This year, instead of the long drive to visit family for the holidays we bought some cheap tickets and used some sky miles to shorten that trip and make the most of our time. The airport here is tiny- seriously tiny (picture the old TV show Wings and then shrink it). And as soon as we get there, I’m thinking the ten hour drive might have been a better option.
Let’s start with the fact that we are traveling with four children- so I’m already sweating from packing and hauling all these bags and picking up dropped blankets, dolls, and earbuds every five seconds. Add to that, I have a baby siting on my lap for the flight, so at check-in I find out my seat options are very limited. Apparently on these tiny planes you can only sit on an aisle (fine by me) and you can only sit on the right side of the plane….whatever. However, my 12 year old is having a melt down, saying he is too scared to fly and needs to sit next to me. The guy at the counter tries to put this puzzle together and basically my husband ends up with the three year old near the front of the plane and I have have everyone else in the back- now I’m sweating just a tad bit more.
We get through security fine, but now we are trapped in an enclosed portion of the airport with no bathrooms, one broken vending machine and not nearly enough seats for all the passengers. Just as everyone is crammed in there, that’s when the plane we are flying on lands and the departing passengers need to trample through our area to get out. Now we have to smash up against a wall, to make room, holding all of our stuff and keeping a toddler and baby out of the way. Did I mention that it’s -15 degrees outside so I am also holding everyone’s winter coats, hats and gloves? So, even though a gust of cold air comes flying through (because yes, the doors open right to the outside runway) I’m seriously sweating now.
When they call for boarding we hang back a bit, to avoid spending any extra time in our seats. And while I’m a little excited to board a plane like I’m the President, I can’t really enjoy it because my 12 year old is now really worked up, saying he will just stay- because he can not get on the plane. He’s walking backwards and so I have to practically shove him out the door and onto the plane while carrying the baby- I’m dripping sweat at this point. There is no way I’m taking my coat off, because I am completely pitted out.
I’m essentially the last person to board this tiny aircraft and I can see the look on everyone’s face. The flight has already been delayed. It’s the day after Christmas and people just want to get wherever it is they are going. The plane is almost full and those few who have an open seat next to them are silently praying I don’t sit next to them all because of what I carry in my arms- my daughter. (I’m not here to debate if people should travel or not with babies- I just wish we could forgo the looks). Here’s the thing, I don’t want to sit next to you just as much as you don’t want to sit next to me! I sit down and the fist thing my daughter asks for is dad. I say, “oh sorry baby dad has to sit up front” and immediately the guy next to me pipes up- “do you want me to switch seats with him?” Yeah sure buddy, lIke I didn’t think of that before. I have to crush his dreams by telling him, I have a three year old that my husband needs to sit with and he sighs and looks back at his phone.
Here’s how the flight goes: 12 year old asks 5000 questions before take-off and I hold his hand until we are in the air at which point he turns and says “hmm, this isn’t so bad”. Baby sits like an angel until 12 year old calms down and then she figures it’s her turn. She squirms, kicks, throws things and yells for dad. I am doing everything in my power to calm her, including sweating buckets. I am desperately waiting for the snacks and some water because at this point I think I’m dehydrated. But, when we get served, she grabs the water bottle and all the food. So I don’t get anything, but she’s at least sitting still for a few minutes and I have some peace. I’m thinking that it’s only a 45 minute flight right? How bad could it be? I’m drenched in sweat trying to hold a baby who wants to run around, yelling for her dad, praying we land soon, but praying more that I don’t have a sweaty butt when I finally stand up.
When it’s over, I’m exhausted and I still have to get all these kids and all their bags across an airport and to a car. I am hungry, thirsty, and sore. I feel like I just finished a marathon and at that moment my 12 year old turns to me and says “that flight was so relaxing- didn’t you think so Mom?”
Side note: My 9 year old was with us-we did not forget him Home Alone style. He took care of his own carry-on, found his seat, popped in his headphones, and never made a peep! He is the real hero of the story, because if he had any issues I might have lost my mind!