Qatar – U.S. Air Force Passenger Terminal
It’s called a ‘tactical landing’. Wary of missiles or other ground fire, planes ferrying troops and cargo into Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) start taking evasive action a few miles from the runway – one minute you’re flying along strapped onto your bench in the packed cargo bay, the next minute you’ve suddenly been flung off a cliff. Your stomach floats up as you wonder if you’re going to pop out of your seat, when suddenly the plane banks sharply and you try not to knock over the soldier sitting to your side. Next you’re slammed into the bottom of the seat as the pilot jerks the plane higher. All this played out for miles in a windowless, fetid cargo hold stinking of fuel and sweat. Nausea and vomiting are common, with the first chunks summoning others as the smell wafts its way through the plane.