Saturday, August 15, 2009

Flying the Unfriendly Skies - Part 2 by Diane LeBleu

Good job girl!” a young woman traveling solo told me as I pushed my double stroller up the jetway in Dallas, chasing my wild children like dogs off a leash, having survived the 3 ½ hour flight from Seattle. I made it.
No Caroline fits. No surprise moons. Just a pleasant cross country flight with my brood. The wine helped.

A flight attendant even stopped by to tell me how beautiful my children were. Travis helped her push her cart from the back of the plane up to the front (those drills at football practice come in handy) so he was on her good side. But then he has always been a sweet boy.

Things were looking pretty good until I reached our gate in Dallas. Our flight was delayed 2 hours. Do you know how hard it is to keep 4 kids out of trouble for 2 hours in an airport? You can only ride the Skylink so many times.

I blame Danielle – she spooked it. Our last two trips traveling from Seattle via Dallas had ended in canceled flights, rental cars, and an agonizing drive from Dallas to Austin. Danielle was predicting the worst as we were leaving Seattle. The only rain we have had all summer fell on our travel day. Thankfully, it was only delayed rather than canceled, but we still did not get home until after midnight.

Did my theory hold true? Were the passengers and flight crew more understanding and accommodating? Yes. While waiting for our flight, making the endless rounds with the stroller to keep the kids somewhat contained, I had a number of people strike up a conversation with sympathetic remarks about traveling with kids and my, how patient my children are. I had several people offer to help me carry my bags. One woman that was on our flight from Seattle even came up to talk to Caroline and give her high-fives for being such a good traveler.

If I had to choose between a chemo treatment and a cross country air trip with four children, especially my children, I’d pick the infusion chair hands down. At least there’s free wi fi and snacks. But a great visit with family, cousins playing together and camping out in the back yard made every painful mile worth the effort. And I don’t have to do it again for another year.

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