It was supposed to be a peaceful flight home from a great one-week vacation in Aruba. The kids were going to watch movies and eat snacks. The parents were going to drink wine and maybe even doze off a bit. Those things did happen, but let’s just say we (and our flight companions) were a bit scarred from what ensued.
A Bad Sign:
The flight to Aruba is approximately 4 to 4.5 hours, which is basically the limit for most toddlers before they go bat shit crazy in their seat (even with extra leg room). On the way down to Aruba, things got a little tricky with Luke who was tired of sitting still while watching TV, but luckily he took a nap and it was all good. When we get settled on our United plane back to New Jersey, I quickly noticed one alarming issue: the seats were missing TVs. What the F()*@?! While people were still trudging along to their seats, I could hear the flight attendant say, “Attention, this flight has in-flight entertainment accessible via our app on your digital device. You can use our wifi to stream movies and TV shows once we are in the air.”
I quickly pulled out my iPhone and downloaded the United app from the cloud (I had removed it previously), using the airport’s wifi that was barely accessible from my Row 10 seat. Chris couldn’t access the wifi on his phone and Ella’s Kindle was hopeless, which meant she was going to have to watch the same movie over and over again on her Kindle or play one of the two app games we downloaded. Shit.
We Can’t Land:
Four hours and about five tantrums later (mostly from Luke), the pilot said, “Newark Airport is not letting us land because it’s windy. Some flights have been redirected to Boston and JFK. We have enough gas to hold out, so we are going to fly around until Newark Airport let’s us land…
The horror! Ella had actually been quite calm until about now. Luke was tired of playing games on my phone and didn’t want to watch anything. Then I realized Luke would enjoy looking out the window, but he had to climb over Ella to do so and almost stand on her lap since Ella refused to move out of his way. This was about the point when Ella finally flipped her wig! Surround sound toddler screams continued off and on for about 20 minutes, which felt like an eternity. Chris and I just didn’t know what to do. We felt trapped!
Bribery Gets You Everywhere:
Then I was finally able to calm down both of them. For Luke, I asked if he wanted to watch the Disney movie Cars and then I prayed to dear God that it was actually on the Continental app. It was! Score! He quietly watched that and forgot about the window. For Ella, I resorted to all types of bribes: “When we get home, you can have ice cream and watch TV all night! Then on Saturday we will be at the pool for swim class and you can have ice cream there, remember how much you love swim class?! We will be home soon! I promise!”
We finally landed at Newark after being in the air for six hours. The kids and I had eaten every possible snack to hold us over and Chris and I had long lost the buzz from the wine we drank when we first took off. When we finally got to the gate and the seat belt sign was off, we heard someone yell, “We could have been in London by now!” Chris stood up and exclaimed, “Sorry, everyone, for all the screaming from my kids. It was rough for them.” Different people responded, “No worries!” or “We get it!”
I turned to the people behind our seats and said to the young couple, “I hope this was birth control for you!” The girlfriend responded, “You did a GOOD Job!” We laughed.
This was definitely the worst flight experience we had ever had. As we entered the aisle to exit the plane, I heard someone from behind jokingly say to us, “You’re free!” and then someone else replied, “You mean WE’RE Free!”