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Oh yeah, she went there… To say this was an “eventful” flight would be a bit of an understatement.  It started off bad and ended up worse 🙂 You’ll need to scroll down to the end if you want to read the catfight, but the whole story is a good read (of course, I WOULD say that…)

Delayed from the get-go

southwestlogoAfter a great week at a family reunion, we were getting to leave on Friday for our trip back home.  Our flight RNO-MDW was scheduled to leave at 1:30pm and arrive in Chicago at 7:50 pm.  4 hour flight + 2 hours of time change – this was almost perfect timing for us – we’d get back and be able to check into our hotel in time for the kids to get ready for a (late but not super late) bedtime.

As we were packing up and getting ready, I started getting emails and phone alerts from Southwest.  Our flight was delayed to 2pm then 2:30 then 3:30.  My parents, who were also flying around the same time from RNO-LAS-CLE, were also getting notices of delays.  Hopefully delays on my flights aren’t turning into a “thing” for Southwest

Thankfully we didn’t have to check out of our condo until 2pm, so that wasn’t too much of an issue.  I did get a little nervous the later our flight got delayed because I knew that meant a later arrival in Chicago and thus a later bedtime (and crankier kids).

At the airport

After some shenanigans finding a gas station to fill up the rental car, we ended up getting to the airport about 3pm.  There was hardly anyone in security at RNO, and the kids enjoyed playing the TSA’s game of “Stop. Screen. Go.” 🙂

The terminal was pretty crowded and it looked like there were a number of passengers that had been waiting for awhile.  We were still waiting on our plane (that was flying inbound MDW-RNO) but at least we knew that it was already in the air.  By the time the plane landed and was ready to turnaround, it was about 4pm.

The kids were relatively well-behaved in the terminal though it was tough keeping them away from watching people gamble at the slot machines (ahhhh the glowing boxes!!!!).  We had my 2 year old in the stroller and she FINALLY fell asleep…. right as they announced it was time to board the plane.

Boarding the plane

We had better luck with our boarding passes on this flight than on the return, but we were still well into the B section in Southwest’s boarding order, so we just boarded with the family group after the A section.  We made our way towards the back of the plane and managed to get seats next to each other.  We even managed to transfer the sleeping toddler from the stroller to the carseat (how did THAT happen!?!), though there was a potential crisis with the placement of the carseat that managed to be averted.

Arranging 2 adults and 6 kids on a plane is somewhat of a tricky proposition.  You want to keep adults in range of every kid, but also need to limit who needs to sit next to whom (to share screens), or who CAN’T sit next to whom (or they’ll fight).  On the flight TO Chicago we had my parents on the same flight with us so we had 2 extra adults to play with but no such luck on the way back.

This is what we ended up with (Yellow are the girls, red are the boys and blue are the adults)


Yellow are the girls, red are the boys and blue are the adults

Then… we sit

We thought that now that we were on the plane that we were all set, but as it turned out, our journey was just beginning.  Once all the passengers got on, one of the flight attendants got on the PA and announced that there was a Junior Dance Team that was on the flight having just won some competition.  She invited them all to wave and encouraged the rest of us to give them a (very loud) shoutout.

I’m sure it goes without saying that most of them were right behind us and…. that was the end of naptime… :-/

After another 15 minutes or so, the pilot comes on the PA and says that they’re waiting on a minor mechanical problem to be fixed.  Supposedly it’s down in the baggage area, and it’s already been fixed but they’re just waiting on the paperwork.

15-20 minutes later…. back on the PA – “I know many of you are worrying about your connecting flights – don’t worry – the team back at headquarters is working on it.  Hang tight!”

Everybody off!

Another 20 minutes or so later, they come across with ANOTHER announcement

“Ladies and Gentlemen – we’ve determined that this flight will not make it into Chicago in time for anyone to make any connecting flights.  So if Chicago is not your final destination, you need to get off the plane with all your bags”


a city skyline at night

Do you live here??! THEN GET OFF!

At first there was confusion as to whether people that were continuing on the same airplane (from Chicago onto Tampa) could stay on the flight.  First they said yes, then they said those folks had to get off too.

The dance team behind us was very confused about all this.  I wasn’t sure what the problem was – to me it was pretty clear: “DO YOU LIVE IN CHICAGO?!?!? NO? THEN GET OFF THE PLANE!”.  Eventually they figured it out and de-planed.

The actual flight (RNO-MDW)

Once everybody not going to Chicago got off the plane with all their bags, AND the flight attendants went through and counted everyone, FINALLY, we took off (at about 6pm Mountain).

The flight itself was pleasant.  With the plane only half full, the flight attendants were liberal with the snacks, which all the kids really liked.

I know that actually LIVING with 6 kids, I am somewhat accustomed to the increased noise level.  I feel like my kids are generally well-behaved, but 6 times even a small amount of noise can be a LOT of noise (believe me, I know!)

For this particular flight, I thought things went well.  There were no kids running up and down the aisle.  The 2 year old cried loudly for maybe 5 minutes total right when she was abruptly woken up (see above), which on a 4 hour flight was definitely reasonable.

Nobody kicked any seats and all in all I was pleasantly surprised with how things went, which made what happened next even stranger

“Are you unaccompanied monsters?”

Once the flight finally lands, we have to wait for a gate because they weren’t expecting us so late.  Then once we get a gate, we have to wait (again) for a ramp to be brought out.  Then we finally start de-planing.  Of course, we’re way in the back, so we wait (some more).

As we’re waiting for the passengers at the front to clear out, a lady 2-3 rows up from us turns around and, speaking directly to my kids asks:

Are you unaccompanied monsters?  Or do you belong to someone?

Wait, what?!!? First of all, you do NOT talk that way to someone else’s kids.  Ever.

So my wife hears the lady and replies that these are our children.  Upon which the lady says

Your children are rude and made my flight miserable.

Carolyn, thinking on her feet, replies with “Well, you’re a rude ADULT!” Upon which the lady lets us know that

You’re the type of parent that should not have children!

Sorry lady but that ship sailed a LOOOONG time ago :-).

I actually felt bad for her – she was clearly NOT having a good day.  Like I said, I am biased and I am trying to correct for that, but I REALLY thought that the kids were pretty well-behaved.  Like I said, she was a few rows up, so there can’t have been any seat kicking or reclining issues – no Knee Defender here!!  The kids were loud but they were just regular kid-loud.  If she was trying to sleep I could understand how that might have disturbed her, but in that case, if she had said something, I’d have been happy to try and keep the noise down.

Again, I’m sure she had just had enough – probably had been in the airport all day and just at her breaking point.  It doesn’t excuse her behavior IMO but at least it helps to understand it.  The best part is that we had to still hang around near her and her family for another 30 minutes or so pretending not to see each other at baggage claim 🙂

What about you?  What’s the worst thing anyone’s said to you while traveling?

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