Saturday, June 20, 2009

What's that in the sky?

It was 5:30AM on Saturday and yes, that’s the alarm clock that was going off. No it wasn’t an accident. And no I don’t mean the baby “alarm.” It was the high pitched chirping of my alarm clock – a sound I haven’t heard in probably 16 months. I haven’t even bothered to set it in longer than I can remember. So why did the alarm going off at such an ungodly hour? Because we had to get up early for our flight. That’s right. Flight. And why, yes, I do believe I lost my mind. And you haven’t even heard the best part yet.

The boys and I were going to fly to Odessa. Just the 3 of us. Our first flight ever. What’s the worst that can wrong? HA! Famous last words. First, we left the house a few minutes late by my standards, and hours too early by Kevin’s. Once we were in the maze at the airport we accidentally took the scenic route while looking for the entrance to the parking garage setting us back a few more minutes. Then we arrived at the check in and requested a gate pass for Kevin. We were told that per FAA rules a crazy woman traveling with twin 15 month olds, a stroller, a carseat, two carry on bags, and a giant diaper bag did not qualify for gate pass assistance. Before I booked the trip I had called the airlines and was assured that Kevin could come all the way to the gate with us so that I could get all the bags on, get the carseat installed and then come back and get the boys. Not giving up we talked to the supervisor who after sticking to the no party line was finally swayed by a growing scene, crying children, a mountain of luggage and a mom about to have a nervous breakdown in front of his check in.

We then made our way to the security line. The one good thing about traveling with small children in a stroller is that you get to go down the express line. So despite there being a growing list created by a man unable to find his drivers’ license we sped to the front of line. In addition to all the luggage going on the belt and through xray the kids shoes had to come off, the kids had to come out of the stroller, and the stroller had to be folded up and run through, too. Kevin took the kids while I fed the xray machine all our luggage. I even remembered to pull out my laptop and the giant ziploc bag already assembled with enough creams, tonics, and medication to land us on the watch list if we weren’t already on it. After a relatively peaceful and uneventful trip through security we got everything reassembled and made our way to the gate with 2 minutes to spare before the noted boarding time on our tickets.

We waited, and waited, and waited some more. Almost 15 minutes after the posted boarding time a gate attendant finally showed up and as advised I told her that I was traveling alone with the boys and would like to board early to have the opportunity to get everything settled. So just seconds before she announced general boarding she waved me up and gave me gate check tags for my bags then started general boarding. By the time we got everything tagged and I headed off with the luggage and car seat there were at least 10-15 passengers in front of me. I did finally manage to get on and relatively quickly got the car seat strapped in and headed back for the boys. One of the airlines folks had kidnapped the babies and was heading my direction. Kevin was peeking through the security door (and probably being yelled at by the attendant for doing so). After taking possession of the boys I started back towards the door that led to our plane out on the tarmac. Kevin came running back out and sent boarding passes flying through the air. This time I could hear the attendant yelling at him that he couldn’t go out there. One of the staff brought the passes out to us and we started up again. A few seconds later Kevin comes running back out, well into the no admittance area yelling my name being chased by the gate attendant yelling once again that he could not go in there. I had forgotten to give him the car keys. Oops. Car keys swapped we made our way to the plane. I managed to get both boys out, and holding them got the stroller folded up and handed off to the airline personnel. We then made our way up the stairs and onto the plane, down the narrow aisle sideways and all the way back to our seats. I plopped Ryan down in the car seat and began trying to strap him in. Before I managed it the plane pushed away from the boarding area. I quick put my seat belt on, handed Connor off to a passenger catty corner to me and figured out the problems with Ryan’s seat and managed to get him strapped in and Connor returned to me just before we started our final taxi and turn on the way to takeoff.

The flight itself was pleasantly uneventful. Thankfully the dire warnings repeated by the flight attendant and captain about this being a very bumpy flight with turbulence all the way, and especially on the way down proved to be mostly untrue. The boys read their new books, threw them, and laughed and giggled at each other’s shenanigans. When the beverage service came by the flight attendant gave them pretzels. They had a good time crinkling the packages and shaking them. As we started our descent I handed Ryan a cloth diaper to play peek a boo with. He took it as a blanket instead and decided to take a nap. Connor followed shortly there after. After the plane landed I packed everything back up. I strapped Connor in the seat next to me while stuffing everything back in the bag, and unstrapping Ryan. They both sat in the seat while I unhooked the car seat and gave it to a very nice woman who volunteered to help us get all our stuff off the plane. Then I grabbed the boys and the bag and headed out. When we got to the ramp they had the stroller unfolded and waiting on us. The flight crew helped pull our bags up the walkway and Grannie was waiting at the gate. Mission accomplished. We survived.


  1. Wow. I'm worn out from just reading that. Yes, I can attest to the unpleasantries of airline travel with children. And when I did it, Bill was WITH me! It's just all the hoops you have to jump through with security and all the extra stuff (because you're traveling with little ones) make it really hard. I remember after our experience, I said I'd never do it again. And so far, I haven't. :) I'm glad your in flight experience was good, though. That gave you some time to catch your breath!

  2. I agree with Robin, what an ordeal. I bet you were thinking, Wow, I get to do this again in a few days. I know you were so glad to see your Mother. Help at last!!!



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