The day has FINALLY arrived! We are ready to fly to France!
Everything is looking good. We arrive to the airport with plenty of time to get through security, find our gate and get the kids settled in while we wait for the flight to board.
Things are still right on track as we all board the plane and take our seats. The doors close and the captain comes on telling us we will be taking off in 10 minutes. The excitement builds as we are about to start the first leg of our journey. Off to New York then a connecting flight into Paris.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there are storms in New York. The flight has been cancelled. Please exit the plane.”
WHAT?! 10 minutes ago we are about to take off!
We exit the plane and make our way back up the stairs (we were on a little commuter plane that didn’t have a gangway). We’re handed a card with an 800 number and told to reschedule our flight. The line at the counter is already super long, so I get on my cell phone to call the airline while Derrick gets on his phone to call his parents. They had dropped us off at the airport and were just sitting down in a restaurant to eat dinner.
We’re both on our phones while the children thankfully sit on the luggage and talk quietly.
“I’m sorry ma’am. There are no other flights going out today and it doesn’t look like we will be able to get you to Paris for a few days.” The American Airlines rep is telling me as my face falls. I muster all the politeness I can and ask if she can possibly get us on another flight tomorrow. Can we fly into another city before heading to Paris? Can we get on another airline? We go through this over and over. I’m put on hold countless times as she keeps coming back telling me the flights are filling up.
I’m pretty much refusing to accept a flight later than the next day. I remain calm, polite and respectful while remaining firm that I NEED to get my family on a flight. I explain that driving 4 hours to another airport is not an option nor my family taking separate flights an option.
Meanwhile, Derrick has told his parents to cancel dinner and come get us from the airport. We get our luggage and head outside to wait for our sad ride home.
After an hour on the phone (Yes, I was on the phone for an hour!), a flight through Delta becomes available for the next afternoon. I immediately take the offer and confirm all the details.
Before leaving the airport, I decide to head to the Delta counter to get checked in for our flight the next day. I NEED confirmation in my hand that we’re on a flight from Atlanta to Paris.
The Delta reps see our information, but we aren’t confirmed until payment is made. I make another call to AA and they inform me that it can take up to 20 minutes for the payment to transfer.
Derrick’s parents arrive to take us home, but I refuse to leave the airport. Twenty minutes pass and I head back up to the Delta counter. Nope. Still no payment. They suggest that I go down to the AA counter.
I walk down to find a line of at least 30 people and 1 attendant working! I stand in line and call AA again. After about another hour on the phone (I’m still standing in line) they tell me the transfer is complete. I’m almost scared to get out of the line and walk back down to the Delta counter at this point. There are only 2 more people in front of me in line.
I head BACK down to Delta. One of the ladies working smiles as I walk up. Yes, I’ve been here before.
And we are a go! We get checked in, have our tickets printed, but learn that we can’t get seats assigned until we are at the gate. “Don’t worry,” I’m told. “We save seats that are unavailable for booking until the day of the flight. We work hard to ensure families with children get to sit together.” Okay, well at least we are on the flight.
We head home and make plans for my in-laws to bring us back to the airport the next day….
A feeling of unease washes over me as we pass back through security and find our gate. Will the plane take off? Will we actually get seats?
Since it’s a last minute booking, we don’t have assigned seats. The first leg to Atlanta couldn’t get us all together as promised. We manage to switch with people to at least get the kids and I together. Hubs sits alone several rows up with a cute blonde I get to joke with him about later.
At least I’m with the kiddos and it’s a short flight.
Uh oh, the 2nd leg may not work out. The first flight takes off late, but thankfully we still make it to Atlanta on time. We are in the far back of the plane so that means we are the very last to exit. Feeling a bit stressed about having to get to the next concourse in under an hour, we still end up making good time.
Heading up to the next gate for seat assignments I’m told the flight is overbooked. They are looking for volunteers to take another flight. WOW! This isn’t good!
They already have 10 people that are willing to take another flight. I’m told we WILL get seats but not until all other passengers are on board.
We wait and wait and wait.
I finally head up to the gate to confirm we will be able to get on the flight. “Yes, we’re just getting some of the other passengers that agreed to stay behind on board.”
Okay, but there will still be room for my family of four right? “Yes, there is a family that agreed to take a later flight, so you will have four seats together.” “Fantastic” and I sit back down.
They are still putting more people on and not us. The gate is pretty much deserted. Yesterday we were on the plane and our flight was cancelled and they didn’t think they’d get us to Paris for DAYS. Today I’m watiching the plane fill up without us on it! I’m trying to remain calm. Just breathe!
Finally our tickets are printed! We board the largest plane that my kiddos have ever flown.
Thankfully, the family that offered to take a different flight made it possible for us to have 2 seats together and 2 more together across the aisle.
It’s a LONG flight but the kids muddle through just fine. The plane has TV’s in the back of the seats to play games, watch TV shows, and watch movies. The kiddos don’t even pull out the iPads once!
A super cool feature was to watch our flight pattern and our arrival countdown on the screen.
We’re served 2 meals during the flight – dinner and breakfast. The food is mostly palatable. We eat some of it as we weren’t able to pack enough dinner food for the 2nd leg of our journey. We did have snacks, so that helped curb our appetite.
Finally we land in Paris, France! We may have had several hiccups in the journey but in the end, it was all worth it!
Stay tuned for a look at our apartment in Paris and more fun French adventures!
What are some of your more interesting flight experiences?
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