Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our Traveling Circus: The Flight

When we travel, we sort of look like a traveling circus. Really. I try my hardest to "pack light" but it never works. This trip "traveling light" meant: 3 car seats, 3 full size suitcases, 1 small suitcase, a stroller, and 7 carry-on's. And don't forget the 3 kids! Traveling for us is a little like a crazy adventure.

When I booked our flights to San Diego earlier in July, I was dead set on getting the $79 flight from Denver. The problem was I procrastinated buying the tickets, so by the time I go around to it, the desirable flights were gone. That left us with two options: flying late and arriving at midnight or flying early. And when I say early, I mean EARLY. We are not morning people. So when I told Luke that I was booking us on a flight that left at 6:00AM, he looked at me like I was a stranger. I explained the rationale of why I was purchasing tickets for a flight that left at an ungodly hour (to save us money)- and we bought the tickets. 

I concocted a plan that involved the kids not taking naps the day before we left so they would go to bed early, and we could in turn go to bed early too. Unfortunately my grand plan didn't work out quite as thought. I didn't go to bed as late as normally do (2:00AM) but let's just say I got about 2.5 hours of sleep the night before we left. Before we went to bed we packed the car, so that we would be mostly ready to go when we work up at 2:30AM. Unfortunately, we woke up at 3:00AM- which was the time we were supposed to be leaving the house. We left at 3:27AM and arrived at the airport an hour later. Luke dropped me, the kids, and our many bags and car seats off at the terminal and went to park the car in long term parking. I slowly inched my way inside. I moved all of our stuff, a few bags at a time, from the curb into the first set of doors. Once all of bags were in the first set of doors I moved them to the second set of doors. Then I saw the line to check-in. I couldn't see the end. And it wasn't even 5:00AM. I truly did not anticipate the airport being busy before the sun was up. I was wrong. I decided I needed to pay someone to help me with our bags so I could get in line. This turned out to be the best money I spent that day. If I had waited until Luke arrived to get in line, we would have missed our flight. I eventually got to the front of the line and started letting people go in front of us since Luke wasn't back. The parking lot shuttle dropped him back off at the airport at 5:10AM- 50 minutes before our flight. We got started to get checked in and were grilled for not having a document showing Levi's birthdate. We have never been questioned on the age of an infant since clearly they aren't 2 years old.... Thankfully, she believe that Levi (who is 4 months old) wasn't 2 years old and let us check-in. The first suitcase we put on the scale was overweight- thus began the game of shuffling items in the suitcases around. We have all played that game, right? :) 

Once checked in, we ran to security (with 3 kids, a stroller, and 7 carry-on's... now you begin to see why we are a traveling circus). We got to the security area and snapped into action: taking shoes off the kids and us, taking the DVD player and computer out of their cases, pulling all liquids out of the diaper bag, and hustling little people through lines... all while keeping an eye on our watches and snapping at our 2 and 4 year old to go faster. Let me tell you, it was the start of a relaxing day!

We were done with security by 5:40AM, 20 minutes before our flight was due to leave. We gathered all our bags, threw our shoes on, and made a dash for the train between terminals. We arrived as the doors closed. We caught the next train and rode to our terminal, which was conveniently the furthest one away. We finally got to our gate at 5:56AM. Thankfully it was not a full flight, so we were still able to find seats together. And surprisingly, we weren't the last ones to get on the plane. We collapsed into our seats before 6:00AM. The sun was rising. Two thoughts went through my mind: 1- I can't believe how productive I have been before 6:00AM. 2- We need to point out the sunrise to the kids because they have certainly never to seen the sunrise!

The flights were pretty uneventful- always a good thing. Part of my grand plan with our 6:00AM flight was that the kids would sleep in the car on the way to the airport (an hour drive) and they would sleep on the first flight to Phoenix. When my kids are tired, they normally sleep anywhere. Not this time! We woke the kids up at about 3:15AM. They didn't fall asleep until we were descending into Phoenix. Fail. We grabbed a little breakfast in Phoenix, because the peanuts and pretzels on the plane were not cutting it. We arrived in San Diego and we pretty exhausted. It was 9:00AM PST. Both Luke and I couldn't believe we had already been awake for 7 hours.... And thus, our vacation began. We were tired, but so excited to be in California! :)


mer@lifeat7000feet said...

My experience with DIA is that it is the MOST crowded in the early AM!

Whew...glad you made it! Hope you're having a great time.

Jeanette Mundy said...

Phoenix?? If I would have known I would have gone to the airport and met you guys..even if it was for 10 minutes!! Miss you guys!!