Back at it again, and violating the rules of starting a new trip before the blog of the last one (and the one before that for that matter) is finished, but oh well.
We began Tuesday evening with a
relatively easy, low drama flight to San Francisco. We overnighted at
the Hyatt Regency airport where we used a suite upgrade to upgrade to
the super large, very nice, yet subtly weird suites they have there.
The suite has an enormous living room (or parlor, as the check in agent
called it) connected to a bedroom with 2 double beds that is a normal
hotel room. The weird part is that all suites are apparently on the 2nd
floor (of 9). Some have balconies that are shared... with the next
room. The room next to ours was inhabited by someone else - don't walk
out of the bathroom naked or anything.... This particular suite has
magnificent views overlooking the back of the lobby bar/restaurant, with
such sights as the garbage can rack, the pop fountain, and those
elaborate restaurant cash registers.
But I get ahead of myself.
Let it never be said that I am the only one who makes mistakes - my
husband left the our checked bags at the shuttle bus stop at the airport
and had to frantically ride back around with the hilarious and helpful
Chinese driver to get them ("Next time you count bags! One! Two! Three!
Four!") Meanwhile, I showed up at the Diamond check-in counter without
the Diamond in tow, but with a boy on my shoulders and a sleepy girl in
the stroller. Checking us in was no problem (she never even asked for
my ID, let alone T's, which I was carrying). She was making eyes at
Andrew, and offered us complimentary cookies and milk, which I readily
accepted. She said, "Tell your husband I'm giving him the bonus points
as well as the food amenity." I thought she was talking about the
cookies, but she then handed me the standard Diamond amenity selection
card! So we got chips, dip, hummus, and two iced teas in addition to
our cookies and milk!
After winding down, sleep there went
pretty well with D and T in the bedroom beds and C and I in the living
room (uh, parlor) in a pack and play and the pull out couch,
respectively. It was a short night, though, and we woke up tired. I
figured this would help us on the ensuing red-eye (ha.).
been worried about our tight connection in Chicago (like 36 minutes) so
we were debating how to request a reroute, when it appeared that there'd
been an equipment swap to an international 777 on SFO-ORD. And we
weren't on the upgrade list (thanks, SHARES). It took T about 45
minutes of haggling at the check-in counter to get them to add us to the
list (which should be an automated process) and get three of us
upgraded instantly. Then after hurrying to the gate, C appeared as #2
on the upgrade list with two seats remaining. We advised the gate agent
that we were present and accounted for whenever she was going to clear
that upgrade, and then got read the riot act about something having to
do with being entitled elites who expect the upgrades (which sounded to
me like quite the Continental attitude coming from this PMUA gate crew -
the assimilation is working?). This then turned into the agent
insisting that C was actually #7 on the list, refusing to even look at
the monitor, telling us that the computer systems aren't synced up (? -
this give me great confidence in the airline right there), and
eventually forcing us to board with C as a lap child after all. Drama.
wasn't over though, because we got to Chicago and our ORD-YYZ flight
was already delayed so that our tight connection in Chicago was now
fine... but robbing Peter to pay Paul means that we now were going to
have a tight connection in Toronto. We huffed it over to the ORD-FRA
United flight to beg to get on it, though it was closing in a matter of
minutes. After a few minutes of giving us the Easy Answer ("Nothing we
can do... can't be separated from your bags... FAA."), it finally
clicked in one agent's head when T said, "So who do we need to talk to
when we misconnect in Toronto?" that this really was about to be a huge
mess, so she called Luthansa to get the ticket endorsed over to United
and put us on the flight. So we were Those People who boarded last and
clearly were the cause of the flight delay. (Can't blame the sequester
and the cuts to ATC for this one!) But with the tail winds, the flight
was a fast one and we all got in an hour early anyway.
started well enough with meals and shows and all that. We put the kids
in jammies, and expected the best after our short night previous. But C
wanted to climb me like a rock climber on a crag, and D fell asleep for
about an hour before just watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood over and
over for the rest of the flight. And I got a migraine, which was
miraculously the first time that had ever happened on an international
When we hit the ground an hour early in Frankfurt, we
realized that we had the chance to make it on the morning flight to
Bergen - but we'd have to hurry, we had just over an hour to make it
happen. The alternative was a 7 hour layover in Frankfurt with
non-sleeping babies, so I'd say we were sufficiently motivated. We
found an angelic United agent who changed the flights and wished us
luck, then had to stop at the Lufthansa transfer desk to get boarding
passes. While T handled that, I asked the information dude the fastest
way to get to A52. He said 'where are you going?' I said Bergen. He
said, "That flight is going to close at 10:00. It's 9:40. Ma'am, I
must advise you that with your family, it will take 30 minutes at least
to get there." I simply said, "We'll run." He tried again: "Ma'am, you
don't understand. This isn't an American airport. This is like a
small city. To go that far in this amount of time.... impossible."
you should know not to say the word "impossible" to any American, let
alone a member of this family. We took off like a shot. Through
passport control, over to Concourse A, through the family security
checkpoint, where they are without fail the nicest security agents ever
(they held C for us through the whole process!), and into Concourse A.
As we rounded the corner into the A50-A69 hallway, the clock read 9:52.
I thought - "We're golden!" T grabbed our stack of boarding passes
and ran on ahead to the gate where they accosted him with "Where have
you been? In the lounge??" (T: "Does it LOOK like I've been relaxing
in the lounge *while wiping the sweat from his brow after a
not-quite-all-out sprint through 3 terminals!*) but they shooed us onto
the bus which rolled up to a little CRJ-700 parked out far out on the
tarmac right next to... the United 777 we had just disembarked. Hot,
sweaty, exhausted, and headachy, we were completely triumphant.
flight to Bergen was as pleasant as it could be under the
circumstances. Considering we were supposed to be on the afternoon
flight, the whole situation resulted in us getting in 6 hours early! We
easily arranged for our poor misconnected bags to be delivered to the
hotel and then found the bus to the city center. We found our hotel and
all four of us were tired enough to delightfully crash all at the same
time for a few hours, and had high hopes of this being "nap" and being
able to go to sleep at an adjusted time.
As I write this it is
currently 12:15am in Bergen and our kids are showing no intention of
slowing down. One hour of sleep last night, what? No! Let's play