I was on a flight coming home from getting out of the Army (18 years ago). I think it was a flight from SEA to DFW; I had a window seat and was looking out and noticed what I could distinctly make out to be a DC-10 waaaaay out in the distance. It looked like we were at about the same altitude, but the traffic appeared to be just a weee bit higher and we appeared to be traveling at a 90-degree difference in headings. The traffic did NOT appear to move position in my view, and I knew from having taken flying lessons that that was a BAD thing! I don’t know whether I first spotted it 10 minutes ahead of time, or if it was three minutes… It seemed like a long time. I just remember the whole time, the thing never moved position in my window and I thought about writing a note for a flight attendant to take to the captain to alert him to the traffic - but Shirley Roger would roger Victor’s vector for us to move away from one another. I became more and more anxious as we continued to be on what appeared to be a crash-course, and as we moved ever closer, I continued wondering whether I should’ve written the note, or If I should try to alert someone now. I just sat there passively as I awaited my possible demise.
I do not remember what airline the traffic was. I just remember in the final moments, the only comfort that I had was that we were indeed a little bit lower than the other plane and that as I expected possible impact, we were only struck by its enormous shadow!
…and my thoughts at that moment were, “I’ll bet the pilots are thinking, ‘What the F…?’”
I vow that if I’m ever presented with a similar situation, I’m gonna DEFINITELY send a message to the captain because Roger and Victor may both be asleep in that critical moment, and we may not be so lucky the next time.