Jennifer Aniston is opening up about a terrifying flight experience she endured during her 50th birthday trip to Mexico in February — and the details are even more panic-inducing than we imagined. On Thursday, the actress made an appearance on her pal Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show to promote her new Netflix movie with Adam Sandler, Murder Mystery. But since Kimmel’s wife, Molly McNearney, is a dear friend of Aniston’s and happened to be on the ill-fated birthday vacay flight, talk turned to what went wrong.
Aniston started by revealing that the women very quickly realized there was a problem when they heard “an explosion” while they were taking off. For a brief moment, they wondered if they should check with the pilots to see if everything was OK. But Aniston, who admits she has a “real fear of flying,” was reassured by her friends that the fact the plane was still cruising down the tarmac suggested nothing was out of sorts. They would soon find out that wasn’t quite the case, though.
“Two hours in, a flight attendant comes over and she says, ‘The pilots would like to talk to you,’” Aniston shared, saying she asking a friend to go see what was up. As it turns out, airport crew found debris on the runway after the plane took off, leading them to believe the plane lost a tire. So, what next? Well, the plane had to turn around and return to California — but had to circle for four hours to burn off remaining fuel first.
Here’s where the story gets unexpectedly hilarious. Understandably, the women wanted to reach out to their loved ones. “Everybody starts texting all of a sudden their spouses and their children and I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’” Aniston said, adding that Kimmel was one of them. McNearney had texted her late-night-host husband to tell him she loved him and their children… just in case things didn’t end well. And then Aniston shared a screenshot of the “loving response” Kimmel sent his wife after she poured her heart out to him. Above a shirtless “profile picture” of himself, Kimmel wrote to McNearney, “I just signed up for Tinder but I PROMISE not to activate it until we know what’s what.” In his defense, Kimmel told Aniston and Sandler, he was “trying to lighten the mood.” This guy.
Happily, the plane was eventually able to land — missing tire, be damned. The group of friends ended up at Ontario International Airport in Ontario, California, before heading to their ultimate destination of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Surprisingly, Aniston’s BFF Courteney Cox told Extra in February, “It was a really smooth landing.”