The longest flight ever

Trip Start Sep 27, 2008
Trip End Oct 18, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Sunday, October 19, 2008

The super early morning drive to the airport was beautiful--about 45 minutes. We arrived with plenty of time...and thank goodness--the rest of the airport/flight experience was a series of challenges.

Returning the car wasn't simple. There was no place marked to drop it. We parked at the terminal and Bryan went in to deal with the return guys. That took about 30 minutes.

Next was the checking in challenge. Before you do anything, there's a security line. Women to one side, men to the other. Infuriating.

Then, we discovered the flight was delayed. So, we were moved aside while all the others checked-in for a flight that left 30 minutes ahead of our delayed one. After an hour in line, we had boarding passes.

Next was a booth to exit the country via passport controls. Line jumpers and such made this challenge an entertaining one at least.

We entered the shopping zone and looked for final gifts, reading materials and food. Hmmm. Gifts easy enough. Reading materials--limited. Food--also limited. We bought a bag of M&Ms, pistachios, gum and bottled water. And then found a bad coffee shop and a Popeye's.

Next came another round of security. Again men and women separated. Why I found this so maddening, I'm not sure. The women's line moved faster--though it was a thorough pat down. I just didn't like being separated and not being able to help watch the stuff.

Finally it was time to board. And uh oh...surrounded by babies for this 13 1/2 hour flight. No kidding...8 babies under 2 in the row in front, behind and beside us. The baby in front of us would cry for 7 hours straight in a little while.

We ate our meals, tried to listen to the iPods, tried to read, watched snippets of stupid movies, anxiously awaited the maps of our journey, walked to stretch our legs and I struggled for 2 hours on 2 sudoku puzzles (my first ever). I made notes:

1:30 pm: Wheels up, rising over Israel...there's the Dead that Jerusalem?

2:30 pm: Babies, babies, babies...they hear each other and it's going in rounds.

3:00 pm: A man opens an overhead bin and a cane falls on the man with the comb-over below. I'm sure it hurt, but the guy makes a much bigger deal out of it than necessary. Whiney.

3:30 pm: The really old guy next to me in a cool-looking wool overcoat throws-up in his barf bag. He goes to the bathroom for the first of perhaps 20 times. It is not a pleasant smell, but I feel sorry for him. He doesn't say a word to anyone.

4:00 pm: Bryan takes a sleeping pill. I'm jealous. I've got Italy out the window, and a stupid Eddie Murphy movie on the screen inside. The baby in front of us begins her crying jag.

4:30 - 6:15 pm: We switch places--Bryan to the window. I am drinking wine and trying desperately to concentrate on the sodokus. We pass the NW tip of France at 6:15.

6:!5 - 8:00 pm: The baby in front of us is screeching and earns the "machine gun baby" award for her percussion-like cadence of crying/whining. Still working the sodokus, and a word jumble and a scramble...and trying to read the captions in an Arabic newspaper...anything to NOT hear the blasting baby!

8:30 pm: Bathroom break. I get up to walk and stretch. Got a muffin, a drink of water and put on some lotion. Pulled out a book to read.

11:00 pm: The baby ahead is asleep. Thank God. I doze.

11:30 pm: An announcement "Is there a doctor on board?" !!!

11:45 pm: The baby behind us wakes up and begins crying.

12:00 midnight in Amman and still 3 hours from landing...the babies beside us begin crying, but thankfully are quieted quickly.

12:30 am: The baby ahead of us wakes and begins the machine-gun cries. The guy behind me has just sneezed about 10 times in a row. I smell baby doo.

FINALLY, we begin the descent into Chicago. I can't tell you how happy I was to see the giant grid of lights below us as we came in at twilight. I couldn't wait to get off the plane.

Immigration easy. Waiting for the bags for almost an hour--but had fun watching the beagle sniff out all the fruits/foods brought over. Watched a nasty little man berate his wife for moving a foot away from their carry-on bag to point out their bag coming around on the carousel. The fool, nasty little man missed it anyway. This was repeated for each of their 4 large bags--he failed to see all 4. Unbelievable. And his tone was so super nasty.

But by 8:30 pm, we were home! Home to jumping dogs, a huge pile of mail and lots of pictures to download!

Glad to go on trips...and glad to come home too!
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