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    This is the post where I end up telling everyone not to ever park in the Dulles Airport parking lots

    August 20, 2007

    Don’t you just think those people who come home and complain about air travel are such rank amateurs?

    You know, I was gonna just let the incident with the gate agent last night just pass us by and not comment on it.  Really, I was.  It’s just tedious to have to read a post about one person’s bad trip.  Unfortunately for you, Internet, today is your unlucky day.  Because I am feeling mercy, I am going to just gloss over the incident on the puddle jumper plane earlier in the day regarding the fact that there are only 3 oxygen masks on one side of the aisle and 2 on the other so one parent had to sit with a toddler and a six month old and in addition, be berated incessantly about everything safety related for 2 hours.  I’m going to gloss over it because personally I believe a “flight-related-incident” on a puddle jumper will, statistically speaking, leave you with more issues than the number of oxygen masks available on what side of the aisle.  But back to the Miss-Personality-Gate-Agent. 

    The Husband:  You are not going to believe what just happened.

    My husband makes it a policy to get on the plane as soon as possible in order to secure as much overhead bin space as possible.  He feels a sense of entitlement to that 12 inches of space above his head since that is where his legroom apparently went.  I, on the other hand, make it a policy to be the last person on the plane.  I figure that once I get on, I’m not getting off and those seats aren’t getting any bigger and these kids aren’t getting better behaved the longer you are sitting in that sardine tin.   So he is looking at me with this dazed look when I finally board the plane.  I thought he was dazed because for the 4th time in 2 months, he has had to play the barter game in order to get three seats together.  Because after offering my 2 children and the dog as payment for tickets on this airline, no one employed by the airline can be bothered to be of any assistance. 

    So my husband then tells me of his argument with the gate agent about the stroller. 

    Gate Agent:  SIR, CLEARLY YOU DIDN’T HEAR MY MESSAGE ABOUT GETTING A STROLLER TAG BEFORE BOARDING.

    I must say that I think that is an interesting statement coming from a woman who, when the plane was delayed 40 minutes, was acting like, “oh?  there’s a flight? we are at an airport?  people need information?”  So we missed her silly announcement.  Move on already.

    D:  Uh, sorry?
    GA:  And what’s the deal with this stroller?
    D:  We actually checked it in but for some reason they brought it up when we got off our last flight. 
    GA:  No, I mean, why are you taking such a big stroller?  When I travelled with my children, I just took an umbrella stroller.  Why do you have to bring such a big stroller? This is ridiculous.

    I could feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up as he relayed this story.  I am very sensitive about my packing skills.  I take great pride in my packing skills. I used to travel with just a little backpack.  Frankly I am the person traveling with the two kids, pulling my little roller bag full of camera equipment, mocking those people with the strollers that are 4 feet long and have every single toy available in case Junior’s attention needs to be diverted for 2 seconds.  We need nothing. We can entertain ourselves with 2 trucks, the air vents, a couple of books and Sky Mall, for heaven’s sake. Don’t be giving me crap about the damn jogging stroller I brought because everyone (read “those-related-to-me-by-marriage”) is always whining about how they can’t take the kids anywhere because all we do is carry them around.  The jogging stroller with the big wheels that help even a slow-moving grandma manuever on a bumpy gravel driveway.  I checked that collosal mess at the counter and your people screwed up.  Today was her lucky day because the door was already shut and we were headed toward the runway.  I would have gone back out and kicked her ass.

    K:  What did you say?
    D:  I was SO shocked that she was yelling at me and that those things were actually coming out of her mouth that I didn’t say anything.

    Stunned into silence.  Not unlike I was a mere 5 hours later at 1:15 a.m. when the economy lot bus driver forced me to get of the bus in an electrical storm with my 6 month old.

    K:  But my stop is over on the other side of the lot closer to my car. 

    Try 1/5 of a mile closer. 

    Driver:  You should have told me that before.
    K:  Before what?  This is the first stop of the bus.
    Driver:  Ma’am.  I’m sorry.  This is my only stop.
    K:  You are sorry?
    Drive: Yes.
    K: I have to get out here, even though I am carrying a baby?
    Driver:  Yes.

    I walked 1/5 of a mile in the torrential rain, in one inch of water gushing across the parking lot, pulling a roller bag full of cameras and a laptop.

    Carrying a 6 month old who never made a peep.  By the time I drove back to the terminal to pick up The Husband, The Boy and all our luggage (after chewing a supervisor out for 2 minutes), I was still dripping wet.  So was the baby.  We found a dry blanket and wrapped him up.  I mean, we still had an hour drive home.  Bad mother that I am, I hadn’t anticipated that little traveling nightmare. It was then that my husband told me the airport closed right after we landed because the storm was so bad. And then I realized how dangerous it really was that I had walked all the way across the parking lot. That I should have made the driver call his supervisor. That at a minimum, I should have just gone back to the terminal and had The Husband go pick up the car. But at 1:30 in the morning, I couldn’t think. I had just gone out to the parking lot like I always do–because that is the easier job than getting all the luggage. I mean, I was only going to have to run 50 feet in the rain. Big deal.

    For an $81 parking bill, I expected a little more service.  Call me crazy.  So don’t park at Dulles.  They suck.

    8 Comments »

    1. Loralee says:

      This post has me breaking out in HIVES and makes me want to throttle someone. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to live through it.

      EEEK.

      August 20th, 2007 at 9:16 am

    2. nyjlm says:

      Is this the same trip where the flight attendant wanted you to nurse in a burka? Seriously, wtf is wrong with these people? I know that there are some helpful flight attendants and other airline employees, but it sure seems like the great majority of them hate kids and their parents. Arrrrgh!

      August 20th, 2007 at 9:23 am

    3. trena says:

      This post right here is why I choose every time to pay the extra $100 to fly from Roanoke vs. driving and leaving from Dulles.
      I can’t even fathom the thought process that would go through someone’s head thinking (wait, requiring) a woman with a 6 month old to get off of his bus at 1am in the morning in a pouring rainstorm. Liability aside, what about just basic human decency and understanding? Two things that don’t abound that close to DC I guess.
      I’m glad you made it home alive and with everyone intact!

      August 20th, 2007 at 10:28 am

    4. Jen Zug says:

      Oh, I’m shriveling up on the inside.

      August 20th, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    5. tlivesay says:

      Oh my gosh. I am so mad. I HATE airport people. Hate hate hate — a word you should use sparingly so it has power — I HATE them.

      They are so rude, I never make it onto a plane without feeling like I might go postal.

      They suck – all of them.

      August 20th, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    6. Meg says:

      Now that construction is done at BWI, the parking seems to be much better managed, especially when arriving late at night. I try to avoid Dulles at all costs.

      Did Mommy have a cocktail when she got home???

      August 21st, 2007 at 6:22 am

    7. Occidental Girl says:

      Stunned into silence is a feeling I know quite well. I hate that, because you have so much left unsaid. Grrr!!! Sorry for your troubles. Glad everyone’s okay. Now get a nap, lady! :)

      August 21st, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    8. Manic Mommy says:

      My husband would have been stunned into silence as well. I’m the one that gets to be superbitch when these situations arise. I’m totally mentally outlining my rebuttal to the gate agent as well as the shuttle guy. My God! The top of my head would have blown off.

      I’d DEFINITELY place a call to the airline – and the rental agency.

      Name names baby!

      August 21st, 2007 at 5:53 pm

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