August 20, 2008

My Airport Adventure

Yesterday, the boys and I boarded a plane to fly home for a visit to our family in New Brunswick before school starts.

Well, we made it in one piece... but not without a few incidents.

Our flight had a stop at an aiport halfway home. We were not supposed to have to get off the plane, but I know you can never count on that. So, on the flight from home to halfway, I asked the stewardess if we'd have to get off the plane at halfway. She said that there was a going to be a crew change so we'd probably have to get off the plane. Then, a little while later, she came back and told us that, actually, we'd have to change planes.


So, when we arrived in halfway, we got off the plane and checked at the counter. They told us that they'd be boarding the new plane in 5 mintues. Great.

5 minutes later, boarding was announced and we boarded 1st (families with small children get to board before anyone else). Just as we arrived at our seats, the lights in the plane went out - pitch black. When the light came back on, I got the kids in their seats and handed out markers and crayons and notebooks. We were just settling in when the steward (and a very cute one he was too) told us that we'd have to get off. The plane was experiencing mechanical difficulties and it was going to take at least 30 minutes to fix. Everyone off. Okay. We deplaned and the announcement inside told us that they weren't going to be able to take off for at least an hour. We went to the bathroom and found some seats in the waiting area.

We sat for an hour. The kids were getting more over-tired and hyper by the second. Suddenly, I noticed a bunch of people for the New Brunswick flight leaving the area where we were waiting. I went to the desk and asked what was going on with the flight.

The woman behind the counter checked her computer. "It says the NB flight is at gate 21," she told me. She had bleached-blond hair, teased up into 1980s frizzy perfection, blue eye shadow and a bad attitude.

"Are you going to announce it?" I asked.

"I don't know. It always says gate 21 here," She replied. I think she must've been French. She said "always" meaning "toujours" which actually translates to "still" in this case - so her computer still says gate 21 for my flight. But I knew that the flight had been at gate 28 because I'd been on that plane before it had mechanical difficulties.

"Well, it was at gate 28," I explained. "We were on the plane and they made us get off because there was something wrong with it. If it's at gate 21 now you might want to announced it, so people will know. It was at gate 28."

"I just got in and it says gate 21 here," she said, "you might want to relax a bit."

Oh. No. She. Di'n't

"Pardon Me?" I asked. Quite loudly.

She looked surprised. Apprently people don't usually dare to question Air Canada employees.

"I said you need to relax. I just got in and I don't know. You were being rude to me."

"I was not being rude to you. I am dealing with waiting with two little kids and my gate change has not been announced. You are being rude to me!"

"Well, I just got in and I don't know about your gate change."

I was completely exasperated by now. I told her, "You're lucky I have two little kids with me right now." Then I gathered the boys and stormed down to gate 21. I took a few deep breaths and considered marching back and demanding to talk to a manager. I mean, honestly! I was just trying to explain that they should announce the gate change. I was not being rude. 1980s bitch needs to sit down and shut up. Okay? Un-hun.


So we waited another 20 minutes at gate 21 and then checked in to board. Just as we were about to leave the airport for the tarmac, a man waved us back inside saying, "There's mechanical trouble with this plane too."

We went back inside and I exchanged desperate, exasperated looks with another mom who had two young boys with her. She sat down and dejectedly put her head in her hands.

After a few minutes they announced that there was a plane ready for us at gate 28 - our original gate. We all trudged back down to gate 28, where we waited about 15 or 20 minutes in line while my boys went into full-on self-destruct mode (they got so hyper that I thought my head might explode) to board the same plane we'd been on an hour and half before. Can I get a "Argh!!!"?

Finally, we boarded the plane. It took them at least half an hour to get the door closed. All this waiting and mechanical issues and confusion certainly made me feel assured of our safety. As we took off, I closed my eyes and hoped fervently that there would be no problems or mechanical issues while we were in the air... and that our plane was actually headed where we wanted to go.

