Two weeks ago, we took Aidan on his fifth transcontinental flight. By the age of two, he will have logged well over 36 000 km in the air. The circumference of the Earth at the equator is about 40 000 km, so he’s almost completely around the world.
We arrived at the airport around 7am, Pacific time. Check-in was relatively straightforward, other than the lady who was tagging our bags was a little snippy when I asked for a bag to put around the car seat as it went into special luggage. Something about how they were an airline and not a baggage service. She suggested I save the bag and use it next time. Um, hello? Are you kidding me?
Anyway, off to the security clearance. Know what? When you’re travelling with a baby, you get special treatment!!! We were fast tracked into the security area, bypassing the queue! We had dutifully packed our little 3 oz bottles of liquids and gels into a clear 1 quart bag (welcome to Canada, huh? The metric system is alive and kicking.) I piled all the bags into the trays and onto the conveyor, while Gwen went through the metal detector with Aidan. *BEEP* Gwen set the machine off, so the stern looking security person took her aside and gave her more special treatment. A full body pat down. One for the boy too. Shoes off and “sniffed”. Hand-held metal detector. About the only thing they didn’t do was swab her mouth to grab some DNA. Me on the otherhand, I went through without setting off the alarm (Gwen figures it was the bobby pins in her hair that she forgot), I gathered up our bags without being asked to turn on any electronics, without being asked about any liquids or gels, and generally without being paid any attention whatsoever. In fact, it was the quickest and easiest trip through security that I’d ever had! Of course, I had to wait in a pile of baggage while Gwen and the boy were getting their special treatment, but at least it was just waiting.
Making our way to the gate, it was apparent that things were going to go wrong. First of all, the check-in machine (who needs check-in agents anymore, huh?) indicated that our seat assignment would have to be dealt with by the gate agent. This was odd, since we had confirmed seats. When we arrive to the gate, and I dutifully took our boarding passes to the gate agent, I saw that our plane had one of the engine cowlings open. I went over to Gwen, and was about to say that I didn’t think we were going to get on that plane when an announcement was made, cancelling our flight. Fortunately, the announcement also called Halifax-bound passengers (us and a few others) to the gate agent, who promptly told us to see the customer services rep back near the security check point.
We trundled back down the terminal, and the nice CSR put us on a different, later-leaving but earlier-arriving “direct” flight to Halifax. In different rows.
We made our way to the new gate, and once again I presented our boarding passes to the new gate agent, explaining that myself and my wife, and my 18 month old son, were sitting in different rows on the flight, and perhaps this might be inconvenient for all parties involved. Seats were shuffled and we were seated together.
I’d like to tell you that the flight to Calgary, and then to Halifax was blissful, but it wasn’t quite. It also wasn’t so bad. The boy fell asleep as we were taxiing out of Calgary, and stayed asleep for an hour-and-a-half. This would have been most excellent if it weren’t for the fact that I needed to go to the head from … oh just about the point we started our descent into Calgary. And the fact that I missed the drink cart after we took off. Of course, in the state I was in, a drink wouldn’t have been good. Not good at all.
The rest of the flight was uneventful. The boy was excellent, not complaining at all. The Magna Doodle was a smashing success. We pulled out the video iPod only once, about 90 minutes outside of Halifax, and when we all arrived in Halifax, everybody was in high spirits.
To top things off, all our bags arrived! Together! Not too long after we did! Undamaged! Nothing
Finally, my parents drove us to their place, where we arrived around 11:30pm Atlantic time, or about 7:30 pm Pacific time. Somewhat around 13 hours after we started our trip. Ugh. And yet, the boy was still up and happy.
It went better than I ever could have expected.
Too bad the flight back didn’t go the same way…