Flying to Newfoundland with the kids
Thanks to the miracle of vacuum seal bags and kids who can handle their own carry-ons, we were all packed and ready to roll in plenty of time for our flight out of Little Rock last Monday. And miracle of miracles, our flight was ready for us. We arrived at O’Hare right on schedule, found our gate, ate lunch, and settled in to wait for our evening departure to Halifax.
There the miracles ended, with the sudden cancellation of our flight just before we were due to board. Halifax airport was fogged in.
The next hour was spent in a slow-moving customer service line, trying to keep things upbeat. Not an easy feat when you are surrounded by Maritimers, who as a people, possess many charms. Natural optimism is not one of them.
“Maybe we’ll get to spend a bonus day in Chicago!” I said to the boys. “They have great museums here!”
“Oh my,” the woman next to us dolefully intoned. “I suppose we could be fogged out for days.”
“Maybe we can fly to Toronto tonight instead!” I said. “We’ll see your cousins who live there!”
“I suppose the flights out of Toronto are already full,” said Eeyore.
“Why don’t you guys go sit on the floor over there and play video games?” I suggested.
We were rerouted to Montreal on Air Canada, and I managed to change our hotel reservations as my phone battery was dying and we were boarding. Our seats were nowhere near each other, but people immediately jumped up to let us sit together. I fell into my seat next to my much relieved eight-year-old, and exhaled.
“Something to drink, Madam?”
Yes, s’il vous plait!
Traveling 2,500 miles with three kids is no small feat, but it’s nowhere near the kind of production it was when they were little. They can read the information screens, schlep their own carry-ons, and go to the bathroom by themselves. I can go to the bathroom by myself. The last time I made this trip by air with them on my own, I had two in a double stroller and one in a chest carrier. Plus diapers, bottles, snacks and toys. People bowed their heads and wept as we walked down the concourse.
It was midnight before we arrived at our hotel in Montreal, and we were back at the airport five hours later. Halifax had emerged from the mists, and we got there in plenty of time to make our original connection to Newfoundland.
That last leg of the journey always brings home how very far out there my island home is. When the ocean beneath us gave way to land again, the boys began shouting, “Newfoundland! Newfoundland!”
My heart was shouting it with them.
Our luggage caught up with us a day later, one of many happy reunions since we arrived. Lots more pictures and stories to come.