Saturday, March 03, 2007

The LONG trip

This was how we packed the stroller to walk through the airport.

The highlights: 5,000 miles, 24 hours, 4 delayed flights, 1 cancelled flight, 1 fainting spell, 12 bags, 5 lost bags, 2 pets, 1 broken crate,1 car seat, 1stroller and 0 underwear.

The play by play: I was very sad to say goodbye to friends on Thursday and leaving Alaska, but the stress of travel took over. First, let me say that I thought we had pretty good flight times and good seats. Usually, we have at least one rather long layover on the way to Arkansas from Fairbanks. This time, we only had 2 1-hour layovers. Of course, when Allen made reservations for the animals, he was told that they would check the animals through to our final destination. Of course, this wasn't correct when you change airlines. Now that 1 hour layover in Chicago sounded terrible.
Then, as we checked in, we were told that our 7:45 flight had been delayed by 30 minutes, so she moved us to the 7:15 flight. As we were waiting for that flight, there were mechanical delays, so both flights were waiting. At one point, we were moved back to the 7:45 flight, because it appeared that it might be leaving earlier. Then, they started boarding the 7:15 flight, so we were moved again to the 7:15. After we boarded the plane, some other mechanical problem was discovered, so that the 7:45 flight took off about 5 minutes before the flight that we were on. We left Fairbanks at 9:30. Our flight from Anchorage was supposed to leave at 10. Several people on those flights were supposed to connect to Chicago, so they did hold the plane for us. However, on the first flight, we had been moved to the back of the plane, so we were the last ones off the plane, and the last ones boarding the flight to Chicago. Though they held the plane, they did not hold our row 12 seats, they moved us to row 28 and 29. So, the last people getting on the plane, with 1 baby, car seat, and 6 carry-on bags had to go to the back of the plane. There was not room for our bags near where we were sitting, so they were all throughout the plane. Fortunately, the lady in row 28 was willing to move to row 29 so we could all sit together.
This was especially good since Ashlyn did not want to stay in her seat. I kept her in the seat for as long as I could take it, before I pulled her into my lap. She slept a good part of the nearly 6 hour flight in one or both of our laps. The car seat was basically just in the way. Of course, on this flight, we were sitting right by the only 3 people on the plane who thought they should be reading at 2 am with their lights on. I could not sleep at all. I also hadn't eaten dinner, which I believe combined to make me a bit ill. First I started feeling nauseated. I told Allen to take Ashlyn and I leaned forward in my seat with my puke bag. I decided to go back to the restroom. Before I could get in the door, I fainted. A couple of flight attendants helped me up and said something about people falling when they've had a lot of sleep. I mumbled something about not sleeping as I was helped into the bathroom and locked in. As I started to feel a little better, I slowly headed back to my seat. The flight attendants were very kind and brought me water and ginger ale.

We finally landed in Chicago at 7:45 for our 8:00 flight. Obviously, we would not be able to get our animals and recheck them to Arkansas in 15 minutes. So, we changed to the 3:30 flight. While Allen went to get the animals and check them into the next flight, Ashlyn and I called Joy to let her know about the change in flight. Somehow, they were already on their way to the airport, long before we were supposed to arrive.

Allen's nap

So, we planned to spend a few extra hours in the Chicago-O'Hare Airport. With our 6 carry-on bags, 1 stroller and car seat. It was quite a sight, I'm sure. And, a bit embarrassing. We will have fewer bags on the flight to Germany, somehow. Just after noon, we discovered that our flight was cancelled. We were now on the 5:50 flight to Arkansas. The worst part about this was that the animals would now have been in their crates for 24 hours, with only one time out to potty. Again, we called Joy, who, along with my parents had spent the day in the Fayetteville area, waiting for our flight. They went out to lunch, shopping, dinner and a movie, all while waiting for us to arrive. Allen's grandfather was planning on meeting our plane as well, but gave up with all of the delays.

Ashlyn attached to my legs

This flight was delayed by 30 to 45 minutes, but we finally made it to Arkansas, with Ranger and Armand aboard. Despite all of the time in their crates, neither one had made a mess in the crate. Armand even waited until we got to my parents and he had a decent litter box. Of course, Ranger's crate, that I had purchased just for this trip is cracked on the side and needs to be replaced. Then, only one of our 6 bags made it on the plane. Five of our bags were still in Chicago. Ashlyn has clothes, but Allen and I do not. Joy and I went to Walmart on the way home (thank goodness for 24 hour shopping) for bath essentials, underwear (I had 0), a few items of clothing (very fashionable, thank you very much), and dog food. Fortunately, Ranger's prescriptions were in Ashlyn's bag. Ok, we are here and we can hopefully relax. We'll see how long it takes to get the rest of our bags!


Katie said...

Oh. My. Holy. Hell. That must be the worst flight in history. Why do you think you fainted? Are you okay?

I am now about to pass out from the anxiety of attempting the same, minus one pet and one husband!!! (I'm very bummed to hear about you having to switch your pets yourself!)

Christal said...

Travelling is crazy isn't it! When I was in terminals travelling to Queensland with Jackson I would give him to complete strangers (I picked men in nice suits just to be funny) to hold him while I gathered up carry bag(mine) carry bag (Jacks)then put him in the carrier, picked up the blankie, bottle, water and lurched toward my flights (I only had 3 which were all on time). So I really feel for you guys!!! do you think you were prone the dizzy spell due to loosing a lot of weight? Being famished and stressed doesn't help either - really hope you are doing better now. love you guys heaps and hope the rest of your stay is smooth sailing.

Aunt Myrtle said...

Glad to hear you finally made it. Where is Beam me up Scotty when you need it?

Laura said...

Holy @#*! I can not even imagine. Now I feel guilty about saying I would pay to see you guys lugging through the airports with all your crap. Hopefully your trip to Germany is so much less eventful. But I'm glad you made it safely.

BTW, Did your bags ever arrive?

Angie said...

Katie, I'm actually glad that we ended up having to do switch the pets. Otherwise, we wouldn't have seen our pets for 24 hours. I'm not sure if they would have been out of their crates at any point during that time! Can't John take your dog instead of you? Also, don't take so many bags in the airport! We were silly.

I have no idea why I fainted, but I'm fine now. Christal, you are too kind saying it was because I lost a lot of weight. Too kind, since I have gained weight since Allen has been home. No idea. I also understand about the traveling alone, since Ashlyn's previous 4 plane trips were without Allen. Last Christmas, I could only get flights with VERY LONG layovers. Thank goodness people have been helpful nearly every single time we have travled with her. I'm sure they were all people who have traveled with small children.

And, Laura, you should feel guilty! Though I know that people were laughing at us. I was pushing that giant stroller stacked with all of that stuff, carrying two bags, while Ashlyn was walking around with a full size sheet. What a sight!

KimS said...

You have my utter respect for surviving that without losing it on some hapless airline employee.

Welcome back to Arkansas, wherever you are! I'd say that I'd love to see you, but I'm sure your schedule is crammed full of family and etc. If not, call my mom and we'll hook up.

Take care, and prayers and wishes from me for happier travels for the Big Flight!

Lysandra said...

Wow what an ordeal....I hope you guys are doing well and are a little relaxed! I can't believe you fainted!

Jamie Lynn said...

As Katie said holy hell!! So glad you are there. What a trip.