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Flying Experiences

March 15, 2011 · 19 comments

in Life

I was reading a post over at 101 Centavos that provided tips for airplane travel.  The tips that were given reminded me of some of my airplane experiences.  I started chuckling when I thought about one memory, and I suddenly had the urge to share it.

So, we were flying from Detroit to California, which is about a 5 hour flight.  I am a terrible flier, I basically hate it.  My ears are like a baby’s, and I want to cry when we change altitude because the pain is often quite bad.  (Yes, I do chew gum…)  Not to mention my hatred of heights, not being in control, etc etc.

Anyway, we were nice and settled into our flight, and we probably still had about 3 hours left in our trip when the children sitting behind me started acting up.  I was sitting with two of my kids, who were around 6 and 8 years old while my husband was across the aisle with my 10 year old.  I was getting irritated because the kids sitting behind me kept kicking the back of my seat, but my two kids sitting next to me were giggling away.  I asked why and they pointed behind them.  I turned around, and the two brothers  that were kicking me were being hell on wheels, while grandpa was sleeping peacefully in the seat next to them.  I started listening closer, and these two little kids were just swearing left and right, and laughing up a storm.   After awhile, Grandpa finally did wake up, but the behavior did not change.  I then realized that Grandpa probably couldn’t speak english and had no idea these little grandchildren were talking like sailors.  I got tired of it quickly, but it kept my kids amused for a long time.

I know my story is not a horror story by any means, and we may have actually caused a bad flying experience for others when we foolishly flew to California when my youngest was 18 months old.  (He had bad ear pain, and he also did not like being contained for 5 hours.  There were a lot of tears during those 5 hours, some of which were mine…)  However, I know many of you out there probably have some pretty interesting stories to share, and I would love to hear them!

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

First Gen American March 15, 2011 at 9:38 am

My worst flying experience was when I was coming back from Poland with my mother and my 11 month old son. It was a 10 hour flight and we were in middle seats. I remember the point I got to tears was about 9 hours in when I handed the stewardess a bag of trash and she handed it back to me. She told me I was disgusting and unsanitary because there was a diaper in it and how dare I try to give her human waste.

She was young and snooty and obviously too good to handle my trash and obviously not a mom. (It was a pee diaper and wrapped in a ball and in a bag) She was such a B***tch and I was so embarrassed. I ended up climbing over the 2 other people to get out of my seat to get rid of the trash while my son screamed bloody murder in my mom’s arms because I left him. He was at that clingy age. That was the worst part of my trip and I ended up crying in the bathroom.
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retirebyforty March 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I’m so sorry to hear that. :( What a snotty hostess! We’ll try to avoid flying with the kid until he’s a bit older.
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Crystal @ BFS March 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm

That’s awful!!! You poor thing!!!

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Moneycone March 16, 2011 at 12:38 am

That is horrible! What airline was this?
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First Gen American March 16, 2011 at 10:14 am

LOT was the airline, although I have to say most of the time they are really great. It was just one bad stewardess.

It was also a horrible takeoff. It took over an hour to take off and the whole time they wanted you buckled and still. Try telling that to a 11 month old. He was fine when he wasn’t buckled, but screamed like heck when he was restrained. Yes, I understand being buckled during takeoff, landing and turbulence is for safety, but to expected to just be sitting there at the ready for over an hour, well, that was torture for us and all the poor slobs listening to the screaming around us. You wouldn’t have wanted to be sitting next to us on that flight.

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Nicole March 15, 2011 at 11:22 am

An interesting recent experience was a very long red-eye (I think from West Coast to East Coast) in which I sat next to a Hari Krishna. That was entertaining. He explained to me about his religion and I told him about GRS and Dave Ramsey and how to get a handle on his debt so he could afford to live the life he wants to live. Also Hari Krishnas are only allowed to have sex for the purposes of procreation, which I really could have lived without knowing. I did find out that an amazing vegetarian place DH and I ate in Dallas during a road trip is Hari Krishna owned, and not just generically fru-fru.

I’ve sat next to fat smelly people, and in between people who took half my seat in addition to their own. I’ve been kicked by obnoxious elementary schoolers and climbed on by toddlers. One memorable occasion was a woman with a “lap child” who was obviously 3 or 4, who would hit his mother, and then she would hit him back, yelling, “Don’t hit!” I wanted to tell her she was doing it wrong, but instead just let him crawl all over me.

