Posted by: OHgalinSoCal | August 13, 2013

The Adventure of LAX——>DTW

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Patiently waiting to board the plane

In case you missed my last post, I did a photo recap of my trip back home to Toledo. Now it’s time to start filling in the stories. First up, the airport story. Yes, there is one. Getting to Toledo was quite the adventure.

Now that Little Brother is 2 and we have to pay for his seat, I booked my first direct flight to Detroit since moving out here. I used to like to have a layover mid-way to get off the plane, let the little one(s) run around, grab a bite to eat, change diapers, etc.

But since I wasn’t going to have a small child camped out on my lap the entire time, I thought let’s just get there without stopping.

Our flight was at 9am. Which means to avoid sitting in crazy L.A. traffic for forever and a day, we left our house at 6:15am. Avoiding traffic, we got to LAX at 7am.

Before we left the house I checked our flight status- on time. After we got to the airport and checked-in/did baggage drop, I confirmed the status again- on time. I got myself and the boys through security, walked to our gate (the first one after security check), and in those 5 minutes, the flight status changed- delayed 2 hours. *sigh*

I called the Husband and then my parents to let everyone know we’d be hanging out at the airport longer than expected. I got myself a coffee and the boys a blueberry muffin to share, found an empty gate and let them run around.

Our flight ended up getting delayed 4 1/2 hours. I booked a direct flight thinking it would make our travel day shorter, it’d be easier on the boys and we would get into Detroit at a decent time (original arrival time was 4:20pm eastern time). Yeah……not so much. We ended up having a 12+ hour travel day between the drive to LAX, the airport and flight time, then the drive from Detroit to Toledo.

Through it all, my little buddies were troupers. They were no tantrums or meltdowns, from them or me!

I bought overpriced coffee (for me), snacks (for them), and little toys (again for them) from the giftshop that was located by our gate. Then found an empty gate that wasn’t being used a few down from ours, set up camp, and let them run and play. Heck, at that time we had been at LAX for 4 hours, had another couple hours to go, and then a 5 hour flight. Run it off kids, run it off.

That was when we experienced a little hiccup. In the form of a tall, handsome, 50-something year old man dressed in a suit, armed with his laptop. He came, grabbed a seat and went to work on the laptop right across from where the boys and I had set up our fishy-cracker, granola bar and Hot Wheels camp. Mind you, at that moment, the boys and I were the only people using the empty Gate A11. There were plenty of other open rows of seats to choose. But he chose the one right across from us.

Now Mister, what exactly do you expect when you set up shop by a woman traveling with two small children? Friends, can you see where this is going?

My little buddies were having a jolly ol’ time playing with their new airport toys, and running around playing tag. While they were laughing and playing together, they weren’t yelling, screaming or crying. They reserve that behavior for home. They also weren’t touching anything or anyone. They were keeping to themselves, while playing and having a good time. All the while being trapped inside LAX waiting for Delta, Delta, Delta to get us on a dang flight to Detroit. In other words, they were being kids.

Now Mr. Suit on the Laptop apparently had enough of this childish behavior, and started to berate me over my  little (they’re 5 and 2) kids playing. He went into a tangent telling me my kids were “out of control”, “being absolutely ridiculous”, “were so disruptive”, and he couldn’t believe I was letting them behave this way.

My jaw hit the floor. I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say.

Now if you know anything about me and my parenting style, I am a strict, yet loving, no-nonsense kind of mom. I have zero tolerance for misbehavior from my children, especially in public. So please believe me when I tell you my kids were not doing anything wrong. As a matter of fact, it was making my heart burst with pride and love to see them playing so nicely together, and behaving so well considering our delayed flight circumstance.

All I could stammer out was an “excuuuuusssse meeeee?!”. He followed up with, “Don’t you think this behavior is ridiculous?”

I could feel my Irish/Italian blood start to boil. My response, “No. No, I don’t. They’re little kids. We’ve been at this airport over 4 hours because our flight keeps getting delayed. At this point we have no idea when we’re going to leave, and we still have a 5 hour plane ride and 45 minute car ride to get through. So NO, I don’t think them playing and running around is being ridiculous. I think they’re having fun and that makes me happy considering how they could be behaving in this type of unexpected circumstance. And we were here first. If you wanted a quiet place to work, you shouldn’t have chosen a seat right next to a mother traveling with two little boys.”

He then had the audacity to look me square in the face and say, “Well, I still have a 5 hour plane ride to get through as well, and you don’t see me running around acting like that.”

Friends, this is what was going on inside my head:

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Instead, I pointed out to him, “Yes, but you are a grown man. You are used to sitting still that long. In case you haven’t noticed, they are just little kids!”.

At that point, my Grandma Z up in Heaven must have sent me a little help. I hadn’t noticed but there was another 50-something year old man who grabbed a seat a couple rows down from us. He jumped up out of his seat, yelling “Is there a problem here?!”. He startled me speechless.

