Funny flight story (‘funny’ because it’s behind us )…
It took 4 flights, 4 taxis and 43 hours to arrive at my parents’ Sungate 11:11 in Vilcabamba, Ecuador.
The connecting flight to Madrid was a total dream with a 10 months old. I inquired both at Heathrow and at Madrid airport desks about a good seat for Lake and I for our remaining 12 hour flight to Guayaquil and was assured with great certainty that the flight is looking empty, that there will be no one next to us and that after take-off we will even be able to change to a four-seater row!
Soooo we board the flight with confidence, find our seat and spread all the toys, snacks and bags across our isle seat and the empty window seat next to us. Then 5 minutes before take-off, people start piling in! PILING IN!
And so many of them, some with 5 bags each, some with caged cats, some with caged dogs. It was like watching a movie, because that’s how surreal it all looked.
At this stage, I’m still pretty optimistic about the extra space on this flight, I almost don’t notice the man telling a cat woman behind us that she’s seated in the wrong seat and needs to move herself, her cat and all four of her bags next to me and Lake.
I start to panic trying to work out how to keep the baby happy while I gather aaaall of our belongings to fit in a tiny space underneath my feet (anyone with kids knows just how much you need for a 1 hour walk, let alone a 43 hour journey!).
Lake senses my panic and starts to get squeamish, meanwhile the cat woman keeps saying something to me in Spanish. If you were to mute this whole scene, it probably looked a little like an over exaggerated version of charades, where she is gesturing for us to transfer to a window seat so that she and all of her stuff wouldn’t have to.
Then as everyone is loudly fussing and climbing over each other to get to their seat and competing to fit what ever they could into tiny overhead lockers, the cat woman starts climbing too and in the midst of throwing her bags onto the seat next to us (I’m still collecting our toys), she manages to bang Lake on the head with her cat’s cage.
Then the crying begins! By this stage it’s not only Lake crying either…
I grab my upset baby and me, shoot over to see a flight attendant, she helps us find a better seat, helps us make the dreadful transfer and just as I start to settle, she tells us there’s an even better seat. I’m a mixed bag of skeptical, pleased, annoyed and hopeful, but I go alone with it. She is right, the seat is much better and there is now a whole empty one next to us!
We are good to go at last.
We are buckled in, Lake on my lap strapped to my seatbelt, I catch a breather (and a few smiling faces that have just witnessed our musical chairs episode), everyone is in their seats, cabin crew have completed the prep for take off and are now nowhere to be seen as they disappear behind the curtains to take their seats. Relaxed in my seat, I’m about to begin my ‘take off meditation’ but before I close my eyes, I gaze over the tv screen:
“Enjoy your flight to Quito”… Quito?? OMG!
I turn to an Ecuadorean man across the isle: “Quito?”, “Si, Quito” he smiles. “Noooooo!”
I practically tear the seatbelt off of me and Lake, swing her over my shoulder and jump out from our seat like a ninja turtle!
The “surreal movie” continues, except I’m no longer the one watching it, everyone is watching ME! In this movie, I’m the crazy woman with a baby over my shoulder, running towards the front of the plane yelling “excuse me, excuse me, I need to be on a flight to Guayaquil, my dad is there to meet his granddaughter for the first time!!!”
A flight attendant pops out from behind the curtain, explains that two flights were combined at the last minute and that the first stop is Quito but I get to transfer there onto Guayaquil and still arrive on schedule. I walk the walk of shame all the way back to our seat with everyone cheering and smiling my way, but I tell myself it’s because I have such a cute baby and nothing to do with the entertainment that her crazy mother just provided for a plane jam-packed full of spectators.
Moral of the Story?… Do not make fun of crazy people, one day they might be you. (And don’t call cat lovers ‘cat woman’, that’s not very nice.)