After the requisite calming speech from the Captain including the "our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow passenger," I spoke to one of the shaken flight attendants who told me it was the wife in a couple that had left NY en route to their country of residence (intending to make a connection in the city where I was headed) after celebrating their 50th anniversary with family.
Although I have had many family members and close friends my own age die, I have never seen a person in the act of dying, if you can call what I saw precisely that.
To make things even more surreal, when we learned of the second or third delay at the airport, I called my friend to bitch in Spanish and noticed out of the corner of my eye a cute guy. (I always wonder if this is the flight where I will meet an exciting stranger, but always end up with the crying babies etc. instead) During the excruciatingly long flight, the cute guy and I began to flirt sporadically (after the requisite commiserating about the tragic events, it would be in poor taste otherwise), which I guiltily enjoyed tremendously.
Once I got off the plane, I sought him out at the baggage claim, but as my luck would have it, he must have taken his stuff on board. So for the first time, I tried out the Craig's List Missed Connections feature, crafting what I hoped was a sufficiently insouciant and witty sentence that evoked our playful banter on board. Of course I never heard from the guy.