I’ve had to manage a kid in a carseat and my luggage by myself getting on and off airplanes delayed and canceled for technical difficulties (and been yelled at by flight attendants for being unable). I was once rushed to the emergency room at an airport because they wouldn’t let me on a flight because I was throwing up with food poisoning (they were super nice, rehydrated me, shot me up with anti-vomit stuff, and put me on the next flight out).

I will never ever ever fly through New Jersey again. I don’t want to talk about it. But it’s up there in the most traumatic experiences of my life, just below a surgery mishap.

Back when I flew Southwest I did a lot of math tutoring during flights. I feel really sick if I get an aisle seat and often the only way to get a window seat in SWA was to be willing to sit next to small children. The only way I know how to entertain small children is by teaching them something, usually math.

I travel a lot. Too much. I’d kind of like to do another road trip next as an actual vacation, but we’ll see if that ever happens. Right now we have $900 in travel vouchers from being bumped over Thanksgiving.
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DoNotWait March 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Oh my! Your story reminds me of all the times I had to deal with this problem at the movie theater. I remember a couple of times where I could not take it anymore so I turned around and said: “Am I disturbing you?”"Euh, no!”"Well, you are, because I am trying to watch a movie here”. LOL

As for the airplane, I remember this couple who could not stop kissing eachother. That was really annoying after minutes and minutes and minutes… I don’t like having ear plugs in an airplane so I tried to read, sleep, watch outside, talk… nothing could hide the noises of their mouths kissing.

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Steph at Modern Parents Messy Kids March 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I just posted about my first time flying with my 2 young kids (2 years and 7 months). The title is “How to Survive Meltdowns, Panic Attacks, Delays & 2nd Degree Burns at the Airport”. Need I say more?

http://www.modernparentsmessykids.com/2011/03/how-to-survive-meltdowns-panic-attacks.html?showComment=1300221282972#c5514943943252615350

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Crystal @ BFS March 15, 2011 at 6:45 pm

I hate airplanes. I too have ears that refuse to pop with gum, swallowing, yawning, etc. So I always end up in pain.

The worst flight ever was the 14-17 hours it took to get from Florida to Holland when my family was moving there in high school. We were in business class which is great, but Mom sat me in between my two sisters (one was 7 and the other was 2 – I was 15). My younger sister tried her hardest but just couldn’t sleep so she kept wanting me to tell her stories for 12 hours straight. The youngest accidentally dumped her 7up in my lap 3 hours into the flight so I was freezing, sticky, and wet while trying to tell stories. Plus, I was already depressed about leaving every single friend I had behind and my ears hurt half the time. It was awful…

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Money Reasons March 15, 2011 at 7:51 pm

My horror story was from a flight back from San Fran from a business trip.

While I’m not a very tall guy, I use to lift weights, so my shoulders, chest and back were decent sized. The airplane chair is very snug anyway, and since I was muscular it was rough with someone sitting next to me. I usually try to sit on the aisle seat so I could have some flex room.

Well, an this trip back, I was next to the window and a lady that was at least twice my weight sat next to me. She oozed over her seat and into mine. I try to twist my body as close to the window as possible, but I couldn’t escape from her flesh touching me. After that incident, I lost my enthusiam to go on such trips anymore. :p
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krantcents March 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I experienced that even though I sat in an aisle seat. The bad news was the flight was full and it lasted five and a half hours (JFK to LAX).
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101 Centavos March 15, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Hi Kris, thanks for the mention. The miserable flying experiences are numerous and range from the tedious to the disgusting. On one flight back from Europe, we dosed our two-year old with some thing or other (I think it was Dramamine) to calm him down, but it had the opposite effect, it amped… him… UP! He was hell on wheels for the next 5 or 6 hours. At one point, he was running up and down the aisle, with my wife and eye watching in a foggy stupor, we were that worn out. I watched him as he ran up to this one bald guy whose head was resting on the armrest, sleeping, and he WHACK! slapped him on his bald pate. Then he quickly ran back and climbed on my lap, all innocent-looking. I was too dumbfounded to react much. The bald guy woke up briefly, probably wondering “what the heck was that?”, and then settled back down. I’ll be damned if that little rascal didn’t climb down, and quick as a monkey before I could grab him, ran down and slapped the guy on the head again! This time I had to go up and apologize profusely. Luckily the guy was too groggy, either drunk or on meds, to register what I was saying. The other passengers made up for it by glaring at me with murder in their eyes.
I went back to our seats and told the Mrs. that next time, it’d be her turn.
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krantcents March 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm

