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In the Air on the Day the World Changed
(The New York Times, September 11, 2007)

September 11, 2007
Frequent Flier
"In the Air on the Day the World Changed"


Most of my flying is international, primarily to Paris and Nice. I have a passion for France, which has been the focus of my writing career for more than 25 years. On average, I make about five extended trips a year to France, producing books on French style and cooking. Work and pleasure have taken me around the world, but I’ve learned that it is sometimes the mundane domestic flight that changes your life.

I was scheduled to fly to France in early September 2001, but family matters dictated a postponement. I had to be in Florida to accompany my mother, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, to court on a traffic violation charge, and then help her move from her home in Sarasota to a nursing home in Asheville, N.C. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was on Continental Flight 782, from Newark to Sarasota, which left at 8 a.m.

At about 10 a.m., we were over Virginia when I heard the static of the activated P.A. system, clicking off, then on again. “Ladies and gentlemen,” the captain said, pausing. “Ladies and gentlemen, today is a day when something you never thought could happen, has happened.” I held my breath as I strained to hear over the engine’s drone.

The captain explained that several aircraft — he did not know how many — had been hijacked. Two had hit the World Trade Center towers, and one had hit the Pentagon. He told us there might be more hijacked planes in the air and that all in-flight aircraft had been ordered to land.

There was no panic, almost no talking. I don’t think anyone wanted to look around to see who else might be on this plane. We just wanted it to touch down.

To see the full story, go to: www.nytimes.com/2007/09/11/business/11flier.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=linda%20dannenberg&st=cse