Terror and relief… at 36,000 feet.

26 Feb

Relief: Well, we made it. I survived 23 hours of international travel alone with two toddlers. I will admit, my kids are rock stars. Though not without tearful moments, they played quietly, they ate (even when the airline lost their pre-ordered kid meal), and they SLEPT. Ahhhh. In separate intervals, but they slept, nonetheless. And now it is all behind me, sweet relief, and we are… home? I had an amazing flight attendant – thank you L. Tam with UNTED AIRLINES for your most incredible service! He cheked in with me double time, had stickers on hand at the most critical moments, saved milk for the kids when the supply began to run low, and even helped me get my four carry-on bags off the airplane.  

A word of advice to any parents traveling alone with kid(s), particularly internationally : suck it up, tip generously, and order a wheelchair at your destination. After schlepping 4 carry-on bags, two kids, and a stroller through IAH and SFO, I, in my infinite wisdom, ordered a wheelchair for my arrival at Hong Kong. Not for me… for the bags. The lady was more than happy to roll the bags, we got to use the super-speedy handicap/handi-able entrance at Passport Control (instead of standing in the long, winding line for 45 minutes with two squirmy monkeys), she arranged the porter for my additional 6 large checked bags, and followed me through customs all the way to load the taxi. Easy-peasy.

Terror: The worst part of the entire experience… fellow travelers. I felt like a 14th century leper as I walked through the airport. It is the only place I have ever been that people actually run away rather than offer any type of assistance. The terror on the faces of my fellow travelers spoke volumes, “Please G*d, not on my flight.” Airline staffers looked at me with such disdain that I almost felt shameful for having the nerve to board a plane. And THEN… the lady in line behind me at the breakfast place at SFO says, “Why must people travel with kids? I don’t get it.” Ohhh geez, I am so sorry, lady; perhaps next time I should make them swim it? I was actually just bored this weekend and I thought a 23 hour travel day would be fun for the whole family. If you don’t like it… charter. And if my kid accidentally drops a ketchup-laden french fry on your Jimmy Choo… well, I might just high-five him for it.

5 Responses to “Terror and relief… at 36,000 feet.”

  1. Asha April 23, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Hi ,

    I came across your blog from the Hong Kong expats website. Really liked it. I have a 3 year old daughter and have had to travel frequently with her. And i have come across so many such moments when i got frustrated by feloow travellers reaction. But i guess i should have just hi fived my daughter 🙂 I will be moving soon to Hong Kong, my husband has already joined a new job there. Will keep visiting your blog for more tips on both life in hong Kong and life with kids.

    • window2chaos April 27, 2011 at 4:01 am #

      Hi, and welcome, soon to Hong Kong! Feel free to drop me a personal line if you have any questions or are looking for any specific tips. window2chaos@gmail.com One tip – start looking at schools NOW. I know it seems crazy early, but the competition is tough and you don’t want to end up sending your kid 45 minutes away. Yikes!

      • Lala February 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

        The most dfluicift thing is to find a blog with unique and fresh content but your blog is different. Bravo.

      • window2chaos February 3, 2012 at 9:09 am #

        Thanks, Lala!


  1. Looking for the short end of the stick? « window2chaos - July 17, 2011

    […] find yourself with me in the airport next week, snarl in my direction. I dare you. Then cover your Choos – the Plinkas have full permission to let the ketchup-laden french fries […]

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