Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Long Road Home

As long as I'm still experiencing middle-of-the-night jetlag I will share our crazy trip home.

It started out crazy and ended crazy. 

5:30 AM hotel pick-up

6:00 Arrival at airport wherein the airlines tried to tell us Lan Lan's ticket wasn't right and we would need to buy her a new ticket.  Say what??  She had already traveled TO China with this ticket and no problems.  China Air said we hadn't paid the correct fare.  After lots of stress and discussion we were eventually allowed to use her ticket (and when we returned home and talked to our travel agent, they said we paid the same price for her ticket as all the others, so we still don't know what the problem was!) 

8:00 board plane for 3 hour flight to Beijing
8:30 plane leaves gate
9:00 plane still sitting on tarmac in Guangzhou
9:30 ditto
10:00 ditto--we are finally told there is a delay due to fog in Beijing
10:30 ditto
11:00 breakfast is served while still sitting on the tarmac--FYI it is never a good sign when they start serving breakfast while still on the ground! 
11:30 still sitting on tarmac
12:00 we are told we will leave in one hour--yes, we are still sitting on the tarmac
12:30 we are told flight will be cancelled
12:35 we are told to buckle up, the cancel is cancelled, we leave 5 minutes later

Lan Lan is sick with cough and barfs 3 times
Mei Mei sleeps

3:30 land in Beijing
We have missed our connection to San Fran
Our luggage is missing
Wait in LONG line to find new flights
Super nice United lady

No seats available on original route for 2 days

Given choice of Chicago or Washington DC flight

Choose Chicago since it's closer to the west coast

Chicago flight is already starting to board--run to the gate and in a panic call home, leave texts and messages about not arriving home until the next day.


2 of our bags have been found.  Still missing 2.
2 girls with bad coughs.

While sitting at the gate we are told the flight will have an unexpected stop in San Fran because of a shortage in pilots.  Say what??  But even tho we will be in San Fran nobody can exit the plane.  The arrival time in Chicago is extended 3 hours.  Sigh. 

11.5 hours to San Fran
Sit at gate for 1 hour--look out window--say hello to SF--call home and talk to sad kids knowing we should already be home!
4 hours to Chicago
Roughest landing ever--guess the extra pilot they picked up was a noobie

Lan Lan screams from ear pain on every landing and take-off even tho we try every trick in the book
Lan Lan fills 2 barf bags
Mei Mei fills 1 barf bag
In between all the barfing and ear-pain screaming, the girls do really well, watch lots of movies, play card games, eat, and sleep.

9:00 PM arrive Chicago
Immigration easy peasy
2 pieces of luggage missing
United great at putting us up in a hotel and giving us food vouchers
11:30 PM arrive at hotel
11:45 Lan Lan realizes she is missing her beloved I-touch
Know it's lost forever
Lan Lan thinks she left it on hotel shuttle
REALLY know it's lost forever
12:00 Hotel calls shuttle, wait, then told they found it!  Thank you nice, honest, hotel shuttle driver!!
12:30 showers, snacks, sleeping

4:30 AM wake up
5:00 shuttle pick up

luggage still missing

check-in, eat breakfast, flight is on-time with no delays expected!
8:00 AM Take-off for home sweet home!
Lan Lan screams from ear pain on take-off
NO barf bags filled--Horrah!
Lan Lan screams from ear pain on landing
Mei Mei sleeps most of the way
12:00 landing at HOME SWEET HOME!

45 Hours of travel

Luggage still missing

Lan Lan says she is never flying again--this might be the last picture you ever see of Lan Lan on a plane.

But it was all worth it!


Kathy said...

Well? What to say to all that. Motion sick pills? Frustration is futile. To bad you can't get air miles for all of the extra time spent on the planes! God's blessings that you are home safe and sound. Your family is far more richer with Mei Mei!

Sally-Girl! said...

WoW!!!! I can't even imagine!!! Sorry you had to deal with all that. Planes trains and automobiles that is for sure!!

Nancy said...

Wow. Just wow.
Just now catching up. Glad we weren't the only one's barfing on the plane. It kinda sets off a chain reaction for the passengers near by, hu? What fun.
SO glad you're home my friend.

Stephanie said...

Oh, mercy! That is quite the travel nightmare! So glad you are HOME!

Ronnie said...

ann, this is my first time reading your blog! my heart aches for you all. we just returned home ourselves with two older children from China on monday morning. we had a nightmare trip friend sent me your post to let us know we weren't alone in the travel disaster area. i wish we were though. no one should have to go through all that. we flew united also. praise God you made it home safe. you are in our prayers.