This is not my return trip, but one that my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and their two six year old daughters (Lauren and Jillian) took this week. Sounds like a doozy.
"Here we go: Our we-will-never-ever-get-home-drama. We left Brisbane on Wednesday the 15th at 11 am (Kansas City time, Tuesday at 7pm). Before our flight, the nice security man searched all of our bags and confiscated Lauren’s toy snake she bought as a souvenir. Why? Because it might give an old lady a heart attack. Thanks, Mr. Security Man, I really really wanted to listen to my child sob over her confiscated snake for an hour while waiting for our plane. But all the heart attack awaiting elderly ladies sure do thank you. You’re the best. Our 13 hour flight to LA was long and tiring but it was uneventful and landed on time at 7 am LA time.
We had a connection with Midwest at 1:15 so after a relatively quick trip in customs and some confusion on if we had to pick up our bags or not (we did, 8 of them for a total of 12) and 2 long security lines we were free to hunt down a fast food breakfast and hang out very early for our flight. Don had heard some grumblings that our connection was going to be 20 minutes late but we saw it on time waiting at the gate. We were all tired; Don and I were running on no sleep, Jillian had 3 hours and Lauren a whopping 1. We got word our plane was cancelled. In the meantime, the gate had cleared and there are only people left who wanted to get to KC. The girls took this opportunity to get completely out of control, chase each other, spill juice (they brought out the juice and cookie cart from our cancelled flight) and pretending to karate chop each other while narrowly missing kicking a NUN in the shins. I cannot make this stuff up. It’s called karma and it hit hard.
After hours standing in line to obtain a different flight we accepted a connection to San Francisco which the agent said would take-off “around 5ish” (warning, do NOT accept anything that ends with –ish as anything but -ish) with American and then a direct flight from there back on Midwest landing in KC at around midnight. Six hours later than expected and not at all what we wanted but we took it anyway. We were literally given a handwritten piece of paper that said we were authorized on this American Airlines flight but it said nothing of the take-off time. I believe it said (and this is a direct quote): Teh Masek famely can fly on ur Merican flite cuz we sed sos. XOXOXO. We left to hike the huge monstrosity that is LAX and checked in at American after a huge line in ticketing and another huge line in security, of course we got called for the extra special security check. They searched all 4 of our carryons, inspected each of our 3 laptops thoroughly, and worked us over with the wand. Thankfully, there was no body cavity involvement. All of this was taking a LONG time so we stopped at the TV screens on the way to the gate to see when our flight boarded and there it was: Flight # Youaresotottotallyscrewed: FINAL BOARDING. We RAN and RAN to the furthest gate (of course it was) only to be told we COULDN’T board our plane. It was still there but had just shut to boarding minutes before. There we were tired, hungry, and PISSED. Our plane was not scheduled to leave at 5 but at 4pm. It was 3:40 by the time we got there. There was no –ish about it, that sucker was GONE. They said they couldn’t help us. We were going to miss our connection in San Fran and had to head back to the Midwest terminal.
So, back to Midwest we go. They had our bags at least so they threw those suckers back at us and again we were burdened by those 8 extra bags. Those souvenirs best be appreciated, people. After hours at the counter trying to get out of LA, we finally had some options but they weren’t good. By this time it was after 5 pm, we had been traveling for 24 hours on little or no sleep. Jillian finally gave out and collapsed on the floor right there at the desk, falling asleep immediately. Lauren became quite the opposite and was dancing around like a maniac and non-stop talking alternating some crying in there for good measure. We could stay in LA and fly out at 10:40 pm to Atlanta, and then fly to KC arriving at 8:20 am the next day. Our other option was to spend the night, leave at 9 am the next morning, connect somewhere and then arrive home at 5 pm. Yikes. I wanted to go home, so I pushed for the red-eye flight and we took it.
Midwest Micky gave us a hotel room for a couple of hours (before you go cheering for Micky, just wait) so we hoofed the mega bags on the shuttle and off again to our hotel room. We showered and the girls crashed right away and slept from 6pm to 8pm when I woke them up for dinner. I didn’t sleep because I was afraid we would miss another flight. So I sat on the floor by the bathroom and checked and rechecked the flight schedule to make sure we wouldn’t miss another flight. While waiting for the airport shuttle, we gave a homeless couple outside our hotel some money and our pizza. (I know, it gets weird but I swear it’s all true). We arrived at Delta and we were cutting it close. I don’t know what we were thinking because we arrived too late for check-in. I grabbed a supervisor who agreed to check us in. Maybe he was afraid of the panic in my voice that I NEEDED TO GET OUT OF LAX! He said we had reservations but the flight was completely full and overbooked by 22 people. Didn’t matter what time we got there to check in, we never had a confirmed reservation on this flight and we had just checked out of the hotel room we had for the night. Luckily, this Angel of Mercy named Marco (maybe I should thank the girls for not kicking the nun) was incredibly helpful and found us first class tickets on a flight leaving at 1 am, connecting in Atlanta and arriving in KC at 10:20 am.
He called Midwest Micky, who had no choice but to approve the flight or we were coming back to the Midwest check-in desk with our 12 BAGS and things were getting ugly. This had just extended our layover in LA to 19 hours (provided we get on the flight, still waiting and praying to the Patron Saint of Get Me Out of LA Please). We go through the security lines again and Don makes a joke that we will get another special security check and before I could shush him and pray to the Patron Saint of Please Don’t Make Me Go Through the Pat Down Again, the buzzer sounded and again we were “randomly” chosen to be the security guinea pigs. It’s a little disconcerning the first time you watch your children getting frisked, but I have to say maybe it’s the sleep deprivation talking (coming up on 2 days since sleep left us) because the second time it’s no biggie.
First class was a riot. The girls sat apart from us and were living it up drinking their punch with fruit on the side and a little umbrella. Don was pleased to find out beers were complimentary. We had to separate the girls after a stuffed animal throwing party ensued and separating them allowed them to finally get a few hours of rest. Don and I managed to eek out about an hour’s worth of sleep too. Those seats were totally comfortable. I prayed to the Patron Saint of Please Let us Make Our Connecting Flight and our connecting flight was uneventful and we were able to finally come home at 10:20 am. Now if we can just find a way to find all of that lost sleep. Gaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!!"