Mr. Suit must have thought this kind sir was coming to his aid. He looks at this short statured, baseball hat clad man and says, “Yes, there is a problem. Look how she’s letting these children behave. It’s ridiculous!” (he very clearly enjoys the word “ridiculous”). Mr. Baseball Hat looks at me then at Mr. Suit. He angrily points his finger in Mr. Suit’s face and states, “No, you’re the problem! If you don’t enjoy children at play then maybe you should get up and leave!”. Whoa.

Once again, my jaw hit the floor. I mouthed my airport knight in shining armor a “thank you”. He looked at me, shook his head and loudly announced, “Some people were never kids. And personally, I’m enjoying and am quite entertained by their company (pointing at my boys)”.

Thank you Grandma for sending the nice man who stuck up for me against the mean man who was rude to my kids. 

Lesson here, please be nice to mothers traveling with little kids, especially if they’re traveling without back-up their spouse. You have no idea how the day may be going for them and their children. And believe me when I tell you that no one is more stressed out about the traveling with kid thing, than the mom is! We have to make sure we have every last bit of kit and caboodle packed (books, crayons, toys, dvd player, favorite blanket, etc.), everyone has gone potty, there are plenty of airplane friendly snacks, and they don’t disrupt those sitting around us. How I don’t need a Xanax every time I travel still marvels me. Maybe it’s because I started traveling with my kids when they were both really little. Big Brother was 8 weeks old his first cross-country flight, and Little Brother was 5 months old. We’re all old pros. : )

Once we all recovered from Mr. Suit’s rudeness, I decided it was time to take another trip to the restroom, use our $6 meal vouchers Delta gave us for the inconvenience, and camp out at our own gate in hopes of soon getting on a plane.

And for the record, Delta can we please not call those $6 vouchers “meal vouchers”. They’re more like snack credits. There is absolute NO WHERE in LAX or any airport for that matter, where you can get a meal for $6. You can’t get a bottle of Dasani and pack of M&M’s for $6.

So finally at 1:30pm (California time), after hours of delays, a good chunk of change spent on coffee, snacks and toys, running around, getting yelled at by Mr. Suit, and numerous trips to the restrooms, we finally, finally boarded our flight.

We got all situated, met our friendly flight attendants, and thank goodness, had a smooth, uneventful 5 hour ride to Detroit. The boys must have worn themselves out doing all that running around. : )

After all that jazz, we made it to Detroit. My little buddies couldn’t wait to get off the airplane and greet Grandma and Papa at baggage claim.

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Little Brother helping Big Brother with his carry-on.

And I honestly believe one of the most beautiful things to witness is an airport reunion between grandchildren and their grandparents. (I might be a bit biased since their my children and my parents)

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Big hugs and kisses from Grandma & Papa.

After our adventures at LAX and our long day of travel, it all was forgotten as soon as we saw my parents. On the car ride from Detroit to Toledo, the boys slumbered in the car as I re-capped the day’s events for my parents and we laughed about it.

Then we got back their house, made ourselves comfortable, and the boys got right down to business.

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Reunited with the toys at Grandma & Papa’s house.

Play time at Grandma & Papa’s house.

Do you have any airport adventure stories? If you have kids, do you travel with them? If so, what’s your best piece of traveling advice for other parents? 

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Responses

  1. Oh man, that Mr. Suit is crazy. I’m sure he doesn’t have any kids! We’re taking a red-eye with our 3 kids tomorrow night. On Delta – yikes! I’m crossing my fingers we don’t have any delays like you did. It seems like after baby #3 my husband wants to go back to traveling like we did before we had kids. My advice is plenty of screens, snacks, and a new toy or two for the airplane. Then, try to stick to “normal” bedtimes and naptimes and healthy food as much as possible (or you’ll pay for it later).

    • Good luck on that red-eye! Have a great trip.
      And yes, I couldn’t agree more with keeping to their “normal” routines. It also seems a little bit harder when at my parents house because they just want to spoil the boys. I have to put them through “detox” when we come home! ; )

  2. I’ve taken my kid to the airport twenty thousand times as an unaccompanied minor. We mastered the security line process. Easy slip off shoes were essential. The only time she missed a flight was the day before Thanksgiving because it was the first time she flew out of Ontario. Now I always review maps of the terminals before I go to new airport.

    Flight delays are a pain. Katie almost had a melt down in Helsinki because she was so tired. Luckily they have chaise lounges to nap on.

    • I imagine your oldest has air travel mastered.
      Flight delays are a pain. Unfortunately they do happen. Fortunately, not all that often.
      And because I didn’t make a big deal about it, and freak out about it, neither did my kids. They were very chill about hanging out in an airport all day.
      That’s why I was so irritated with Mr. Suit saying they were “acting ridiculous”!


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