Several years ago I endured what will hoopefully continue to be the worst flight of my entire life. It was just horrendous (and if you've not read that post, you should - it'll colour just how bad a flight would need to be now to usurp it at the top). I have flown a lot in my life - a lot more between 2010 and 2011 than most other years, but since then only once or twice a year at most. These flights however around always transatlantic. Flying to Canada should be mundane now - like getting the bus or the train - but in 2013 I had the excitement of flying alone to my wedding, and then this holiday period we had the surmountable worry of flying with Joni for the first time.
I remember flying back from Houston that winter where I got stuck in London and seeing a family waiting like me to find their bags. I had overheard them talking to a BA rep in the foreigner queue at the customs clearance section of Terminal 5. I had erroneously sleepwalked (almost literally) along with my co-passengers into the non-EU passport line and waited there for 10 minutes before realising my mistake. This family of five (two parents and three kids) looked like they were about to break mentally and physically upon being told their onward flight to Algeria had been cancelled and there were no flights from Heathrow at all that day due to the weather. I was only going to Glasgow - at least I had made it home, to an extent. They however were stranded in a country that they had no connection with with their kids and I muttered internally to my own brain "Christ, imagine flying with kids".
Now I realise that I'll being doing this all my life, forever more, with Joni and her future siblings. So this winter travel period was a test of sorts, and understandably Connie and I were a little worried about how our wee pixie would handle the plane.
As it turned out, pretty well actually. She was a total trooper on the way out, smiling and cooing for everyone charming them with her obvious awesomeness and cuteness. She slept well too, and fed well, and played a bit. The plane was really quite quiet too so for the first time in my adult life I took up the offer of "once the seat belt light is off, you are free to move around the cabin" and walked the aisle up and down like I was parading my cute baby off to the entire plane. Obviously I wasn't. Obviously. But it was strange to think that at age four months she had flown more than my Gran Muir had in her entire life.
We had some tips taking from the internet, thet best being related to changing her diaper/nappy. We had taken a selection of diapers/nappies out of the diaper/nappy bag and put them into individual sandwich bags. This meant that when I had to change her touche we only had to grab the change mat, the wee sandwich bag, and the cream and wipes, and we golden instead of trying to fit the entire bag into the small toilets on the plane. There was another family travelling with their similar-of-age daughter (I suggested to Connie that the two babies fight it out gladiator style prior to take-off) who hadn't heeded this advice (or even thought about it) and smugly watched the father try to get out of the toilet with his daughter and their massive massive bag.
On the way back the plane was "full" which meant we were going to be stuck for space. It was also a total shanner of a plane too - Air Transat have been upgrading their planes and we had been told that it had been finished but apparently not, and the seats were just awful. Just before take-off Connie enquired about a spare seat to which the steward politley declined but only moments later offered a free seat to us, so we made the man sitting to our right move and suddenly we had three seats in the middle all to ourselves. What a difference. It meant the flight, which was at night, was much more relaxing than we'd previously expected and we didn't have to move at all to change Joni. She didn't sleep at all on the way back, preferring to squeal and scream at everyone and play with her toys.
The landing was rough. Canada might have been having super cold weather, but related to that event Scotland had been experiencing the worst winds for decades, and we had to land in a 40mph cross-wind, which meant for the last 30 minutes of the flight the plane was dropping around 500ft randomly, pitching left and right all the way, and was acting like a bucking bronco. The pilot managed to reign it in and as we touched down the exhale of relief from the passengers actually turned into applause that this time was deserved.
So flying with Joni then - basically utterly unpredictable. I can't wait for the summer now.