Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Flying with Kids
Our trip to the Smoky Mountains was a wonderful family trip that was both fun and relaxing in every way, but there were a few hiccups along the way in the beginning with our flight. For example, our plane was initially an hour or so late arriving (no big deal), and then there was a two hour flight delay on the runway (a bit more annoying). The point at which it began to get rather stressful was when they pressurized the cabin before take off; that's when Kyla began screaming. She had tubes put in her ears at six months old, and one of them had already fallen out while the other one was clogged. I knew the possibility of there being problems existed (OK - a strong possibility), but I was naively hoping Tylenol and a bottle would do the trick. Unfortunately for me and her, the bottle was consumed in the three hours in which we should have been on and off the plane and driving in our rental car, but were still waiting in the wrong city - Orlando. Kyla continued her top notch screaming - which is truly deafening - until about 20 minutes before we landed. Can we just say the flight was incredibly stressful. It's hard enough for a parent to hear their child crying in agony, but that anguish was only further compounded by the surrounding passengers who were over her volume. I tried everything conceivable to console her or relieve her pain, but to no avail; and in between my efforts, I had the privilege of glancing around to see passengers physically plugging their ears with their fingers or glaring back at me (as though I could just tell her to be quiet and resolve this whole little disturbance for them), or even twitching somewhat violently as they tried to cope with the blaring distress my daughter was gracing the entire plane with. At one point, my husband and I switched seats (as he had previously been across the aisle from Jimmy and myself and Kyla) so he could take over with Kyla. It was in that moment that I stood, having just passed off my daughter, and observed the surrounding passengers for a moment; I did my best to convey the scolding mother look of "How dare you express such annoyance! You're not even the one having to deal with it!". I even stated to my husband in a clear and loud voice that "If anyone else on this plane feels like they can do a better job, more power to 'em! Pass 'em the baby!" I watched as the man whom I'd be moving next to discreetly removed his fingers from his ears, and another passenger who had been maniacally glancing back at us between violently stretching and scratching his head eased into a less aggressive posture. I felt bad for them (sort of); I mean, I wouldn't want to be on a plane with a child screaming the way mine was, but on the same note, I certainly wouldn't be perturbed with them; instead, I'd hope I'd feel a measure of compassion and a desire to be helpful - not accusing. Eventually the flight ended and we piled our sleeping children on top of each other into our waiting stroller. We then began the process known as baggage claim in the Atlanta airport. All of our bags were accounted for, but after an hour of waiting and searching, we were still missing a car seat. Finally, upon looking in the lost baggage section, we spotted our carseat and headed to get our rental car. I might add this was at 10:00 at night, and we still had a four hour drive ahead of us (don't even ask about why the flight was booked to Atlanta with a drive then to Gatlinberg - that's a whole nother long and boring story). Had our Delta flight taken off on time, it wouldn't have been so late. . Nevertheless, the issue with the two hour wait on the runway was supposedly weather related, so I guess I can't fault them too much on that (though it sure would've been nice to have waited in the airport instead of crammed in a plane). All that to say, the trip began pretty bumpy, but it did get much better from there.