The first time, I flew business class using miles I experienced some flight attendants who hated their job! Hard to believe? What surprised me was they were very vocal about it. They let everyone know all the ills of working as flight attendants. It really tainted the flight, because everything they did had a certain attitude. Unfortunately, it was a ten and a half hour trip to London from Los Angeles. The return flight was much better. Since then, we try to fly on Star Alliance airlines to avoid the domestic partner.
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Lindy Mint March 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I was once stuck on a tarmac for two hours while 7 months pregnant and coming home from a conference with my boss. The teenagers in front of us were arguing and crying, causing my boss to yell at them, and a toddler two rows ahead was bellowing for milk nonstop because his mother hadn’t brought any for him. But because he was saying it in Spanish, the stewardesses were clueless, even though we tried to tell them that’s what he needed. We then had an incredibly turbulent flight.

The other bad experience was probably when I took my active 9 month old as a lap child and the people in front of me kept their seat backs down the entire 2 hour flight. I spent the whole time trying to keep my baby from yanking their hair.
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Jeni March 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Once when my son had an awful earache on a plane the stewardess heated a damp towel and put it in a cup. We put that up to his ear. It’s like magic! Try it if you ever have an earache and gum doesn’t help.

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Kris March 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Wow, I have never heard of that. I will definitely keep that in mind. Better bring my own cup and towel though-who knows how much the airline would charge for such service.

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Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer March 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I fly about once a month between work and personal trips. I have my share of memorable experiences, but the best thing was when I walked into wrong restroom at one trip.

I knew something was wrong (urinals were my clue) but it took me a couple of minutes to figure it was me all the while the men were just staring at me.
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101 Centavos March 22, 2011 at 5:51 am

That’s OK, I walked into a restroom once and noticed a distinct lack of urinals. Thankfully, I was the only one in there, but I did get a raised eyebrow from an incoming lady as I beat a hasty retreat.
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Phil January 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm

American Airlines Flight: New York (LGA) to Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL) w/ a connection in Chicago (ORD)

In mid-December of 2012 I had a scheduled flight with American Airlines from New York City to Honolulu, Hawaii to celebrate my honeymoon with my wife. While I was flying American Airlines, because of flight credits, she was flying Hawaiian. We were to arrive at Honolulu at roughly the same time to begin our honeymoon together.

I departed LaGuardia airport in New York City (LGA) as scheduled, however, upon arrival to my American Airlines connection flight in Chicago (ORD) I was informed that my to Honolulu was canceled. Not delayed, canceled. After a couple of hours on the phone, the American Airlines reservation specialist I spoke with was able to book me a last minute flight with United Airlines, however, this was unfortunately not to Honolulu (HNL), but to Kona, another Hawaiian Island. Because of the canceled American Airlines flight, I was stuck in a Marriott on another Island without my wife on the very first night of our honeymoon – with another connecting flight the next morning to Honolulu.

I was told by the American Airlines Reservation Specialist that they would provide me with financial reimbursement for my additional hotel and taxi expenses due to their canceled flight. I therefore submitted the below for reimbursement:

• Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel: $182.70
• Taxi to/from the Kona airport to the Marriott: $80
• Flight AA Frequent Flyer miles: 4235 miles

However, American Airlines responded with the below, only providing a bonus miles credit of 2765 American Airlines miles, above the 4235 I would have received if the flight had not been canceled. American Airlines customer relations representative stated:

“Accordingly, it is not an airline industry practice to assume financial responsibility for our customers’ personal time lost or for out-of-pocket expenses when extenuating circumstances prevent us from operating as planned. I am sorry.”

From what I can see, it appears American Airlines no longer offers flights from Chicago (ORD) to Honolulu (HNL) directly any longer, only transferring again through Dallas. This is an issue that should have been resolved before passengers were forced to deal with the inconveniences and incur additional expenses not originally declared by American Airlines.

I have been a loyal customer for many years, but this is the last straw. I will never purchase another American Airlines ticket again.

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