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September 11, 2001: tell us your travel stories

September 11, 2001: tell us your travel stories

Old Sep 11, 10, 12:24 pm
  #46  
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Originally Posted by peersteve View Post
We landed at TOL (Toledo, Ohio) and as Blackberrys came on, I heard others talking about Manhattan.
<cough>

No problem, I can guess what you mean! ^

The first BlackBerry device was introduced in 1999 as a two-way pager. In 2002, the more commonly known smartphone BlackBerry was released, which supports push e-mail, mobile telephone, text messaging, Internet faxing, Web browsing and other wireless information services. It is an example of a convergent device.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 12:27 pm
  #47  
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I'm cabin crew and at the time was working for a charter airline, flying long haul to America and the caribbean. On 9/11 it was my day off and I decided to have a shopping trip to Trafford Centre. I drove the sixty miles, and as soon as I entered, noticed a large group of people surrounding the TVs in Selfridges. I walked over to see what was happening, and there was the story unfolding. As I watched I saw the second plane hit. I recall the sound was off and we were just watching the pictures and reading the messages flashing up on the screen. Nobody was talking, we were all just staring at the silent screens.

I didn't want to stay, I left the shop, called my father and told him to put the news on TV. I said something like, "the world will never be the same." I know that was something that was said over and over for quite some time, but it's how I felt as soon as I saw the pictures.

I was based at Manchester and my company was asking for volunteers to go into the airport to talk with passengers and explain what was going on. So I spent a few days handing out vouchers for drinks and food, and basically not knowing what to tell passengers as the company hadn't a clue if or when they would travel. I know a captain with American, and he called me whilst I was at the airport to check I was ok and not stuck in America, and he told me that there would be no flights for at least four days. (The message they had received from American)

I had coffee with many passengers, some accepted the situation (especially the older passengers), and some hurled abuse and demanded we let them go to America that day. (honestly!) It was sad to see the little ones crying because they wouldn't be going to Disney, but the behaviour of some adults was truly amazing. Most just accepted the situation, and that their flight and holiday were cancelled.

I recall some airlines allowed their passengers to go through security, so of course "our passengers" then kicked up a fuss. Trying to explain that nobody was going to America for at least a few more days wasn't pleasant, but for some reason we kept the passengers cooped up in the airport from morning until night with no real updates.

I'm just relieved I wasn't stranded abroad, I know that some crew were sleeping in school halls etc, but they all said they were well looked after by the locals.

I was on the first flight we did to Orlando following 9/11, and it was probably one of the quietest, least complaining flights I have ever operated.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 1:13 pm
  #48  
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I was not flying as a career at the time.

I was working in an office for a large company. I had gone to the rest area to make a cup of tea and we had TV's in the area. I remember being stood there as the BBC switched to the newsflash. I stood there for maybe an hour as more and more people gathered around. I felt, and it still does make me feel very very sad.

I know it sounds a little odd, I imagine. But at work almost every day, I remember what happened. We do training about hi-jack and security and the likes, and I am by my own nature an observant person. I look and watch people as they board, I watch behavior, I watch people during the safety demo. A few times I have observed people that have made me wonder... and wonder I do.

It breaks my heart that the people who were lost that day went to work knowing nothing of what was to come. I know there were many many people who were lost, from lots of different areas of work, but it is the American Airlines and United crew who still make me cry if I happen to watch something on Youtube, or something is mentioned. I think the fact that I now do the same for a living and that this could, and is a real risk, happen to me one day that I am just doing what I love and enjoy.

Even just thinking of it now makes me sad.

No matter how dramatic some people make it, I will always remember in my own way those people lost and they will always be remembered.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 1:19 pm
  #49  
 
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I had just turned 20 & happened to be at my apartment in NYC, Tribeca of all places - a mere 10 blocks north of the WTC. I missed the first plane crashing into 1 WTC but certainly heard it, I actually thought it was a bomb at first until I went out onto the terrace & could see that it was obviously a plane that had crashed [I thought a light aircraft accident]. I went back inside & turned on the news but they weren't really reporting much at that point so I went back outside. I heard the 2nd plane approach, it was so unbelievably loud, but I couldn't see the actual aircraft due to being north of the WTC but it was obvious what was happening & within a few seconds there was a 2nd explosion coming from the south tower.

