaining roided marshals.
We also overheard policemen saying that they confiscated SOMETHING from the suspects, and that it was detained immediately.
After an hour of playing 21 questions, me, Jenner, and my shattered knee left the aircraft, jumped on our bus, and headed out to West Kensington.
What a way to start this journey.
Brendan ‘My Knee Kills’ Meyer