Monday, July 19, 2010

Flying the Not-So-Friendly Skies

 


Last week I returned from a much-needed vacation. The vacation itself was fabulous. The traveling with kids was not.


The flight to my parents’ house was relatively painless, mainly because my frustration toward my children’s antics was overshadowed by my excitement to reach my destination and hand those little balls of energy over to their grandparents. It was the return flight that unnerved me. Actually, we weren’t even on the plane yet when I faced my biggest challenge.


We had to ride a tram to our terminal, and when the doors opened and I saw the mile-long line at security I tried not to groan. I typically don’t mind waiting in lines if I’m alone. But I had 2 kids and no husband. Lines are not friendly to outnumbered single moms.


The next 30 minutes were torture, but I’m grateful for the kind strangers who helped to contain my 2-year-old daughter each time she attempted to escape. Little C was rolling on the floor and barking like a dog when she suddenly stood and announced, “I have to go potty.”


I panicked. I had a small window of time to get her to a bathroom. I didn’t pack a change of clothes in my carry-on. I had already waited a half an hour, and I knew if I left my place in line and waited all over again, I’d miss my flight. What in the world was I supposed to do?


I begged Little C to hold it. But as I weighed the size of a 2-year-old’s bladder against our proximity to the other side of security, I knew that was way too much to ask. I spotted an airline employee and asked where the nearest restroom was. “You either have to take the tram back or pass through security. Sorry, no restrooms in this area.” Are you kidding me?!


When Little C started crying and doing the pee pee dance in earnest, I knew I was in serious trouble. Thankfully, those kind strangers who acted as a human barricade started encouraging me to push my way through the line. I’m not a pushy person, but this was an emergency.


“Excuse me. Pardon me. Potty emergency.” Those magical words carried me like a wave to the ID checkpoint as sympathetic strangers parted to let the crazy lady with her screaming child by. I shoved my boarding passes at the man who took his sweet time letting me through to the area where we had to remove our shoes and stack our possessions in bins. When I explained my urgency, all I got was: “Sorry ma’am, I don’t have the authority to put you to the front of the line.” I was practically begging for help, and my cheerleaders behind me were yelling at the man to let me cut to the front. As he shook his head and insisted he couldn’t help me, I finally allowed my inner b-i-t-c-h to surface. “Could you at least give me a cup? Because in a minute you’re going to have a puddle of urine at your feet.”


By then Little C couldn’t even walk, so I picked her up, fully expecting to feel the warmth of liquid soaking my shirt. I was removing my shoes when another airport employee grabbed my bins and escorted me directly to the metal detector. I guess unlike his cohort, he did have the authority to move me to the front of the line.


I must have been quite a sight sprinting to the bathroom as I carried Little C while Big C trailed behind with his roller bag. Thankfully, that 2-year-old bladder held on just long enough for me to drop her drawers. And the other women in the restroom were so distracted by my hysteria that they didn’t seem to notice that I had brought a curious 6-year-old boy into the ladies’ room. (But that’s a whole other issue for another post.)


So what would you have done? Would you have taken the tram back and risked missing your flight? Or would you have pushed your way through the line to get past security?



20 comments:

  1. He was just being an ass, I fly every. single. day. I have seen them be real punks, even I in my uniform will let a mother with a screeching baby pass me up. That TSA dude needs a reality check..

    I'm glad everything worked out for you though : D

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  2. Totally would have begged for the front-of-line option! Hats off to you for traveling with little ones and surviving to tell the tale :D.

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  3. This makes me so mad for you! I don't fly much, but the last time I did was with two kids on a red-eye and I hated my life for about 8 hours. It makes the situation so much better when people are courteous to you!!

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  4. I would have done the same thing...I also have flown solo (sans spouse, with two small children) many times, and you do what you have to do!

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  5. You are a brave woman! I am so glad to hear people in line were helpful to you. I always have the most sincere admiration for moms with their hands full of younglings at the airport! I'll know what that's like soon enough....but it is definitely one of my biggest fears!

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  6. Oh man, I don't know what I would do in that situation! I absolutely dread the day that I have to travel with one child, let alone two. I really don't see what other options you had though. Sometimes you just have to be pushy! Glad you made it in time and had some cheerleaders on your side :)

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  7. Oh my goodness! Traveling with little ones can be such an adventure! I think I would have done as you did. I definitely would not have gotten out of line!

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  8. I would have done exactly what you did!! Go you!!

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  9. I would have pushed my way through as well and I wouldn't and DON'T blink to take my boys into women's bathrooms and I have a 9 yr old and a 6 (almost 7) yr old boys, that's a safety issue and not knowing what kind of pervert could be in the bathroom that we're not allowed to go into, not like women walk around with their pants down and they have doors.

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  10. I don't know if you ever read her, but Ann Coulter has a series of articles on TSA that I always make a point to carry with me when I fly, if only because it reminds me that there are other people in the world who realize just how stupid (and pointless) TSA is. Plus, she's funny, and who doesn't need a good laugh after walking through airport security!

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  11. I would have done what you did. I think you were justified, especially with the rest of the line on your side about it. Oh silly of the TSA guy to be such a stickler, it's not like you were trying to skip security altogether.

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  12. I'm glad you went to the front - most people are totally understanding!! What is wrong with those airport dudes??

    I find this kind of stuff so much easier now that my daughter is 8 - but when she was younger and you are juggling the fav stuffy, your carryon (ie their carryon), your purse, and then they have eat/poop/pee right NOW, you know you are screwed unless and angle flies down and helps (thank God one usually does!)

    Swati

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  13. I would not have known what to do but if someone had suggested as those kind strangers did that I push my way forward I would have done exactly as you did. There's no way you'd have made it back all the way on the tram and anyone with children ahead of you in line would totally have understood a potty emergency is a potty emergency! Next month will be our first trip on a plane since potty training and I am already nervous about it and I have just one child and a husband traveling with me!

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  14. I don't even have kids yet and I'm so scared of how I'll handle it in an airport! I think you did the right thing. That's crazy they don't have bathrooms by security...often times, that's what takes the longest in airports. You handled it well...better than I could have, for sure.

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  15. whew...glad you made it in time =)

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  16. LOL, oh girl, I am so sorry that was so traumatic for you...but really quite funny I imagine in hindsight!! Why is that it's always the worse on the way back =( I would totally have been the one pushing my way to the front of the line, just like you did!! Good job, Mama, and especially for asking for the cup, lol. I would have loved to see the look on his face then =)

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  17. Would've done what you did or whipped out my disposable collapsible potty I keep in my diaper bag for these moments. At babies r us, it's a lifesaver

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  18. LOL. I would have done the exact same thing!

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  19. I would have done EXACTLY what you did. And I would have given that TSA employee a piece of my mind. I understand that he has a job to do, and security it a priority, but I don't think a single mom with a 2 year old on the verge of peeing everywhere and a 6 year old in tow is a threat.

    I can't wait to hear how things went with your 6 year old in the womens bathroom.

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  20. Yes, how did things go with the 6-year-old?!! Great post! Was it a TSA person who finally came to your aid or someone from the airline?

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