To the mom from my flight, I’m so sorry

Last year, at about 20 weeks pregnant and only a few days away from finding out the sex of my child, I was on a flight home from Denver.  During the boarding process, a mom and her family walked on the plane.  This woman had three sons, her husband, and either her mother or mother-in-law with her and just looked completely defeated.  She was dragging a Britax convertible car seat (those weigh 30lbs!!!) for her 3 year old son, all the while her husband managed the two other boys in the opposite row.  Her Mom/MIL got seated randomly somewhat near them but not close enough.  She and her son took their seats in front of me.

I think about this woman everyday.

At the time, being pregnant, my stance about children on flights had softened as I knew this was a reality I would be unable to avoid.  My whole, “no kids under 5” and “subsidize airfare for grandparents” schtick was long gone; I literally wanted both of these items to be federal law while I was in my late teens / early twenties.  I digress, back to this mom, who for the entire three hours of the flight used every trick in her arsenal, food, bribes, electronics, toys, etc., to keep her son engaged and pleasant.  Some worked better than others.

When we reached our destination, her toddler had an epic meltdown.  Just screamed at the top of his lungs with no end in sight.

As we were leaving the plane, and her son was still screaming, the young man next to me gave this woman a look and mumbled something under his breath.  Instead of offering her a supportive smile, words of encouragement, anything, I said, “that’s why I hope I don’t have a son”.

I have not yet been able to forgive myself.  As a new mom, I get it now, and yes I have a son.  I spend most of my day covered in puke, I have to think back 3+ days to determine when the last time I showered was, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t completely overwhelmed and exhausted, and I was vicious to this woman.  This woman was killing it, and I took a situation out of her control, made it about myself, and tore her down in the process.  To this woman, I want to sincerely apologize.  I get it.  I now understand that everyday is a struggle and you needed to catch a break.  I get that you were embarrassed and helpless and I cannot begin to put into words how I failed you.

The silver lining: I have learned from this. I am humbled by the experience of becoming a mom, and while I cannot take back those awful words in that moment, I will never again cut down any mom just trying to get through the day.

A love note to Qantas

I travel a lot for my job.  In fact, in my previous job I flew every single week, I left early Monday morning (ugh), and returned Thursday evening.  So it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about flying, and while usually it’s with the same airline over and over and over (I love my miles), flying Qantas was a borderline religious experience.

Flying in the US is dogged by well, the lack of everything.  Service, food, snacks, nuts.  You get what you pay for you, and even what you pay for you don’t always get.  So when my husband and I decided to honeymoon in Australia (many posts on that later), flying Qantas was an actual dream come true.

While some Aussies (well one we encountered) feel that Qantas has gone down hill in the last few years, I dare them to come the US, fly domestically and then tell me Qantas isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread.

qantasSo why is Qantas so fabulous?  WELL.  Let’s talk free food.  And not just at meal times.  There were copious amounts of food and snacks to be had, everywhere.  Pouring out of every orifice in the air you’d find a free snack. On our flight from LA to Sydney, we boarded around 11pm and immediately were met with a free dinner.  Granted ,I just wanted to sleep but, in keeping with American air travel, I assumed this would be on par with the Last Supper.  WRONG.  WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.  After finishing my meal I immediately crashed.  Overcome with exhaustion I fell right to sleep.  I was awoken a few minutes later by a lovely flight attendant giving me a backpack full of food, treats, and other goodies.  If that wasn’t enough – there were granola bars in baskets at varying points in the plane, and flight attendants in the pitch black walked around with apples, water, and juice.

As we approached Sydney, a full blown breakfast was to be had with more snacks, including, but not limited to Cadbury hot chocolate.  I honestly wondered if it was worth deplaning?  Why leave when everyone is so nice with wonderful service and treats?  It was a legitimate question, but I was thrilled to know that we were flying Qantas within Australia a few more times, but assumed due to the shortened time of the flights (~2-3 hours in length), the service would be different.

WRONG AGAIN!  On our 2-3 hour flight from Sydney to Cairns, we got a full blown lunch, a popsicle snack and anything else our little heart desired.  I couldn’t believe it.  You fly 2-3 hours in the US and you’re lucky to get a smile.

Needless to say, Qantas is the greatest airline I’ve ever flown, despite my small sample size.  It made coming back to the US that much harder knowing that my flight a few days later would be devoid of backpacks full of snacks and popsicles.