Traveling with kids is not easy. But traveling with a
toddler-aged kid on a 15-hour flight is sort of like spending a day in a
modern-day torture chamber. Maybe that's
an exaggeration (is it?), but for anyone who has braved a long flight in a
metal bird with a wild animal, you know it's no small feat.
Tensions are high.
You worry about your child's well-being (and the well-being of those around you). Things happen in those 15 hours that can stress you out to the point of wanting
to ball up your hand into a fist and put it into your nose bridge.
I just recently flew from Hong Kong to
Seattle with my 13-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. Here are some things
that made me want to punch myself in the face.
1. You start the flight off drenched in sweat
because your gate number is 42 and you enter the terminal at Gate 0.
2. You're seated directly in front of the bathrooms.
If you can't imagine what this is like, I'll tell you: It's breathing alternating
smells of jasmine soap and farts the entire flight.
3. You notice the wincing, please-oh-please-don't-be-sitting-next-to-me
face of every single passenger you pass as you walk down the aisle dragging
your toddler behind you to your seat.
4. You also notice exaggerated, jokey "phewwww" passengers
gesture to each other followed by a chuckle when we pass their aisle. Get a new
5. You get your shoulder checked by the drink cart
while bending down to find Pinkie Pie, who has fallen (been thrown) somewhere on
6. Your 2-year-old changes the movie on the screen
in front of her every 10 minutes.
7. Your toddler losing her shizz when the person in
front of her reclines her seat during the meal.
8. People who recline their seat during a meal.
9. Oh, what is that? The plane ran out of kid meals
even though you took the time to pre-order weeks ago? Oh OK. Your 2-year-old
will just eat the Chinese congee meal the plane has left. No biggie.
10. You hear any
announcement about turbulence. Which means seat belt sign. Which means "I DON'T
WANNA WEAR MY SEATBELLLLLLTTTT!" in a blood-curdling tone, until the seat belt
sign goes off.
11. You see the guy across the aisle taking off his socks and shoes and stealing your innocence.
man at the end of your row sitting right next to you is watching every inappropriate
movie possible while your kids watch out of the corner of their eyes. And also
directly out of the fronts of their eyes.
13. You start to hate the flight attendant's face that says, "You're getting a real treat!" whenever she
gives you another bag of pretzels or peanuts.
14. Your 13-year-old eats all the toddler's cheese and crackers out of her in-flight dinner.
Toddler goes cray. You give toddler yours instead, and she squishes it in her hand like a gangster.
15. You can't
recline (because you're sitting in front of the bathrooms).
lady with business class ticket cuts the security line in front of you, which makes you run even faster to your gate. She's not on your flight, but if she were you would have thrown your pretzels at her "business" ass.
guy behind you talks about how much he travels during 10 hours of the flight.
18. The guy sitting next to "travel guy" one-ups everything "travel guy" says for 10
hours of the flight.
snack served halfway through the flight is a tuna fish sandwich. Tuna fish? You
just wrote a short chapter on how to ensure a toddler meltdown.
not your daughter, but you spill her
apple juice off the tray, and it pours into your bag filled with an arsenal of
toddler distractions (now all covered in liquid sugar).
toddler only sleeps for half-an-hour of the flight, which means she's awake
on an airplane for 14-and-a-half hours.
most severe turbulence of the flight occurs when you are mid-poopy-diaper
change on the 2 x 2 changing table above the urine-sprayed lavatory toilet, which your shins aggressively rub against while you hold on to your poo-covered
son has an acorn-sized bladder. He needs you to get up and let him out of the
aisle every 30 minutes to hit the toilet.
24. The guy in front of you gets up and opens the overhead bin before the seatbelt
sign dings off at the end of the flight, and he stumbles back and elbows you in the forehead.
25. You walk past the beds, messy blankets and discarded mini champagne bottles in first class and realize how different
their experiences must have been.
26. You make it through customs, and then have to drag your exhausted manic
toddler to your connecting flight …
Sure, there's a lot of face-punching triggers that occur on
an international flight with a 2-year-old. But boy oh boy, that feeling of
relief you experience when you exit the plane and emerge with your kids into
the terminal on the other side of that hellish travel is a high that makes you
want to unpunch your face a thousand times and do a victory dance.
Just trying not to think about that return flight …