The next hour or so I went between watching the news, watching from the terrace & trying to call friends & family but the phones weren't working. Due to the point of impact being pretty high, the smoke drifting upwards & it being a very clear day I could see objects falling to the ground but for some reason I never imagined that the objects were actually human beings. It was only when the news footage showed people jumping that it actually dawned on me what I had witnessed & that was much more shocking to me than anything else that had happened up until then.

Once I realized people were jumping I came inside & closed the doors, it was just to awful to watch. I then just sat watching the news & was able to get through to my Mom in California but that was about it, the phones still weren't working. One of the strangest things was the lack of people on Greenwich St walking northwards, I kept looking out of the window onto the street & there was hardly anyone outside which i found extremely odd.

Without going outside I watched the south tower collapse on the news, then the north. By this point I felt I was way to close for comfort. I couldn't get through to my buildings front desk so went down to the lobby where a few neighbors had congregated & they informed me that everyone south of Canal were to be evacuated. I went back upstairs & packed a few things & then went out onto the street for the first time trying to decide whether to get my car out of the garage & deal with Manhattan traffic literally stuck on the island or to just walk to my Dads apartment. I ended up walking all the way from Tribeca to West 74th, I was totally paranoid about walking up the major avenues in Manhattan so headed West to the river & walked all the way up Westside Hwy to W57th then across to CPW & up to W74th - I don't even remember walking, I was in a complete daze the entire time.

My Dad & family were all back in London so I made myself comfortable & managed to contact a few of my friends, several of them had also been evacuated so they came uptown & joined me at my Dads for a few days. Even after everything that had gone on that day the building staff still gave me cr*p because two of my friends brought their dogs. Uptight uptown Co-ops, gotta love 'em!

It was a very quiet evening, we went out for dinner & just sat pretty much in shock. While all this was going on my then girlfriend had been en-route to NYC from Europe & ended up in Newfoundland. A long car journey to NYC with fellow passengers ensued. Once airspace was reopened we headed to my Moms on the left coast, I just had to get out of New York for a bit.

I still own the same apartment in Tribeca & often at night I'll go out onto the terrace expecting to look up at the towers & then it hits me that they're no longer there, for some reason I still expect to see them.

Anyway, that's my 9/11 story ... in all the years since I've yet to venture south of Murray Street.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 1:28 pm
  #50  
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@ zamoyska ... that's really up close. Thanks for sharing that.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 1:44 pm
  #51  
 
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I was at a client's site. Meeting stopped, Video Conference turned off and TV on watching it unfold.

My best friend was in the US having a flying lesson in a light aricraft when they closed US airspace. They were told by air traffic control to land within 20 minutes or they would be at risk of being shot down. Quite scary as no explanation was provided while they were in the air.

My brother was filling in his application form to apply for BA's trainee pilot scheme. Less than a week later, it was in the bin.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 1:48 pm
  #52  
 
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I was due to fly from Tampa on the 12th September.

Got on the first flight out which i think was the 14th September back to London.

I just remember the flight being in silence, extremely eerie and a great sense of relief when we landed.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 1:55 pm
  #53  
 
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I was in the meeting room, in Ireland. It went normal until someone bolted into the room and said - you won't believe it but plane just hit WTC... we tried to find news sources on inet - no avail, everything was jammed already. I was stayig at small hotel in Leixlip area (~10 rooms or so) and I was very moved by the athmosphere there - people moved around, supportiung each other... incredible. Needless to say they declared a day of national mourning - I honestly dont kow if there was any other nation outside US who did it - again it was very moving. I was scheduled to fly back on 15th. I can not forget confusion of airport security and other staff - as some of earlier posters noted - it then downed on me that world will never be the same again... ever.
I visited NY for a first time in my life in 2007. I walked the streets around WTC. I remember seeing stubs of the twin towers with recognizable ladders sticking up the air. i thought it took some courage for regular subway riders to continue using that station - now exposed to open air...
then something happened - a plane was circling manhattan leaving smoke trail - it read "will you marry me?" and it was greatest manifestation that life still goes on - I glad I've seen that plane, without that it would be eery unreal.

