On January 9th, Ron and I were in Rome. The internet at the hotel was HORRIBLE and it had been a few days since I had been able to check Facebook. Finally the connection was okay enough that I got online and checked. Our daughter-in-law DeAnna had posted that things weren't going good, so I sent her a private message to see what was wrong. Due to circumstances beyond their control, it was decided that Kennedy was going to come and visit us for some time. She was going to come anyway this summer, but we just moved up the timeline. Now we just needed to figure out how to make it happen, because it needed to happen as soon as possible but we were still in Rome.
So the next morning, I tried to get online and buy tickets but the connection wasn't good enough to do it. So I called Delta and explained the problem. I told them that I wanted to use my miles to get a business class ticket and wanted to know if I could do an "infant in arms" using miles. They informed me that I needed to get my ticket first, and then call them and they would add her. So, I went to the hotel desk and told them I needed a really good connection to buy some last minute plane tickets so I got to use their computer. I bought my round trip ticket in Economy comfort that would get me to Illinois and then return me back to Norway after I returned her in March. Then I turned in my miles to get a Business class ticket from Illinois to Norway and back. As soon as that was done, I called Delta to get the rest worked out. They looked up my ticket, added her and told me it was $110. They said that normally I would need a paper ticket for her, but since I was currently in Rome, would only be in Norway for 2 days before leaving to get her, and only in Illinois long enough to pick her up and leave, that there was not time for a paper ticket so I was to pick it up at the airport when we checked in. I thought everything was worked out and contacted Nick and DeAnna and told them we were all set.
We got back to Norway early Monday morning. I spent the day doing laundry and packing. We had been gone basically since Nov. 25th and there was no food in the house so Tuesday was spent trying to stock up on things and getting the house somewhat prepared for a 17 month toddler. Then bright and early on Wednesday morning I headed back to Illinois. I had a very uneventful trip - but while on the plane I did go up to the business class section to just ask them one question about Kennedy flying with me. I told them I would be flying Business Class in just 3 days. I was flying with an "infant in arms", would she get food or did I need to bring food for her? They told me to just order a toddler meal for her and all would be good. So as soon as I landed I made sure I added that to our flight.
After I arrived in Illinois, I spent just a couple of days getting things ready. We got a POA (Power of Attorney) so I could take her out of the country. Did a couple of more things (for a variety of reasons I didn't get more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep each night while there) and then we were ready to go! We left bright and early on Sunday morning at 6 a.m. Which meant that with the trip to the airport and arriving a little early to make sure we had her ticket sorted out, I was up at 3 a.m.
We arrived at the airport in plenty of time, they said her ticket was all set except that when we got to Amsterdam I would have to check Kennedy in there. But they checked our bags all the way to Stavanger. Check in was a breeze, security was a breeze, everything was a breeze. And Kennedy had been wide awake ever since I woke her and was a happy, happy baby. Here we are in Moline, almost ready to board our first of 4 flights to get back to Norway.
First flight was uneventful, and she fell asleep as soon as we left. She slept all of the way to Atlanta, Georgia and then I woke her up. We decided to spend the 3 hour 48 minute layover in the Atlanta Delta Sky Club. They told me that there was a closer club to our gate, but we decided to hang out here for a bit as I needed to change her diaper. They were very happy to fill up her cup with apple juice.
And we looked across the way and saw suiker (sugar) waffles! YUM! And little cinnamon rolls.
There is also a bag of cookies there that the flight attendant left for her from the first flight. She ate all of them, the raisins, the waffle and the cinnamon roll and a whole glass of apple juice.
As soon as she was done we headed to our gate and the closer Sky Club. With all the sitting we were going to be doing, I decided to let her walk. At first she was very excited!
She walked the length of one of the moving walkways but then she was done.
So, now we are at the club closest to our gate and she is still hungry. So she had some cheese, crackers and a carrot.
And now it is time to head to our flight to Newark, New Jersey. The club is by Gate A17 and we fly from Gate A6.
At the elevator getting ready to leave the Club.
And she WAS wide awake, but from the short walk she is now sound asleep.
And there is our plane.
I woke her up and she's not sure she wants to wake up.
But after a few minutes she's good to go. This is a short flight (1 hour 24 minutes) but she gets her first toddler meal. What they didn't reveal to me when they told me to order her one was that one seat gets only one meal. Since she got a meal, I didn't get a meal. :( But she shared with me. She had 2 pieces of wheat bread with 2 slices of cheddar cheese, a bag of kettle cooked chips, a cup of fresh pineapple and a HUGE molasses clove soft cookie. It was a good meal but it made me very sad that I wasn't going to get a good meal on our next flight. There was a pilot sitting behind us and he gave her some pilot wings for being such a good flyer. She's holding them below. She kept sticking them down her top though so I'm not sure what mommy does with things like that. ;)
And now we are at the Delta Sky Club in the Newark lounge. She is playing with a magnetic chess set. I wanted something that she could play with that I didn't have to worry about the pieces going flying. She loved it. I also bought her a little bag that said "I love New York". I thought it would be easier to put a few diapers and such in it and it was really cute!