Long story short (too late!), we didn't arrive until 1:15am - two hours after we were supposed to arrive and REALLY late for the kids. Monkey fell asleep on the plane from halfway, but Buddy didn't fall asleep until about 2am (he was too excited to check his secret compartment - a cubby at the head of his bed where his Granny always hides presents).

In the meantime, Granny was having trouble figuring out what time to go to the airport to pick us up. The website for the halfway airport and the home airport had different information. According to the home airport website, the flight was ontime and, at our arrival time, it updated to say that the flight had arrived ontime. According the halfway airport, the flight was delayed, but it didn't update at any time to say that the flight had departed. Not knowing which information to believe, Granny arrived on time to pick us up and had to wait two hours at the airport for us to actually arrive.

In happier news, the boys both slept in until 9:30am. Yay.

And that's the story of an airport adventure from a crazy housewife who yells at Air Canada employees in front of God and everybody at airports near you.

Do you have any crazy airport stories to share? I know you do!




Amanda said...

I guess I never told you about the time that I flew across the country with 4 kids and my mother in law and I was still nursing Emma Mae. So yes, I ended up being the only one in our group that had to sit next to a total stranger (who everytime seemed to be a man, of course). And I had to awkardly lift up the shirt and attach the baby to the boob all while sitting practically on top of another person. Yes, I believe that was the hottest (as in I felt like it was 118 degrees in there and was sweating like a pig) and most embarrassing time or times since there were at least 6 different men that got to enjoy sharing that moment with my daughter and I.

Also, a random woman passenger yelled up to her husband as they were trying to find seats, "Don't sit up there, don't you see all those kids?" To which my most favorite person in the world, the stewardess, said, "You were a kid once, too. We all were." Way to go, my new best friend, flight attendant lady.

And as we left the plane some other random male passenger said that MY kids were the most well behaved kids he had ever seen. Really!?

Elaine A. said...

We had to de-plane once b/c the cabin started to fill with smoke right after take off. Something was wrong with the oil. I was SO friggin' freaked out that I hardly wanted to fly at all that day but I was going for business and HAD to.

Sorry you had such a delay and that "80's b*tch made you mad.

Katie said...

That sounds terrible! So glad you all made it out alive and in tact. You're lucky you weren't in the US where you'd probably be tasered or arrested or something for sass like that.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

crikey what a tale!! l feel exhausted for you all..phew...

happy hols eh??

The Mom Bomb, a/k/a Folksy Mama said...

My last name is Johnson, and there are about a zillion Johnsons with the same first name on the no-fly list . . . so every time I fly, I'm always pulled aside as a security risk. I think I'm the only potential terrorist wearing Mom jeans.

Reluctant Housewife said...

Mom Bomb, I would hate that! How awful. Do you tell them that you call yourself "Bomb"? Cause I doubt that would help.

Amanda. Why was it so hot on your flight? It's always hot breastfeeding anyway. Young babies are like hot water bottles. How uncomfortable!

Elaine. Ahhh! I would be terrified to get back on the plane. I'm a fairly nervous flyer on a good trip, much less on a trip following a smokey evacuation of the aircraft. Yikes.

See? all your comments prove that I really have nothing to complain about.

Katie - you're absolutely right! I realized after the fact that saying "You're lucky I have two little kids with me" sounds like a physical threat. I really only meant I'd tell her off if I didn't have my kids with me... but I could have gotten myself in trouble! Note to self: think first, talk after. Yeah.

And FFF. Thanks for the good wishes. I'm going to do my best to have happy hols ;).

Love your comments!

SaraLynn said...

I would have lost my mind.....

Alexis Jacobs said...

Airport travel just bites sometimes. Hope the return trip is much better.

Working mum said...

I flew all over the world BC and have lots of stories, but they all end in my luggage being somewhere else in the world! I stopped flying when daughter was born. I can't bear the thought of being in a different country with no luggage and a child!