It all started on April 16th, 2013.
We were headed home from our Boston vacation. When we got to the airport I got the evil eye from one of the American Airline employees who looked skeptically at my carry on baggage.
“Does it fit in the compartment?” She asked, gesturing to the bag sizer.
I was feeling guilty anyway, since I knew it’d be close. So I handed off the baby and went to check my bag. $25 dollars later I was back in line strapping the baby on with my lovely Ergo carrier (seriously, it’s a necessity.).
We got to our gate fairly easily, we had an hour or so to kill so Mom got coffee, I used the complimentary wi-fi to check in with my students, and Henry played with an empty coffee cup.
While we waited they announced that they were doing complimentary baggage checking (oh sure, now you tell me). So we figured, since I had already checked my baggage, Mom might as well check hers too, since we’d have to go to baggage claim for mine anyway. That also left us with just a carseat, laptop, baby and huge purse/diaper bag to cart through the airport.
I was a little worried about this flight, because I was seated in the middle seat with Henry (in between two strangers) while Mom was seated two rows behind me. Please please please be good Henry.
As we prepared for takeoff the pilot came over the air and told us that all American Airlines computers had gone down and we had to wait to get some more information before we could takeoff. Awesome.
I had already started nursing Henry in preparation for takeoff, and he fell asleep. All cute and sweaty underneath my scarf.
An hour later we took off. Needless to say by that time Henry’d woken up. He stayed awake (and relatively content) for the entire 2 hour 20 minute plane ride.
Once we got to Chicago we headed for the food court. Our original 3 hour 45 minute layover was now only 2 hours. I could deal with that. Diapers (okay, just one) were changed, food was eaten. Phones rang.
Dad (who had left Boston on an earlier flight to Chicago – who knows why we weren’t on the same flight) was for some reason STILL in Chicago. He met up with us. This is about the time that we found out they’d grounded all American Airlines flights until 5 o’clock.
Soon after that we learned that Dad’s flight to Minneapolis had been cancelled. Our flight to Columbia, MO was delayed. Dad went to figure out how he was getting home. We went to check on our flight.
This is when we followed the extremely long line of American Airlines passengers who were trying to figure out what to do next. With a baby, carseat, and other luggage. It was fun.
A super nice American Airlines employee booked us on a later flight (7:15pm) that went to St. Louis, and also got my dad a voucher for a hotel room and some food. Since we had to hang out for awhile we chilled near the disabled seating in the ticketing area (the only place with chairs.
Henry was a trooper.
We hung out with Dad while waiting on our flight. Eventually, we said goodbye so he could get to his hotel, and we headed to our gate.
I should also mention, this is where I put Henry in the last diaper I had with me. I had packed twice as many as I thought we’d need for the 7 hour trip home. The “extra” diapers were in my checked luggage. ::shakes head::
At this point, we’d been traveling for 12 hours.
Now, we had to go back through security. I strapped Henry on again and we headed through. This time I asked the TSA agent, “What’re you checking for anyway?” when they swabbed my hands, “Drugs?”
“We test all mothers wearing their babies for explosives.” She explained.
“Oh, that’s smart.” I replied as the explosive detector DETECTED EXPLOSIVES. No joke.
So, I had to hand Henry to Mom and walk barefoot behind the TSA agent to a private room to get a private pat down. Awesome. Guess what? No explosives.
I could’ve told her that. Just took some pride. No biggie.
Tip: If you plan on wearing your baby through the security checkpoint they will test your hands for explosives. I wore Henry through both Boston Logan International Airport and Chicago O’Hare.
Once we made it to our gate and hung out awhile were given some good news. Our plane was there. It was cleaned and ready to go. They had a pilot. They were just waiting on the rest of the crew.
Should be soon, right?
At 10 o’clock that night, they cancelled our second flight to St. Louis. By this time, my husband had driven 1 1/2 hours towards the St. Louis airport expecting to pick us up. Henry was beyond exhausted. Mom and I were tired from carting him around. We were out of diapers. And when they cancelled our flight, they also informed us that they were out of hotel vouchers. They would be bringing cots out for people to sleep on.
That’s when we called Dad and took a shuttle to the hotel.
If only it ended there…