So flying isn’t *always* relaxing….

Put me in any seat on a plane — yes, even a seat in coach — and I’ll be relaxed. Once my phone goes off, my headphones go on, and I watch the same episode of The Big Bang Theory for the eighth time, life is good.

Well, I just got back from a trip to New York with my parents and decided to fly United through Washington Dulles. Admittedly it’s not the most direct routing, but it was the cheapest ticket, I get high baggage allowances, and the miles aren’t bad either.

Every once in a while I travel with my parents, though it’s mostly in international first class on award tickets. Yes, they have it good. I do the redeye-filled domestic flying, and they do the redeye-filled international first class flying. Heck, I’m pretty sure every second security checkpoint they go through is in the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. So that makes flying quite tolerable, when we’re each cocooned away in our own suites.

But gosh, I was legitimately stressed after flying two segments totaling 1,000 miles this past week. And now I can once again appreciate the beauty of flying alone or with very frequent travelers.

Now I shouldn’t get frustrated, but when you do the same thing often enough, the questions that used to seem normal start to sound stupid, like questions about taking off shoes, taking liquids out of bags, when they can put away their ID, whether they need their ID to board the plane, etc.

I did my best to guide them through everything and I think I did a pretty decent job.  They were rather mystified at the concept of us getting our bags when we landed at LGA after leaving them plane side at Dulles. The endless questions about the bags almost got to me.

And don’t even get me started on the return, when our flight from LGA to IAD was canceled due to weather. Fortunately we got rebooked on a flight out of JFK connecting to the same flight, but that didn’t prevent utter panic on the part of my dad. Now I do take a pretty grim outlook on things when I have an hour layover at Dulles arriving on a regional jet from New York, there’s low visibility in New York, and I’m flying an airline that doesn’t have a very good on time record. But then again, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from flying like a crazy person, it’s that there’s no benefit to stressing out. Take things as they come.

But my dad had a mind of his own — “what if our flight is delayed?” Well, then it’ll be delayed. “What if we miss our connection?” Well, then we miss our connection. “What’s going to happen to our checked bag if we miss our connection?” Well, it kind of depends.

I can’t even imagine how tough it is traveling with young kids. I salute you guys…

Filed Under: Travel
  1. Wait! I thought United was the Number 1* on-time airline? All their ads in ORD sure made me think so! 😉

  2. Traveling with kids can be difficult. They get cranky, need feeding at their regular mealtimes regardless of where you are and they thrive on asking lots of questions.

    So no different to traveling with parents really 😉

  3. The Big Bang Theory caused a chuckle since I have a bunch of episodes copied to my ipod video and coupled with my recently purchase Bose headphones it makes flying more enjoyable.

    I have to admit being stressed out after a short trip (time wise) from PHX to PHL to BRU. Outbound was longish but coming back was driving me crazy. The bad part was the flight from PHL to BRU. Full flight on a pretty beat up, old, US Airways plane that was going to take 4:40 to arrive. Coupled with the previous flight and that I never really got adjusted to the 9 hr time difference and my sleep was totally messed up just made that last portion seemed like any eternity.

    I have trouble traveling with anyone who isn’t on time (I hate rushing at the last minute) and over packs. I could never imagine traveling with kids.

  4. I hate flying with rookies. I can top you by the way. Every time I travel with my wife, the odds go way up that we’ll be delayed. Hardly ever happens when I fly solo. Maybe she’s bad luck to fly with . Grin.

  5. Just like you get yourself used to delays and missed connections, we parents get used to all the annoyances that come from flying with kids. Yes, it takes forever to get through security, we have a lot of stuff, and kids will act unpredictably, but that’s just how it is, and we get used to it. Plus, it makes it that much more relaxing when we do fly alone!

  6. You are so right. Traveling alone is very relaxing, things tend to work out fine without getting all stressed about it before the bad thing never materializes, and traveling with my wife (or parents) is far more stressful. What is it about traveling with others that causes the unusual to actually occur?

  7. > Yes, they have it good. I do the redeye-filled domestic flying,
    > and they do the redeye-filled international first class flying.

    But don’t your parent finance all your MR flying? I think putting up with them on an occasional trip is a fair price to pay for flying on their dime most of the time.

  8. @ Chris — United, yes. Mesa, no. 😀

    @ caelus — Nope, not a pilot. My dad has probably done well over a million miles worth of business travel, but that all goes back to the pre-9/11 days. He always tells me about how they used to offer him cigars in Lufthansa first class with dinner.

    @ Baggageinhall — LMAO! Or many of my middle aged business traveler seatmates. 😉

    @ Rich — Fortunately my family is German, so being on-time usually isn’t the issue. If anything it’s frustrating that we’ll agree to leave at 5AM and then at 4:45AM they’re sitting their tapping their feet waiting for me. We said 5AM, darnit!

    @ Uniter — Nah. My dad actually doesn’t know how to use a computer and my mom doesn’t quite understand the concept of a “blog.” My brother is the only (loyal) reader.

    @ N766AN — Nope, I pay for all my own travels. So they’re actually getting a good deal. Don’t even charge them for their international first class award tickets.

  9. For traveling with young kids, two words: nonstop flight. Forget the frequent flyer program and pick a schedule that works the best. (And yes, I hold status on two airlines and appreciate the perks of frequent flyer programs.)

  10. The great part is… your folks used to have to travel with you when you were a young kid 🙂

  11. It’ll be a nice day when I can glance up at the screen and no longer see that Big Bang Theory tattoo parlor scene! 🙂

    @dhammer – Looks like you’ve discovered the secret to scoring vouchers!

  12. Timely post. We’ve got my folks with us in Singapore. Their first trip to Asia. They are loving it. But to me, it feels like we’re mostly moving in slow motion.

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