Monday, July 17, 2017

Sitting in the Airport for 5 Hours Isn't as Much Fun as It Sounds Like

I should have known when our flight to Minnesota went well, almost too well, that we were going to have to make up for it on the way back. The universe just can't stay unbalanced forever, and that is what I learned on our trip back.

At first, things were going fine. We got to the airport on time. We returned the rental car. Checked in with no problems.

I should have known when our flight to Minnesota went well, almost too well, that we were going to have to make up for it on the way back.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

There wasn't much of a line at security, the only snag being that Phillip forgot to take his laptop out of his bag. After the TSA pulled him aside for a full cavity search (actually, they just opened the bag and were quite nice about it) we were at the gate in plenty of time.

We figured we had about 20 minutes until they started the boarding process, so we herded the kids to the airport play area that was conveniently located right across from our gate.

I should have known when our flight to Minnesota went well, almost too well, that we were going to have to make up for it on the way back.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Of course it had an air transportation theme as all airport play areas do. But it was a sort of strange one, mainly because the seats around the sides for parents was a row of faux luggage with a creepy chicken in a crate.

But the kids seemed to enjoy it, anyway.

I should have known when our flight to Minnesota went well, almost too well, that we were going to have to make up for it on the way back.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

It was at the play area that we learned there were thunderstorms at our home airport, and the flight was going to be delayed by an hour.

Deep sigh, but oh well. If you've ever experienced hours of back labor, you know that being bored in the airport for 60 minutes isn't the worst thing there is.

My 13-year-old was quite vocal about it, but the little kids were content to play in the play area for as long as humanly possible and didn't even notice.

I should have known when our flight to Minnesota went well, almost too well, that we were going to have to make up for it on the way back.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

We made our best effort to turn runs to the drinking fountain into full-length excursions and our visits to the restroom into adventures. The kids ate Chex Mix from their backpacks and watched the planes fuel up through the windows.

We boarded the plane just a little after 5, and as we made our way to our seats my daughter gasped, "My book! I left it in the airport! Can I go back and get it?"

"Nope, too late now," I said, not even a little bit sorry about her copy of The Borrowers. I wanted to go home.

We listened to the safety demonstration and taxied out to the runway. And taxied. And taxied some more.

I began to wonder if our runway was in Canada.

In reality, the pilot was in the cockpit sweating bullets, driving in circles for the same reason I circle aimlessly in the van when I'm lost instead of pulling over: because irritable passengers in a moving vehicle are less likely to go ballistic than still ones.

Finally he broke the news to us over the intercom: there was still a weather delay at the other airport and they weren't accepting planes yet. We would be heading back to the terminal to deplane.

"Were you praying to get your book back?!" I hissed at my daughter. "Because if you did, I hope you're happy." She swore she had nothing to do with it.

Almost an hour after we'd gotten on the plane, we found ourselves getting off again: back on the same jetway, walking back into the same terminal.

They gave us an estimate of two more hours until we were ready to re-board the plane, and we went back to the play area to collect ourselves and figure out what to do.

The chicken was definitely mocking me.

I should have known when our flight to Minnesota went well, almost too well, that we were going to have to make up for it on the way back.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

What to do with a few more interminable hours on our hands? We'd already exhausted our best ideas for keeping the kids entertained.

My daughter and I meandered around looking for her lost copy of The Borrowers. We asked the gate agent where the lost & found was, and instead of answering us she announced to the entire terminal that there was a young lady who was extremely worried about her book at the gate and anyone who found it should return it to us immediately. Everyone in the airport turned to stare directly at us. My daughter turned beet red. That was fun.

Phillip and I took turns taking the kids on walks through the terminal. There was an interesting light fixture over a restaurant made from empty wine bottles, and a mosaic of some loons (this was in Minnesota, remember?) in the bathroom that the 1-year-old seemed to like.

I should have known when our flight to Minnesota went well, almost too well, that we were going to have to make up for it on the way back.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Until he didn't like anything anymore. He hadn't slept in who knows how long. We were supposed to be home at this very minute, tucking the kids into bed after a long day, and we weren't even on the plane yet.

Things escalated pretty quickly after that and long story short, if you were in the Humphrey terminal at the Minneapolis airport last week and saw a lady pacing back and forth in front of gate H7 with a pink sweatshirt draped over the head of a screaming toddler so he'd go to sleep, that was me.

I tried not to be too conspicuous, but I think I failed because another passenger from our flight came over and gifted me this pair of earplugs.

I should have known when our flight to Minnesota went well, almost too well, that we were going to have to make up for it on the way back.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I thanked her and hoped she had a similar gift bag for everyone else on the plane, too.

Finally he fell asleep for a while. By the time I'd lost all feeling in both wrists from cradling him, he woke up and they were about to begin re-boarding the plane.

We said goodbye to the plastic chicken for what we hoped was the last time. We also found The Borrowers tucked in one of the kids' backpacks. (I suggested asking the gate agent to announce over the intercom that we found it, but my daughter declined.)

The rest of the flight went okay, with the exception of having to listen to the safety presentation a second time and trying to explain to a 1-year-old why it's against FAA regulations to sit in the middle of the aisle playing with a Hot Wheels car during takeoff.

Every time the pilot started speaking over the intercom I was afraid he was going to say we were turning around and going back (can he even do that?) but he didn't. Our shuttle was waiting for us when we landed and we were back in our own house by 1 AM.

I guess it all ended well. But next time, we're driving.

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2 comments:

  1. Oh Dear. That was quite a trip! Glad you made it home safely..and yes that chicken was mocking you!

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  2. Yay that The Borrowers weren't borrowed after all! BTW, she has excellent taste in literature! I adored that whole series!!

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