In our final days and weeks living in Bali, everything seemed just a little, well, off. Things were happening a little differently. Restaurants we frequented for months were suddenly messing up our order. The super markets were out of good bananas. I couldn’t find parking in front of Buddha Mart. It was just the little things, but it was enough to make us roll our eyes and make comments about how Bali was ensuring we got the heck out.
The Air Asia Crash
Just a few days before we flew from Bali to Bangkok on Air Asia, we heard the news about the Air Asia crash. There was nothing we could do. We were still going to take our flight. Something similar happened with Malaysia Airlines. We flew Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Bali just hours after they had their plane shot down over Ukraine.
With these two unfortunate incidents, in addition to the disappearance of the other Malaysia Airlines flight last year, we had one family member ask what was going on with the airlines in the region. We commented that there was nothing we could do. Planes crash. It is an unfortunate reality.
We were not going to live in fear, never fly, or change our plans. After all, prior to the Air Asia crash, Air Asia had one of the best safety records in the industry. We have flown them numerous times, all over the region, and everything always goes as planned.
On this flight, though, things were, well, just a little off.
First, we barely hit any traffic on the way to the airport, almost unheard of for Bali roads. We arrived earlier than expected, luckily, as the check-in line was already outrageous. There were three flights checking in, and only two counters opened. The check-in line continued to get longer and longer as we waited.
Even though we only had about 10 or 15 groups ahead of us to check in, it took over 40 minutes. At one point I asked a supervisor what was up and he replied that “the staff was resting” after dealing with some earlier flight cancellations. This was not something we have ever experienced flying Air Asia out of Bali. In fact, another supervisor was talking with an irate Australian group about how their flight to Melbourne was cancelled, and he even made reference to the recent crash. It was all very eerie.
Then, once we were on board, we sat on the runway forever, causing us to take off an hour and fifteen minutes late – easily the longest flight delay we have ever had on Air Asia. We kept commenting about how difficult the Island was making it for us to leave. Finally we took off, and everything seemed to be fine. I was willing to chalk up these two occurrences to an elevated sense of awareness after the accident.
We had a good amount of turbulence on the flight, and it honestly made me a little nervous. After all, our original flight was scheduled for January 18, and we had pushed up our flight to January 6 to get out of Bali earlier. As I irrationally wondered whether we would make it to Bangkok at all, there was a part of me that thought “we weren’t even supposed to be on this flight.” Isn’t that when bad things are likely to happen?
It was not until later that night, after our safe arrival, and a few beers in Bangkok, that Eric and I admitted to each other just how nervous we were flying after the Air Asia crash. This was for a few very irrational reasons, but ones I wanted to share.
First, everything leading up to the flight had just been a little off, a little unusual. Second, we felt like we were starting a whole new chapter, after we finally escaped from Bali. We were looking to start again, to reflect on our time in Bali, to get out on the road, to search for happiness again.
And, isn’t it just those times when things go horribly wrong? After all, we weren’t even supposed to be on that flight.
Obviously, everything went fine. We arrived safely. We were worried for nothing.
Accidents do, unfortunately, happen, whether in airplane form or car form (a lot more likely). We were not about to change our plans because of the recent Air Asia crash. We were not about to live in fear of the unknown, of things that are entirely out of our control.
But, I was happy to touch town in Bangkok. I was also glad that we did not even consider changing our plans. After all, Air Asia has been good to us over the years.
An expat in Bangkok recommended this site to support the families of the victims of the Air Asia crash.