Thursday, April 06, 2006

My dream flight

So, the other day when I was watching the news, they were doing a segment on airlines. I guess they just came out with all the new statistics for all the airlines, such as lost luggage, delayed flights, customer service, etc. They mentioned that Alaska Airlines was only on time 30% of the time, horrible, they are one of the worst. As a matter of fact, my sister just booked a flight on Alaska Airlines and when it gave her the percentage of her particular flight being on time, it gave 0%! Is that insane? Well, after I saw the news clip I kind of giggled to myself because I was fully aware that just a couple days later I was going to venture onto an Alaska Airlines flight, at night, at bedtime, with a 4 year old and 1 year old, by myself. What are the odds? You are probably wondering at this herself? Why by herself? I thought she was married? Yes folks I am, but my husband has a talent, yes a talent, of scheduling himself away from any situation that involves our two children and an airplane. He is actually flying in 2 days later. Isn't he good?
So, we arrive at the airport on time, actually with time to spare. We snag a luggage cart just sitting there, free. Lucky! I check in, our suitcase is 1 lb within the free limit, anything over 50 lbs, $25. I am feeling great. Look at me, I am so good. We take a little sit down at the Starbucks to have a little drink and pastry...

side note: Steve's dad would not approve of this lounging
behavior before a flight. We have had some bad
situations that arose from taking a little sit down when there was time to
spare. Whenever we indulge in this ritual we always remember Jose, and his
annoying words of wisdom. We listen carefully to all announcements and we don't
cut it too close.

We give our goodbyes to daddy (he has no idea at this point how lucky he really and truly is) and we head through security, no incidences.
And now it begins...
Of course, I knew it was too good to be true, my true luck finally kicks in. Our gate is located at the very, extreme end of the airport terminal About 12.6 miles down a neverending hallway. We arrive at gate C-20, apparently, they have been making an announcement that the gate has been changed...of course, to C-15. Once my brief annoyance had passed, I looked across, just across the way. Thank goodness. We arrive as they are boarding and we get onto the planes. Yea!! We then proceed to sit on a hot stuffy cramped airplane for an entire hour while they attempt to fix a door that is not closing properly. I'm not irritated by the fact that they are trying to fix a door, but come on people. Why the hell would they load 300 people onto a plane and then decide to do maintenance? And, what is the reason they can't turn on the air? After an entire hour they remove us and all of our belongings, and send us completely across the airport to another gate. We are at C we had to go to N, via train to board a new plane.
Once we get to the new gate we wait in the waiting area for about 40 minutes. Cailin is being great this entire time, Avrie is being...well, she is being Avrie. You know, I never have to worry about the politics of nursing in public because Avrie just downright refuses. So, after 40 minutes they start loading us into the new plane. 1st class first. They made an announcement they are going to do things a little differently to make it go smoother and faster, they are going to load the plane from the back forward. A bunch of freakin' idiots. Why don't they always do that? It would make so much more sense. But no, they like to see everyone struggling trying to sneak by the gentleman trying to shove an oversized suitcase into the overhead bin, the two kids arguing about aisle seat or window seat. It is the slowest process ever to board a plane. But since they did it backwards, we were all on the plane and ready to go in 10 minutes. Is it a requirement to leave all intelligence behind when you work for the airlines? Also, they were trying to force me to board first because I have two kids. Are they insane? Are none of them parents? I told them that given our flights current reputation and situation, I will be boarding last. I informed them that I didn't think we were actually going to be leaving the runway any time soon, a little intuition goes a long way sometimes. What person in their right mind preboards with kids? They already are going to have to sit for hours and hours, let them run around until the last possible moment. Steve and I are always battling airline employees about preboarding with our kids and I just down right refuse to participate in that idiotic ritual!!
Okay, we are on the plane taxiing out to the runway, and guess what folks? We have to go back to the gate, the pilots saw flickering lights in the cockpit and we are losing speed. I was right. Unfortunately I was not allowed the opportunity of an appropriate "I told you so" to the airline employee that tried to force me to preboard. So, here is is..."I told you so!"
Another hour later, we are finally leaving, with applause as the plane rises in the air 6 minutes shy of our original Phoenix landing time.
Avrie finally nurses to sleep, Cailin is watching a movie. Quiet. She falls asleep 1/2 way through the movie. At this point I have to pee so horribly that my chest is starting to hurt. Avrie is asleep on my shoulder, there has been bad turbulence the entire time, Cailin is asleep. I can do it! This is pure talent. she didn't even attempt to wake up, slept through the entire 15 minute pee. The release was heavenly. I get back to my seat, all 3 goals accomplished. Bladder emptied, Avrie asleep, Cailin still on the plane.
We arrive at 1:30am, my dad actually was able to meet us at the gate, special pass. He acts like he was treated like VIP because he was extra nice to the counter lady (my dad is a talker and a flirt) Im sure its pretty common, but shhh, don't tell my dad that.
We arrive at my parents house at 2:30am, Cailin gets a second wind and we watch the "Chronicles of Narnia" (again), the entire movie, she did not fall asleep until 4:30am. Crazy kid. We have now owned that movie for 36 hours and I have seen it 4 times!
So, all of you out there. Beware of Alaska Airlines. They have a little bit of a commitment issue, being on time just isn't a priority, they just cant commit to a flight time. Oh well, at least we know they wont fly a plane that is compromised, but the downside...they serve oatmeal raisin cookies instead of chocolate chip...Yuck!!


Joshua said...

What's wrong with oatmeal raisin cookies?

HLH said...

Raisins- YUCK!

I unlike you, LOVE to preboard with my kids. Mostly because we fly SWA and first on get first dibs on seating. I ALWAYS choose bulkhead seating, I HATE being squished in the regular seats with kids.

I suppose if I had assigned seating I wouldn't care when we borded the plane, but it has been ages since I have flown anything but SWA.

So glad you made it though!!

Sara said...

I have to say, I also love preboarding. It is a must on Southwest, but I like it on any ariline because it's so much easier to keep my kids coralled when we're actually on the plane...