Rremebering all who perished....
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Old Sep 11, 10, 2:01 pm
  #54  
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There are of course, the other dimensions to the tragedy on that day.
1. The 'security measures' that affect all flyers.
2. The perspective that many people have of Islamists.
It is the second point that saddens me the most. I have experienced an environment where Christians, and Jews, and Muslims have worked together and lived and laughed together. Sadly, now I find it difficult to engage with, or relate, to a Muslim any more. What a tragic achievement that is.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 2:04 pm
  #55  
 
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I was a block away as had just come out of the subway heading towards ground zero. My normal commute to the office took me past the Towers and over the bridge towards the river to the world financial center. When I came out of the subway I saw the first tower was on fire and people on the street were looking up and many were crying. And then I saw the second tower get hit. With the panic I was more worried about getting trampled then anything else so ran with the crowd towards city hall. From there the police ordered people to evacuate the area and I went to my flat in the east village.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 2:55 pm
  #56  
 
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Originally Posted by Markie View Post
I had left New York the day before, having stayed at the Marriott WTC. It all unfolded on a day I had come straight from the plane to the office as I was tired.
I watched a documentary about the Marriott WTC, today. It included remarkable stories of courage and dedication to duty. After a previous car bomb attack on the WTC, the end of the hotel was strengthened and although the towers collapsed on it, some of the staircase stayed intact and people survived the collapses!
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Old Sep 11, 10, 3:24 pm
  #57  
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Originally Posted by botham View Post
I watched a documentary about the Marriott WTC, today. It included remarkable stories of courage and dedication to duty. After a previous car bomb attack on the WTC, the end of the hotel was strengthened and although the towers collapsed on it, some of the staircase stayed intact and people survived the collapses!
I have watched that too... It is on Youtube if anyone wants to watch it... Search "911 Hotel"... Very interesting, and also sad documentary.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 3:24 pm
  #58  
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I had just arrived on the redeye from LAX to JFK that morning. We had a product launch out in LA the night before. I remember who beautiful a morning it was coming in there were great views of downtown NY as we came south of Manhattan. After stopping at my apartment and showering, I was at my desk in my midtown office. I got an email from a former associate about a plane hitting the tower. I was actually supposed to go to a lunch at the WFC and was thinking it must have been a small plane and that was going to really screw things up downtown. After the second plane hit and it became clear something was wrong, I remember our team in New York being pretty distraught. I know we sort of hung out for awhile and then people started to try to head home. It was a bit of a blur after that except that hours later I got some panicked messages from people at our LA launch who only knew I was flying back to NY. Frankly it was a bit surreal and the clearest memories are of landing at JFK in the morning and then being able to see the smoke billowing as I was walking out in the street later that day.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 3:30 pm
  #59  
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Originally Posted by elitetraveler View Post
I had just arrived on the redeye from LAX to JFK that morning. We had a product launch out in LA the night before. I remember who beautiful a morning it was coming in there were great views of downtown NY as we came south of Manhattan. After stopping at my apartment and showering, I was at my desk in my midtown office. I got an email from a former associate about a plane hitting the tower. I was actually supposed to go to a lunch at the WFC and was thinking it must have been a small plane and that was going to really screw things up downtown. After the second plane hit and it became clear something was wrong, I remember our team in New York being pretty distraught. I know we sort of hung out for awhile and then people started to try to head home. It was a bit of a blur after that except that hours later I got some panicked messages from people at our LA launch who only knew I was flying back to NY. Frankly it was a bit surreal and the clearest memories are of landing at JFK in the morning and then being able to see the smoke billowing as I was walking out in the street later that day.
I know our bombings on the London transport system were no where as massive as 9/11, but the fact that you mention the surreal feeling you had is very much how I felt with the 7/7 bombings. I worked as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher in London on the day of our attack and got to the end of the day to be left in a sot of surreal daze. I remember sitting in the living room at home with my flat mates. Them asking me questions and me just sitting staring at the TV.
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Old Sep 11, 10, 3:47 pm
  #60  
 
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I flew United 928 ORD-LHR on the 10th, arrived back on the 11th and after a few hours sleep caught the news - shock and absolute horror closely followed by great sympathy for our American cousins.
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