Wednesday, September 09, 2009

our SC vacation: random shots part 10 (in conclusion)

All good things must come to end - and so it was with our vacation back to South Carolina.

We drove our 12 passenger van back to the Atlanta airport, dropped it off, took a bus - a train - and multiple moving sidewalks and elevators to arrive at our terminal. And then we stood around for almost three hours and waited for our plane to leave. Because it took a lot less time getting to the airport from my mother's house, then it took for us to get from the airport to my mother's house.

Wait. Did that make sense?

I'm including a copy of this next picture of our children dragging their bags down the jetway, not to illustrate how cruel of a mother I am in forcing my children to carry their own gear because I'm too cheap to check it, but to point out where strollers are stored before you board the plane.

More than once, I've received inquiries from people who read this blog wondering how you get your stroller all the way to the plane.

See that little alcove, right there to the right of William's bright glowing back pack? That is where you would store your stroller - with it's gate check tag - before getting on to the plane. And when you get off the plane, your stroller will be sitting right there waiting for you.

I remain convinced that this "free service" the airport provides is one of the BEST free services available. (Rivaled only by public restrooms.) By allowing passengers to push their children in a stroller ALL THE WAY TO THE PLANE, and then have that stroller waiting for them when they land, saves parents so much trouble, I'm at a loss for words that would adequately express my gratitude.

But a lot of travelers don't realize that this option exists for them, which is why I see so many people checking their strollers with their luggage. On more than one occasion, I have gone up to absolute strangers and filled them in on this little travel secret. I'll usually say, "In case you didn't know, you can push your stroller all the way to the gate. Just clear it through security, get a claim ticket from the agent and then you can roll it directly to the plane."

My advice is often met with a blank stare so I'll smile and nod and excitedly add, "I am totally serious." And well, most parents who are taking a trip with small children are feeling exhausted within the first 15 minutes of arriving at the airport and once they understand the truth of what I'm telling them, the only thing that would make them happier is if the sky opened up and $20.00 bills rained down.

This is a photo of the on board interactive map, which shows our plane flying directly over Sun City, Arizona. That's where Alex and Kathleen live.

From Sun City / Phoenix, it's only another hour or so until we arrive in San Diego. And doesn't it figure, that was right about the time all four of our children (finally) fell fast to sleep.

Waking four soundly sleeping children up - after a full day of traveling - when their internal body clocks registered a time of 3:00 AM and require that they carry their own luggage off the plane and out of the airport - and then, sit and wait on the curb for the next hour for our car to arrive was the lowest point of the day.

Dare I say - it was even lower than William who grabbed the air sick bag just before take off and demonstrated to the kindly woman sitting next to him, how it is used.

On the outside, she is smiling and laughing. But she knew that she was on a row with four excited children under the age of five and I'll bet that she was trying to figure out the exact translation of five hours to minutes.

And she was counting them.

I'm kidding. OF COURSE. Our children were perfect angels on the plane ride home and I only thought about jumping from an exit once.

Which is a considerable improvement from the last time we flew with the whole family and I stood in the galley at the back of the plane, poised by the exit for the entire flight.

We are definitely improving.


  1. When you traveled, how'd you do car seats? Did you check them? (Except for Henry's?)

  2. Thanks, for all the info and big arrows for the strollers on planes. Amazingly, I didn't know until you went to your class reunion. Now, could you check Henry's car seat for free if you wanted or would they make you pay?

  3. I totally agree with you on the BLISS of having that stroller drop-off area right before you walk onto the plane. When I traveled alone with my two (1 and 3 at the time) I would have NEVER made it if that drop-off area wasn't available to me.

  4. Don't forget to add... you must fold your strollers up at the "Gate Check."

  5. HI I follow allt he time but with dial up rarely comment (sorry) you can also check carseats the same way as strollers. I have traveld and had a frined picking me up, number one I am not goign to pay to check the carseat and then what happens if its doesn't make it, so you can just carry it and check right at the door, this wouldn't work for having your 4 kids, unless you are goign to tie them onto them ha ha, but with just one it works great.

  6. Oh wow--I feel bad for those people who didn't know they could take their stroller all the way to the gate! I lived for that perk! But I still always worried my beloved double Bob would be damaged, even at the gate! Oh, how I loved that stroller!

  7. I love your blog. It makes me laugh... which makes my day! Love that you took a pic of the lady who sat next to your poor air sick kid

  8. Vacation looks like a ton-o-fun. Get in any runs? JUST KIDDING! I've gone serously downhill with my committment to running. I so need to get back on the horse. The pounds are finding their way back...

  9. My favorite picture is when you were all waiting for the car to come to you. Gracie is plum wore out as they say in the south.