Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Introduction to flying

Last week, we went to my husband's 15th college reunion in California. This was So.ren's first plane trip, and, boy, did he get an introduction to flying in the modern era. Our scheduled routing was through O'Hare to SFO, but despite the fine weather everywhere we were to be flying through or over or vaguely near, things did not go as planned. How naive we were when we saw the words "on time" listed next to our outbound flight! How gullible!

When we got to the gate at our local airport, the flight time had suddenly moved back by an hour. Fine, we thought - we can still make our connection. But then I called United, and they told me it would actually be even later than that, thus making it less likely that we would make our connection, which "might be delayed, but might not be." So I ingeniously rerouted us via Denver, since that flight was on time and, FYI, Denver is closer to SFO than Chicago. By this point, we'd be in the airport for four hours. Our local airport is small, which is usually nice since it makes check-in, etc., much easier, but when you're trying to amuse a fidgety baby, O'Hare starts to look a lot more appealing.

So we got on the Denver flight. Problem #1: we were assigned seats behind the exit row, which is apparently not allowed when you have an infant in a car seat. So after some adept three-way trading, we ended up in approved seating. That's when problem #2 arose: of all of the seats on the plane, the only one with an issue was the one So.ren and his car seat were supposed to be strapped into. The seatbelt had somehow become wedged between the seat and the wall, and this required the captain and another passenger to engage in some major contortions to unhook it, a process that took approximately 20 minutes while every single person on the plane stared at us (or so I assumed) while So.ren wailed in his car seat in the aisle until I rocked it for about three seconds and he passed out cold. Once he was in the seat, the flight had been delayed about 20-25 minutes. But So.ren had a good time (pictured). We thought everything was going well when we got to Denver and the flight attendant read out our connecting gate information.

Just to be safe, we checked the gate on the monitors, as advised, and found that our flight to SFO was cancelled. There was one later flight, but since the cancelled flight had been a 777, there were 300+ people trying to get on it and no chance for us. We ended up rerouting to San Jose, but our luggage was still scheduled to go to SFO. Fortunately, an airline employee in the Red Carpet Club (which I spent 55,000 miles to join earlier this year) took up our cause and ended up getting our bags on the correct flight. We did, however, have a Priceline (ie, non-refundable) reservation for a car in SFO, so that was money down the drain. It ended up taking us 13 hours to get to our friends' house in Menlo Park. So.ren behaved admirably, by which I mean he mostly slept on the flights and in the car.

Our return trip was better - everything was more or less on time, though we didn't get home until 1am Monday morning (but that was as planned). I am completely exhausted. So.ren has a cold that he picked up from either our hosts' kids or any of the people of any of the planes, since all appeared to be sick. Oh, well - I guess his immune system is getting a workout. I was sick a ton as a child, but nowadays I'm the only person at home or at work who doesn't seem to catch everything that comes through. I am, however, aware that the fact that I have voiced this aloud means that I will presently come down with consumption.

I have a major Bad Mommy story (with me as the star) to tell you, but I need to take a couple of photographs to illustrate the anecdote properly. Stay tuned...


statia said...

It sucks that you were rerouted to SJ, however, I find that SFO is the seventh circle of hell and actually liked flying out of SJ, although, it's a little bit further away from Menlo Park. But at least it wasn't Oakland, I guess.

And seriously? I swear that the flight attendants when you check in, share approximately 1/8th of a brain cell, because no matter how many times you tell them, "Yes, we paid for a seat for our infant, and yes, we ARE taking our seat on board", they STILL put you in an exit row. It's happened to us every.single.time we've flown with the Mini. Without fail. And what's even funnier? Is that if you chose to bring your seat, it's required by law that they're strapped in. Yet you can take a child in your lap until they're two.

Makes no sense.

TLB said...

Ugh--nightmare. I can only imagine how you entertained the lad at CID for so long.

Glad you made it through.

Mary Ellen said...

Look at those big beautiful eyes. What a nightmare though.