My Insane Flight to the Dominican Republic

Before writing about my time on Dominican Republic’s beautiful northern coast, I need to cover one thing: the crazy flight I took to arrive there. The flight itself was painless. It was on time, direct and my luggage arrived intact and unscathed. But the editorial from my 5 hours in the air? Much to tell, and a good amount of the hilarity can be boiled down to one thing:

my flight to the dominican republic included a lot of rum

Alcohol Makes for a Crazy Flight to the Dominican Republic

Before boarding, the woman in front of me gets into an argument with the flight attendant about gate checking her bag. She won’t do it, and he insists she does. An olympic round of eye-rolling ensues, and she only agrees to check her carry-on after a talented swear-off with her sister. Of course, I sit directly in front of her. And of course she has several small children, each with a terrific set of lungs.

We take off. The man in front of me and his wife also have a baby and he is more vocal than the multitude of other infants on the plane combined. I steal a glance at the woman next to me, who tells me she is a teacher from Puerto Rico currently employed in the DR. Her head is in her hands and she’s breathing quickly. She shoots me a panicked look “I work with children every day. What happens if I hate them by the time this flight is over?” she says. I smile helplessly and offer her a piece of gum. “Maybe they’ll quiet down once we’ve been in the air for a few minutes?”

They don’t.

The man in front of me goes to the bathroom, yanking open the door only to find that the older woman inside hadn’t locked it. After she slams the door with a cry, he slinks back to his seat, embarrassed. She stops at his row on the way back to her own, yelling “how DARE you open the door on me!”

As though he did it on purpose.

He takes a long look at his wife, at his screaming child, at the others around us who are now looking at him and then drawls “you’re merely a campesina. You need to calm down”.

Everyone (including me) gasps audibly; calling an already angry Dominican woman a peasant does not seem wise whatsoever. It takes several flight attendants a good 10 minutes to wrestle her away from his seat and back to her own.

Meanwhile, the woman next to me has been sobbing quietly since we took off. I ask her what is wrong and she replies that she is headed home for a funeral, that she is sad to leave her grandchildren in New York and sad to have missed time with her now deceased friend. The boy next to her helpfully interrupts by telling me he is 18 and just finished his first visit to the States. And then smiles and takes out a bottle of rum. He and my seat-mate take a quick swig. They offer the bottle to me but I decline; showing up for my first press trip drunk seems like a bad idea.

Things quiet down for a few minutes and then we hit some turbulence, upsetting any tenuous balance on the flight. The rum comes out again, the children start screaming and the poor woman across the aisle starts mumbling swearwords under her breath. The flight attendant saunters over and offers to buy me some drinks. When I decline he offers (with a wink) to show me the DR “the Dominican way”. I happily tell him that I’m on a press trip and won’t have free time, but appreciate it – I really do.

And then the woman next to me starts making out with the kid to her right. That’s correct: he is 18, she’s already talked to me about her grandkids in NY and now they’re swapping spit at 35,000 feet.

At this point, I start jotting down some notes because this flight is too crazy not to write about.

We land to rousing applause. My seat-mates are now both crying and as the flight attendant yells “Bienvenidos al mas mejor país del mundo!” the entire plane cheers in response.

Before we even taxi to the gate, everyone is up and getting down their carry-ons, elbowing each other and jostling for space.

The door isn’t even open yet, and you would think they announced a prize for the first person off the flight. “Uno, dos, tres … VAMOS!” the flight attendant says triumphantly, and the plane collectively pushes toward the door and out into the humid night.

Ah, the Dominican.

Such a change from Asia.

41 thoughts on “My Insane Flight to the Dominican Republic”

  1. That’s hilarious! I might have found it hard to pass up a pull on the rum, though…

  2. OMG Jodi, this was the funniest post I’ve read in such a long time. I cannot BELIEVE those two were making out!!! Hysterical!

  3. Oh wow – that is insane! You must have just been standing there cracking up while all the other passengers shoved their way off the plane.

    The only interesting thing to ever happen to me on a flight aside from severe turbulence and gripping hands with a Jordanian woman was my flight from Amman to Cairo when an irate man yelled at a flight attendant for fifteen minutes about how he would do whatever he liked, whenever he liked while on the plane (I think he might have been smoking??) while she yelled back equally irate…but that’s small fry compared to this craziness!