Finally it was time for our flight from Newark to Amsterdam. We waited until boarding time (1 1/2 hours before flight takes off) to head to the gate and then got ready to board. And they wouldn't let us board! They said that Kennedy didn't have a ticket! I showed them my ticket that said "Infant in Arms" and they said that it didn't matter. I should have a paper ticket for her. I told them that I bought it at short notice and that there had not been enough time for me to get a paper ticket and they told me to pick it up at the airport. I told him that I was told that everything was fine in Moline and I had taken 2 flights already with no problem so I didn't understand what was wrong. It took almost an hour to get things "fixed" so we could fly. In that hour they told me that the ticket WAS mailed to me in Moline. I told them I don't live in Moline! How was I supposed to pick up a ticket at someplace that wasn't even my home? He told me that the $110 ticket was actually $969! The $110 would have been for an economy ticket and I had a business ticket. So I asked them how they could have changed the price without even calling me to tell me? I had used my debit card, what if there hadn't been enough money in the account (there was more than enough but they didn't know that I didn't need that money for food or rent). The whole thing was a mess. And while all this was going on, a family that had a small kid about the same age as Kennedy made some comments about how they couldn't believe I didn't care enough about her to get her her own seat so that she could use her car seat. And to top it all off someone else stole the "I love New York" bag out of the bottom of her stroller that I had filled with her diapers, wipes and medicine. By the time it was all done, the guy felt sorry enough for me that he moved us. We no longer had one seat, we now had 2 seats.
As soon as we got on, I asked them about Kennedy's toddler meal. They told me it was all taken care of. I asked her if I got a meal as well and she said no. How sad. She went around taking orders (from a menu!) and came back to tell me that 4 people had said they didn't want to eat. They were going straight to sleep. WHAT!?!?! They must fly business a lot if they don't even care about the meal. So she gave me a menu with a huge smile and told me just to pick a main course. And .... Kennedy's bag was returned. The Flight Attendant said that the lady that gave it to him said that I had picked up her bag by mistake so she had my bag. And did I have her bag so that he could give it back to her? It only had food in it - but I didn't have the bag because I didn't take her bag! It was in the bottom of the stroller in that bag for storage. She must have taken it when we were busy with the gate agent. Then she must have felt sorry for me when she found diapers, medicine and wipes so she made up a story and gave it back. That's okay. God was watching her.
By the time we were in the sky and the fasten seat belt sign went off, Kennedy was sound asleep. LOVE these seats that lay flat! She had a comfy pillow and blanket. I went up front and told them that they didn't need to prepare Kennedy's meal as she was fast asleep.
And here comes the first course. Shrimp with avocado. It was delicious!
Still sleeping ....
Second course comes and I thought it was salad OR soup but it's salad AND soup! And they brought a basket of bread around to choose from.
For my main course I chose Beef Tenderloin with Béarnaise sauce, asparagus and lobster macaroni and cheese. It was so good! And just as I finished, they announced that they were beginning service in the economy section. Poor them!
Still sleeping ....
And then I noticed my fork! Look at that! Obviously it doesn't take much to entertain me!
Still sleeping ...
And here comes the dessert cart!
I asked the Flight Attendant if I could take a picture of the cart as I was blogging about Kennedy's trip. He said sure and asked if I wanted him in the picture or out. I said in if he didn't mind. Later we talked and he asked for the blog address. I gave it to him and he gave me his. His blog site is imrannaser.weebly.com. I've taken a little bit of time to look at it, but I'll need more (someone is keeping me busy!). He said he's into photography and is a pilot himself of smaller planes.
One of the desserts was ice cream sundaes. Yum, but I was full.
Still sleeping .....
I chose only fruit and a small creme brulee.
And she's STILL sleeping ...
After several hours I decided to try and see if I could sleep too. I really didn't think I'd be able to but by now I was exhausted. Ever since Ron was stationed at the Pentagon when the planes hit, I am scared to fly. Obviously, I fly anyway but I have never been able to sleep. Not one wink. Even taking Tylenol PM it just won't happen. I'm always afraid that the pilot might need me and if I'm asleep the plane with crash. Actually I'm kidding about he/she needing me but I keep thinking that if I'm awake, I'll be safe. So I went up front and asked the flight attendants to wake me up if I was sleeping and Kennedy woke up. They told me that they would. So I felt okay enough to try to sleep.
The seats go totally flat by moving forward. My seat went forward and my legs went into part of the seat in front of me. There really wasn't much room for my legs once they were in there, it kind of reminded me of a cat scan machine. Definitely much better than the seats in economy though!
And wonders of wonders I did sleep! For about 1 1/2 hours! And the plane didn't crash!!!! WOO HOO! Then breakfast came. He asked me if I wanted a bagel, a scone, a cinnamon ... - don't know how he was going to finish that because as soon as he said scone I told him that was what I wanted. Then I had coffee and orange juice. After I was done with that, I was FULL and they came around with bowls of granola or a crepe with scrambled eggs and cheese but I declined it. Just more coffee as I still had a long time before we would be home.
