Sunday, March 21, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

I love to fly! I love airports! I love the hustle and bustle of check in, I love going through security and knowing that I've met all of the ever changing regulations without fail, I love browsing the cheesy souvenirs in the shops as I walk to my gate, I love the walk down the ramp as I prepare to board the plane and I love pulling out my book as the plane taxi's towards the unknown that travelling to a new (or even familiar) destination inevitably brings. At the same time, being a creature of habit, I love the familiarity of the entire process of flying.

That said, I was feeling pretty nervous about flying through Frankfurt and Abu Dhabi, two of the busiest airports in the world with 3 small children in tow. When it is just me and my single carry on bag to contend with, all is good but throw a temperamental 3 year old, a clingy 7 year old and a reluctant 9 year old into the mix and all of a sudden the familiar becomes unpredictable. Then just for fun, add an insanely tight connection in a foreign country and life goes from unpredictable to just plain nuts!

As usual, I didn't sleep much the night before our upcoming flight so running on pure adrenaline, I finished packing and we headed to the Calgary airport. Running out of time earlier in the week actually worked in our favor as I still had the van for our trip to the airport since there was no possible way that our 8+ bags and assorted car seats would have fit into Nana's Honda.

After one minor meltdown (mine) as I searched for our visas on the floor of the Calgary airport and a teary goodbye to Nana, we were off.

I strongly recommend that anyone who comes to visit us spend the extra air miles and fly business class! One note though, try and fly West Jet/British Airways if you are travelling with children as the lounges in both Calgary and London are much more child friendly offering dedicated play spaces, televisions and more variety in lounge menus than do Air Canada/Lufthansa who offer none of these services.

Overall the flights went much more smoothly than I expected and all 3 of the kids rose to the challenge of an 18+ hour commute with, pardon the pun, flying colors. Ryan was by far the most challenging; adding I'm sure, at least 10 grey hairs to my otherwise copper locks.

Beginning with him filling his carry on bag, unbeknownst to myself or the sales ladies in the Olympic store in Vancouver, with "Sumi" paraphernalia thereby setting of a multitude of alarms upon leaving the store, making his displeasure loudly known when I forbade him to ride the escalator down to the arrivals level, thus leading us out from behind security, as we were heading to gate in Vancouver, angrily telling the security guard in Frankfurt that he wasn't going to go through the security doorway that the guard had specifically requested followed up by an academy award worthy temper tantrum and lastly, watching Ryan run away from me through a sea of legs, made up of 3 full boarding lounges in Frankfurt, while I attempted to simultaneously catch him and show the CSA my passport, so that we could board the bus that would in turn take us to the plane bound for Abu Dhabi and finally Muscat.

Once on board, after enjoying a remarkably good dinner, while all of the other guests turned down their lamps, laid their chairs back to rest (another reason that I highly recommend business class) and in general prepared for a good nights sleep, my children were just coming awake.

Robin found the on board CD selection and proceeded to stand up on her fully laid back chair, in front of a full business section, and begin her own karaoke session complete with dance moves. Nicholas was much more reserved, choosing instead to enjoy the full complement of movies available through the on board entertainment system for the next 7 hours. He watched New Moon twice, Harry Potter and the 1/2 Blood Prince, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and G-Force three times. At least he was quiet. And lastly Ryan, who I was hoping desperately would sleep, didn't, but he did settle in eventually to watch G-Force 4 times with his sister.

It was certainly not the most relaxing flight I have ever taken but overall, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. My one saving grace is that the kids slept pretty much the entire way from Frankfurt to Abu Dhabi, this buggered up their time clock when we arrived in Muscat at 10:30 pm but that is a story for another day.

A demain...


  1. Hey, Terry!

    I hope everything is perfect for your family.
    And let me know your SKYPE id for chatting.
    Jamie wants to see Nick.

    Good luck!!


  2. this is jamie!howare you doing?

  3. Hi there (Ian here - seem to need a blogging account to comment so using my science nerd alter-ego). I hope you're enjoying your adventure - the flight sounded ...interesting, to say the least. Are you getting settled in?