Monday, July 25, 2011

They're on the plane. Finally

I don't travel that much, but when I do, I'm prepared and things seem to go well. That wasn't the case trying to get my two kids to summer camp yesterday. We arrived in plenty of time for the flight, but the weather wasn't great at 7:30am as storms came through and delayed the plane coming to O'Hare from Minneapolis. The kids would miss their connection in Minneapolis to Bemidji, the next connection was full, and the following one was the last of the day and unaccompanied minors cannot fly the last flight of the day in case it is cancelled (and they'd be stuck in Minneapolis). We all looked at each other. Were we really going to have to all go home and try again on Monday? Lots of tears ensued as the kids realized they were going to lose their extra day with the grandparents in Bemidji. At least they weren't going to be late for camp. And I actually wasn't that keen to see them fly during bad weather.

I'll cut to the chase for today. The kids got on the plane this morning but it was the absolute worst travel nightmare in my history of flying from O'Hare. We got up at 4am and left at 5am for a 7:45am flight. By the time we got to the terminal, there were at least two hundred people in line at Delta, and at least that many at Security. Apparently the entire city of Chicago was in a desperate need to go somewhere on Delta RIGHT NOW. That included US.

 We waited for 20mins at the ticket desk line, nowhere near the back and forth queuing area yet, when I came to the very sudden realization that they were going to miss the plane.  I walked over to first class check in (where there was no line) and said PLEASE HELP US. We were bumped yesterday, they are unaccompanied minors, there are forms and forms to fill in and they are never going to get through the line. The Delta agent was very nice and helped us with everything. OMG. They even waived the checked baggage fee because we'd been bumped. (double OMG) But by now it was 6:50 and we needed to get through security. Delta told us to go to Terminal 3 next door to a shorter line. 

Off we went, via the outside, and Catherine started wheezing from the exhaust and the humidity. We get to terminal 3. There are about 100 people in line. We were a nervous wreck. Catherine is puffing her inhaler and I am sweating bullets. I am half attempted to ask the large party of Chinese travelers if we can pretty please get in front of them No dice. We get through security at 7:20am for a 7:45am flight. I tell John and William to RUN (remember, we have to get back to terminal 2). Catherine can't run because she is going to wheeze again. Thank God our gate was E6 and not E67 or we would not have made it. The gate agent is standing there looking for us; the plane is waiting for us. John asks how much time do we have and she says ZERO. Kiss kiss bye bye throw them on the plane. Door closing. Catherine is still wheezing. I tell them she has asthma and WATCH her.

What the hell? I've just put my (slightly) wheezy kid on a plane?

I checked and the plane landed in Minneapolis at 9am and since I think if there were a medical emergency they'd call me, no one called. Oh, John did call from work on "private name" on the caller ID which freaked me out. They have a connection at 11:20am to Bemidji where their grandparents will meet them.

It's at this point we digress and I speak directly to all those wonderful husbands who know so much about aviation. When your wife is near nervous breakdown because she's been up since 4am and about to ship her kids to camp, alone, it's not the time to point out the kids are flying a tiny little plane by a pilot who "doesn't have as many flight hours or training as the guys who fly the big ones."  Really? Well this is what they flew to Minneapolis:

Some training required

And this is what they're flying to Bemidji:
Anybody on board play MS Flight Simulator? Anyone? Anyone?
So who flies that one? The flight attendant assisted by my kids?

I am a basket case. I have a headache. Wonder why?

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