It just wouldn’t be a trip in this country without some traveling issues. We have come to accept this and try very hard to learn to go with the flow. This was no problem when it was just the two of us. We just knew to not expect flights to leave and to not schedule domestic travel and international flights too close together…like give yourselves a week between just in case.
Traveling with Little t is a whole different breed of animal. As much as we would LOVE for him to be as flexible and go-with-the-flow as we try to be (and granted, he does very very well) he just isn’t. Part of this is his personality but mostly it is his limited understand of the big picture that causes him to get worked up easily in situations like this. And we usually end up paying for it with spectacular displays of frustration.
We were scheduled to fly out of M-ville on a Saturday morning, have a week in Kbl and fly to Dubai on the Wednesday of that week. We had times with friends all planned for that week. Friends that we love dearly but rarely rarely see.
Saturday morning we woke up to mist and some rain. At our house it seemed like it was beginning to clear, so we were hopeful that it would be gone by the time the plane came. Little t woke up excited about going in an airplane (he does much better if we prep him a few days in advance for things like this) and was his jolly self all morning. We got to the airport and the fog set back in. The plane made a few passes, but it was clear that it wasn’t going to be able to land. We loaded back up and headed back home. As we opened the car door at the office, a scowl crept across Little t’s face. He looked at me, slightly confused, and said, “Momma, airplane, go.” I explained again that we couldn’t go on the airplane that day because of the weather and we would try again the next day. He was not happy to be home and grumped around all day. He talked about the airplane and kept asking please could he go on it.
We heard that the plane could not be able to come the next day…or until Wednesday, the day of our international flight and we couldn’t swing that. So, the decision was made that we would go by road the next morning to the bigger city 4 hours away and fly to the capital from there.
Little t loved the car ride and was great. He was even excited the next morning when we woke him at 3 to head to the airport. He slept the whole flight to the capital and had a great day playing with friends. The next few days in the capital he did well, all things considered, being in a different bed, having early mornings and late-ish nights, being around so many people he didn’t know.
Wednesday morning came and it was the moment of truth. The car came at 5 and we were out the door. Little t once again was stoked at the prospect of going on an airplane and did great on the car ride and through all of the security checkpoints. He greeted all of the female security personnel and allowed them to shower him with kisses. He said hello to everyone and shook many hands. He was his jolly self.
We arrived at the ticketing desk at 6:00 – a record for us. We had majorly cut it close the last time we flew this airline and almost missed our flight, so we were fine with being early. The airport staff near the door to the ticketing area told us that usually they open their ticketing desk at 6:30, so we settled into seats to wait. 6:45 rolled around and Little t was delighted to see a group of little white kids walk through the door. We didn’t know it, but the flight company that flies us around the country was also going to Dubai for their annual retreat. Half of their foreign staff and their families were on the flight (the next half coming the next day). We stood around and chatted, the kids played and ate breakfast. Finally at 7:30, we began to wonder if anyone was going to show up to check us into this flight that was scheduled to leave at 9 am.
About that time a random guy walked through the door and over to our group. He asked if we were on the A.A. flight. He proceeded to tell us that he was from that airline and they had decided not to fly that day. Some of the men kind of chuckled and asked what he was talking about. He revealed that they didn’t have enough passengers on the flight to make it worth their trip, so they had cancelled the flight. He had no idea if anyone had been notified of the cancellation (obviously we hadn’t…we had been standing there for 1 ½ hours) and couldn’t say for sure if the flight would go tomorrow or if they could reschedule us on it or not. Several times he said, “thank you” and started to walk away only for one of the foreign men to press with important information regarding our travel plans.
As is one of his special gifts, Little t sensed the stress pass between A and I as A relayed the turn of events to me. We tried to not show it, but we were floored by this development and Little t deftly picked up on it. He completely lost it right there on the floor, kicking and screaming, flailing his arms and shaking his head. I am pretty sure every one of the couple hundred people in that room turned to look at the screaming banshee on the floor. I got him calmed down and preoccupied playing with a toy and the moment passed.
In that moment, a man from another airline who is quite trustworthy and also had a flight leaving at 9 came over and offered to try to get us seats on the flight. A didn’t even have to discuss it with me, he knew that we could only handle so much more that day. Given the trip back into town during morning rush hour, the fact that the guesthouse was full for the night, and leaving meant we had to tackle the airport and it’s 8 security checkpoints another very early morning would most likely lead to several more outbursts from us all, he agreed. We worked like mad for the next few minutes to get ourselves on that plane. All of our friends decided to do the same thing. The airline handled it wonderfully…getting about 20 people tickets and checked in and through immigration in record time.
Little t only had three more giant meltdowns while we waited for everything to be squared away. He was flustered that I wouldn’t let him run his stroller into the ankles of unsuspecting travelers who were waiting in line. When I took that opportunity away, he decided to see how many suitcases he could take down by running at them full tilt and jumping on them to tackle them. Oddly enough, strangers also don’t like strange monkey boys attacking and knocking over their suitcases either. And finally when an older girl took away his tractor and buggy (his most beloved toys), his true colors shone through. She was mad that I wouldn’t give her a turn to play with them, but by that time, I was doing whatever I could to keep him happy. And really a 4 year old stealing a 2 year old’s toys doesn’t go over great with me.
We finally got on that airplane and while wedged between two very large men, Little t nodded off and took a great nap. I was so thankful to be out of that airport and so grateful when we landed in Dubai. Hence the crying tears of joy upon entering the hotel room