  4. So funny but sadly true. I often try to be on my best behavior to try to balance out the crazies, I would not want to work for an airline. Well maybe for the free flights…

  5. @kevin @michael: Believe me, it was hard to pass up on the rum.

    @candice: between your stories and my stories, we ought to travel together….and then the world will spontaneously combust.

    If you click on “A flight like no other” in the suggested posts links above, you’ll see that I had a similar, crazier (but without the makeout session) flight from JFK to Moscow – but with vodka, not rum!

    Thanks for reading,

  6. Bro…that is a hilarious story…thanks for sharing…it was a great way to start my Monday morning! I love going to the DR…we support a pastor there and built a church, so we make at least two trips a year. It is an incredible place!

  7. Sometimes you just have to wonder… could it have been a hidden camera video show??

    Not nearly the same magnitude of crazy as your story, but I was once standing in the aisle mid-flight grabbing something out of my suitcase in the overhead bin when an older guy (e.g., ~70+) decided he needed to walk down the aisle right then. I had only been there for maybe 15 seconds and would have been done in another 10 seconds, but rather than waiting or asking to get by he did made the completely reasonable choice to grab me tightly be my hips from behind, pick me up off the ground and move me to the side. He didn’t say anything, just moved me–in a frighteningly intimate way.

    It happened so quickly and was so shocking that he was gone down the aisle before I could even begin to think of how to respond. It was probably 10 years ago, but still a vivid memory. Why?

    Thanks for the Monday morning entertainment, I guess lawyers CAN have fun :)

  8. I started to retell this story to Dan tonight over dinner and broke down laughing when I got to the part of the grandma & kid making out. Too many images going through my head.

    So, how was the flight back?

  9. Abso.



    They say that hell is other people. That’s a bit unfair as a generalization (I quite like other people myself) but when other people do turn out to be hell, you don’t want to be wedged into a sardine can with them for hours at a time. At least on trains you can do a runner to the buffet car for a while. Or, on cruise liners, throw yourself overboard.

    *Mike adds new entry to a list entitled “Things I Hate About Flying”*

  10. Enjoyable read and insane experience. To be fair, I think Sartre said “hell is other people” but he had some issues. :)

  11. @Ryan thanks for sharing your story. Definitely a different type of plane experience than mine! Yes, some of us can have fun – thanks for reading :)

    @Audrey interesting that you should ask. The return flight was fun as well: I sat next to a 20 year veteran of NYPD’s homicide detective squad and he regaled me with stories from his years of work. Fascinating – and with less rum!

  12. OMG – I laughed out loud… so loud and so long that a brief LOL is not worthy! so aweome! xxoo

  13. I love the way you wrote this up! (Found it via Twitter/Lonely Planet). Aside, maybe, from the couple making out, so many people would just have tensed up, joined the people crying or screaming – muchos cudos for seeing the amusing side! Reminds me of several flights back in the early days of living in the Canary Islands, when the only viable cheap flights to the UK were the leftovers on package tour trips. Brits behave in similar fashion when drunk, but not usually when sober!

  14. I thought this was a pretty notable flight BEFORE the grandma and the 18 year old starting making out. OMG! I’m so glad you took notes and shared with us. I can honestly say none of my flights have ever been this interesting. :-)

  15. This is just like the Spanish soap operas Kristin has been watching in Colombia, but in this instance we can actually understand the words. Great post, Jodi.

  16. Haha, wow, this definitely sounds like one of those “too-crazy-to-possibly-be-real” stories. I’m glad you decided to jot down some notes from your bizarre flight! It made for a very entertaining read.

  17. Thanks everyone! The JFK-Moscow flight was equally insane, but without the making out portion of this DR flight. It seemed like something out of a TV sitcom but made for a fun post!

  18. @Ryan: BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH!!! That little story made me laugh out loud for 5 minutes straight, I still don’t know why but probably because I can picture it, along with your shock in my head…hahaah…thanks for that!

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  21. Loving your twitter comments and blog Jodi. Random question – what are you using for your comments? Some alternative WordPress plugin? Much appreciated :)

      1. Ah, when I actually looked closely, yes it has to be. I think it’s your theme that threw me, the comments look quite nice and neat in this one :) Thanks for clearing that up!

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