I looked over at Kennedy and she was STILL asleep. So I woke her up just as we were getting ready to land. I just need to say something about that couple that gave me such a hard time before we boarded about not having a car seat for her. They were also in business. And their son cried and cried and cried and cried during the flight. One of the ladies close to them moved back because she said she needed to sleep and it was too loud. But she chose the seat that the captain needed so she had to move back to her own seat. So, they may have been better parents, but I was a better seat mate. ;)
Then we got to Amsterdam and I went to the self service terminal to get our boarding passes. It said I needed to see an agent. So off we went. Checked in with the agent and GUESS WHAT?!?!?! They said she had no ticket and she should not be in Amsterdam because no ticket was issued for her in Moline. So ... here we go again. After a long time going round and round and round with them, they said I needed to pay the portion of the ticket to get her from Amsterdam to Stavanger. I told them I would gladly pay it and then I would get in touch with Delta and demand that they refund me the money. I asked him how much it was and he said €18. So I paid, he tried to issue paper tickets but his printer wasn't working. So, I had to go to another part of the airport. He told me to just go up to the desk though and ask for Vanessa, everything would be ready for me. So, I jumped the line when I got there (got several glares), picked up our tickets and headed to the KLM lounge.
We are getting ready to leave the lounge and I told her it's our last flight. She was very happy that she was going to be seeing Opa.
But she spilled her milk, so we bought her an "I love Holland" t-shirt, and went back to the lounge to change that and her onesie that was under it. Then we hurried to the gate.
And she was already asleep again by the time we got there. And she had plenty of time to sleep because our flight boarded 30 minutes late.
I guess she decided to get more comfortable. :)
Oh no! I just looked out at our plane. We have to go down steps. I asked them if there was an elevator and they said no. They told me to wait to board last. Then go ahead and take her out of the stroller and they would carry the stroller out to the plane themselves.
We got to our seat and the lady next to us immediately told the flight attendant that she wanted to be moved. She did not want to sit next to a baby ... ummm okay. Right away guess who went back to sleep?
And then I tried to join her, but it didn't work. But I got to rest my eyes anyway.
I did get some good news though. I had called Ron and told him all the trouble about the tickets and he checked and said that we were only charged $110 for the ticket, not the $969 that they said we were charged. And, he didn't see a charge from KLM for the infant ticket so we probably had not paid that. So all is good.
Ron's boss A.J. was at the airport ready to pick us up when we arrived. We were home and everything was perfect except I was exhausted. So I put Kennedy in her jammies and showed her Kennedy's bed. I said "Do you want to go nigh nigh?" She said "baby nigh nigh". So we went and got baby and she put her in bed. Then she wanted her other baby to go nigh nigh so we went and got him. Then she wanted Jaiden's alligator to go nigh nigh so he's in her bed too. Then she wanted the ball to go nigh nigh. Then there was no more room in her bed so she told them all nigh nigh and went out and started playing with toys. SO .... NO NIGH NIGH for me! I really wasn't surprised but I felt like I really needed to try.
Several hours later I was so tired, I just had to try again. She willingly went to bed with me but when Opa came home this is how he found us. It looks like we are sleeping but she's giggling. She thought it was funny that I thought she would sleep.
About 6:30 p.m. though Kennedy laid down on the floor so I scooped her up and we went to bed. I told Ron we'd probably be up around 2:00 a.m. but I didn't care. I was tired! Instead, I woke up at 9 a.m. (14 1/2 hours of sleep!) and she was still sleeping! Took me almost 15 minutes to get her up. I told her I didn't really want to get up either but we'd never be able to sleep tonight if we didn't get up.
All in all, the flights themselves went very well. This was actually my second time flying business. Ron and I flew business on KLM when we had our "100th birthday celebration" (we turned 50 8 days apart). On that plane, business was upstairs. We thought that was really cool. But comparing the two flights, on KLM the seats were just recliners instead of laying down. KLM business bathrooms had spray deodorant for people to use and Delta did not which was sad because I was up at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning and didn't arrive home until 3:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon and I sure could have used some! I think the food on Delta was much better. But KLM gave us little delft houses to remember our flight by. Flight attendants were amazing on both flights.
Kennedy was amazing! Every single flight I got compliments from the people around us that they had never seen such a perfectly behaved child. Okay .... mostly she was sleeping but she did spend some time awake on each flight. The take offs and landings that had other kids screaming their heads off she was fine, except she kept hitting herself in the head on her ears when they plugged, so I would give her the cup and she would take a drink and was fine. I'm really excited about the next 7 weeks that we get to spend with her. :)
And mom, I'm sorry I did this post first before your cruise. I'm still working on that though. But I NEED to keep DeAnna happy. :) I'm sure you understand.