Uses of Children During Travel

We have kids who are awesome travelers.  We have always been in a position that has required if we want to see family or vacation, we had to travel.  We have driven with a 4 month old premie across West Virginia and Pennsylvania then down to DC and home.  We have driven to Boca Raton FL from Huntington, TWICE, once with a 9 month old and a 4 year old.  Generally, Joe and I believe that kids will travel if you travel with them.  This plane ride is proof.

We got to the “air station,” which is what Beth Anne is calling airports, about two hours ahead of our flight.  That, of course, ensured that everything went very smoothly.  We got our boarding passes with little wait.  We checked our luggage, 49.5 pounds for the largest bag. (Damn, I could have put another half pound in there.)  We went through security unloading everything from our seven carry-ons as I mentioned last post.  Then we sat and waited to board with one last phone call to Uncle Dwight before boarding.  United Air is typically a capitalist airline.  Our flight was at 5:30, a non-stop to LAX, and there was no food service.  Wait, that is not exactly true, if you are in economy you can buy food service. The girls were over moon with takeoff and so excited to see the Grand Canyon.

I was certainly glad that we took the longer stop over in LAX as we had to leave the terminal and take a bus to the international terminal.  This was the first indication that traveling with small children might be helpful.  As we were standing at the curb with two kids and 7 carry-ons, the Out of Service bus driver (who nodded when I told the girls was probably going home for the night) asked Beth Anne where she need to go.  After she told him, he told us to hop on.  Next it was security again and a fidgety wait to board Air New Zealand.  Air New Zealand is lovely.  Dinner 45 minutes into the flight, complimentary wine, water offered regularly throughout the flight, fabulous movies (I highly recommend “The Young Victoria.”) and breakfast right before landing.  I wouldn’t say that the twelve hours flew by but they did everything they could to make it endurable.

After landing we had to go through customs.  Traveling with children plus number two: we got pulled out of the huge line by a security worker and taken to the head of another line when he saw us juggling the girls and the carry-ons.  Joe had a lovely chat with the customs agent, where he was asked about Web-mastering and Google.  On to collect baggage where we waited at the carousel for about 20 minutes.  During that time the girls got to watch the beagles who are sniffing not for drugs but for fruits and veggies. I had a nice chat with one of the agents working with the dogs.  Jim, one of the airport volunteers, came to offer help when Joe had left to figure out where our luggage was.  He entertained the girls and told us how to find help if we needed it.  Joe returned having discovered our luggage was where it belonged and we were not.  After collecting our luggage and our luggage cart (free by the way), we went through the bio-hazard security check point and explained the farm visit and had our bags x-rayed one last time.  Finally we walked out of the secure part of the airport and into NZ.

And Yes I Came Too

Our trip began long before we even got on the airplane. On Friday I ran the errands one needs to before leaving on a trip multiplied, of course, since our trip is so long. By 5 PM I still had very little in suitcases, so I did what anyone would do, went out to sushi and hibachi for dinner with Uncle Dwight and the Lavender family. Then, of course, I went straight home and packed, right? Nope, ice cream at Coldstone Creamery. Finally we got home and I began packing in earnest. The regulations about what you can bring made me nuts. I pack a certain way and I could not do it as some things have to be packed in checked bags and some need to be carried on in case the checked bags do not arrive. So while we only checked 3 suitcases, we traipsed through the airport with 7 carry-ons. We spent a good deal of time counting carry-ons to make sure we did not leave any behind.

Leaving Huntington

Since I stayed up until 4 am packing, leaving 1 hour past schedule was a major accomplishment. We drove with the dog to Joe’s brother’s house. Ruby is a great traveler, much better than expected. Well, except for the throwing up. We spent Saturday night and Sunday with Mike, Cheryle and Taylor. On Sunday we went to a pick-your-own farm which in retrospect we probably should not have done, since it meant that we had to go through a special line at customs in New Zealand. Also, should you ever pick apples with small children, you might need to limit the number that each of them can pick or you might end up with 27 pounds of apples.

On Monday morning we got up and went to Joe’s father’s house. In a surprising turn of events, I made 2 apple pies. 🙂 Joe helped out with some tree trimming. The next day Joe’s dad was nice enough to drive us to the airport, where our 25 hour adventure began.