Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thanks for flying with us.

Flying for a full day with kids is never fun. Believe me I know. Now that my youngest is 8 flights are never really a problem. I can put my headphones on and tell the kids that I am taking a nap and they will leave me alone. It is nice!

To get to America we had to take three flights. The first leg of our trip was Ankara to Munich, Germany. This flight left at 6am and contained several families of Americans going to the states for Christmas. They decided to group us all at the back of the plane...not sure why...maybe so we could talk to each other. A family with four small children sat behind us. Next to us sat a family with 2 kids. These two families knew each other so there was quite a bit of conversation between these little kids. We heard about visiting grandma and seeing the dog, Bruno, that was the favorite dog in the whole world. We heard about Santa coming and how he knew they would be at grandma's house so he would bring their presents there. But, most of all, we heard lots of ohhhhs and ahhhhhs. When the plane started down the runway...ohhhhhhhh. As we were lifting into the air...ahhhhhhhhs. Every turn, every slight movement was accompanied by lots of noise from these children. You would have thought we were on a rollercoaster ride. The funny thing is it was probably the smoothest flight I have ever been on. So normal and easy...really no need for any ohhhhhs and ahhhhs. At one point the lights were turned off and it was quite dark in the plane. One little girl piped up, "I know why they turned off the lights. It's 'cause everyone is sleeping." To which Anna Grace replied under her breath, "well, I have a good idea. If everyone is sleeping why don't you be quiet." I just about choked on my water.

2nd leg...Munich to Chicago. Nothing to report...9 hours of flying, no loud children, good naps, good music, no complaints.

3rd leg...Chicago to Houston. By this point we were all getting delirious. I was trying to make my kids eat dried peas from my snack mix. They were refusing so I was telling them the fine points of why you should eat your vegetables. Delirium had definitely set it. The flight attendent asked where we were traveling from and when she heard Turkey she did everything she could to make this last flight comfortable. Cups of ice for our drinks...because they can do that here. We won't get sick from drinking cold coke. I must admit though that I wasn't used to icy cold beverages. As good as it tasted I had to pace myself. It was a brain freeze waiting to happen. Not long after we received our cups of ice and full cans of coke our plane, which had been having quite a bumpy time of it lurched to one side and then headed down. Hmmmmmm....it's not time to land so why are we in what seems to be somewhat of a controlled nosedive? We had to hang onto our drinks so they wouldn't slide off of our tray tables. Glancing back we saw that the flight attendents were strapped in so we knew something must be going on. My kids were looking at me to explain our sudden descent. I had no idea what was happening and told them that as soon as they could someone would tell us something. After several minutes of this the plane evened out and the pilot came on to tell us what happened. Evidently our plane's pressure system failed so they brought us down to 10,000 feet to keep from having to use the little masks that fall from the ceiling. They never could get it back up and running so we flew low the rest of the flight. And let me tell you...the manual pressure system is terrible. The ear popping and uncomfortable feeling had Erica and Anna Grace in tears. I was still in a state of delirium and the boys were trying to sleep. One guy sitting a couple of rows ahead of us kept turning around and giving me the report he was hearing on his headphones from the control tower. "We are going back up to 23,000 feet to see if we can keep up the pressure." "No, the system is not working." "They are trying to decide if we have enough fuel to make it to Houston or if we will have to land and change planes somewhere along the way." "There is enough fuel because they added extra in Chicago." It went on like this the rest of the flight. The flight attendent told me that when you fly at a lower altitude it takes longer and it uses more fuel. Hmmm...I didn't know that. She said that for our sakes she hoped we didn't have to divert to "Timbuktu". I almost died laughing. All I could think about was my blog post talking about not knowing where to buy anything in Timbuktu. I can't land there. Thankfully we made it...a little late...but we made it.


Gina said...

The only thing I didn't like about the long flight time is that I get so darn thirsty!! And my feet swelled last time which was a first. I guess no matter if you're flying at a high altitude or low altitude, there will be problems!!

Anonymous said...

Timbuktu is in Africa! Was that flight attendant thinking of taking you back across the Atlantic.