Thursday, June 25, 2009

How To Score Free Wine On A Long Plane Flight (Though I don't recommend this method~ just pay for the wine.)

Picture the scene:

Scott and Moana and I were jammed like sardines in the last row of the airplane... on our third and final flight headed over the Pacific Ocean toward Hawaii after having already traveled for 9+ hours. The 20-something military guy who got stuck in the back row with us was in hell, but he put his headphones on and tried to mentally transport himself to someplace else. Anyplace else.

Moana was exhausted, and who knows what time it was. Past her bedtime is all she felt. Poor thing clearly just wanted to sleep, but it was hard because there was no place to lay down and stretch out. Mommy's lap was lumpy and not very comfortable. She would fall asleep for a few minutes, and then in an expression of frustration over not having her own space to move around, would arch her back and WAIL OUT in protest. I mean really BELT IT OUT AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS. She was serious, man. Baby wanted her crib.

We were all tired and uncomfortable, but only the 8 month old was missing the social filter that told her to keep her feelings to herself. Actually, that's not true. The Crotchety Old Flight Attendant was missing the filter too. Keep reading.

So the time came when it became clear to Scott that we needed to change Moana's diaper. Hmmm. Where to do that? Clearly there was not room in the back row next to the military man in hell. We got up and I checked both lavatories that were right near our seats. No changing table. The back galley area was clear though- the flight attendants were busy blocking the aisle with their carts.

I figured there had to be a changing table somewhere on the plane, so I approached Crotchety Old Flight Attendant and waited patiently while she served someone a drink to ask her where I might find one. Eventually she acknowledged me and told me there was one up in the front lavatory. Perfect. The one changing table they had on the plane was not accessible to us due to the 2 carts blocking the aisle.

I went back to the galley to tell Scott that we needed to wait and take Moana up front, but instead found him with Moana's diaper off. He was already in the middle of changing her on the bench that was there. I jumped in to help him and within 30 seconds the deed was done and I sighed with relief that we didn't make a mess.

Right about this time Crotchety Old Flight Attendant walked back into the galley and saw what we had done. Without hesitation I apologized and told her that my husband had changed the diaper before I had a chance to tell him about the change table up front.

Oh. My. Gosh. Crotchety Old Flight Attendant went off.

I don't know why people always think it's okay to change diapers back here in our area!?! We prepare food back here! This is against all health codes! Would you go into a restaurant and walk back into the kitchen to change your baby's diaper?? I don't want to have to sit on a poopy seat! It is not okay to change diaper back here!! I told you that the changing table is up front!

This lady went on and on. And on and on. After we were back in our seats she continued to stand there and berate us as loudly as she could. Right in front of everyone else on the plane. At this point it's important to know that I was completely in tears and just quietly asking her to stop. But she did not.

Okay. I will admit that it probably wasn't in the best taste to change Moana's diaper right there. I did apologize immediately and told her (in all honesty) that we didn't know what we were supposed to do. But seriously, it wasn't like we smeared poop all over the floor and walls. Though that's likely what everyone around us thought* when they couldn't help but overhear Crotchety Old Flight Attendant going off on us.

After she finally left us alone, I just could not stop crying. I was so tired. And so embarrassed. I was already feeling self-conscious about Moana crying out... already thinking that everyone around us hated us for bringing this poor little baby on such a long flight. And now, thanks to Crotchety Old Flight Attendant, everyone thought that we were dirty and disgusting and trashy for changing Moana's diaper in the back. I just wanted to disappear, but instead was stuck on this plane for at least 3 more hours.

Like a good husband, Scott got up a few minutes later and went back to apologize one more time to the horrible woman, but also to stand up for me and tell her that she had handled to situation completely inappropriately. Crotchety Old Flight Attendant did not back down. She repeated all of her previous complaints yet again. Loudly.

My crying would not stop.

A few minutes later Scott was walking Moana up and down the aisle trying to give her a little change of scenery and hopefully get her to nod off again. Apparently during this time two other flight attendants got wind of what had transpired in the back. One of them came up to me and apologized profusely and told me not to worry about it... nice of her to do that, but I was still whimpering in my own Mother-Hell. Finally, Nice Flight Attendant smiled and said, "You need a glass of wine. Red or white?" To which I responded, "White. Thank you."

And there you have it. The cure.

The two nice flight attendants kept 'em coming until I was sound asleep with Moana on my lap. The wine really did help.

*For what it's worth, after the flight when we were waiting at the baggage claim area, a woman from our flight approached me and told me that she thought that Crotchety Old Flight Attendant's behavior was cruel and inappropriate. She said that she knew some people 'high up' in American Airlines and was going to report her bahvior because it was so unnecessary. I appreciated this woman's comment. She said that clearly, Crotchety Old Flight Attendant was not a mother. Clearly.


Sara said...

I'm seriously in tears right now! That is the most crazy story I've ever heard and I just read it to Ryan and he said that he would have gotten arrested because he would have told her off!!!! Oh my gosh!!! So good job to Scott for keeping his cool (from Ryan). And I bought plane tickets today to fly to the mainland. Am I CRAZY? Thank goodness I bought the trip insurance in case we freak out beforehand :-) Ryan's definitely second guessing our plans...especially since Sara's track record is a bit rougher (is that the right word?) than Moana's. I'm glad you're home. We'll have to catch up soon...north shore swim on Saturday?

Natalie D said...

Awww. that is AWFUL!!! What an old witch! I'm sorry that you had to go through that!

Clare said...

wowzers. what a nightmare! i kind of can't believe no one on the plane stood up to the old b!tch while she was going off. i am now going to be nicest person in the world to anyone i see traveling with a cranky baby! (please please please let andra be good on our flights next week!!!) anyway, glad the wine slept, but did moana ever settle down? did you slip her some wine too??

Rebecca DeWire said...

That flight attendant was way out of line!!! I want to cry just hearing about that incident. Not sure if it makes you feel better, but we changed at least 6 pee diapers in our seats on our flights. We really had no choice since we were in the window and middle seat with people asleep in the aisle every time. Plus, we had no idea how to change her in those tiny bathrooms.

Kate Parker said...

Wow....that's awful! I am SO sorry that you guys had to go through that. Like the trip by itself (without the mean lady flight attendant) isn't rough enough.

Nitsirk said...

OMG, I would have cried too, that's horrible. I just bought a plane ticket and will be flying solo with my guy when he is 5 months. Luckily it's a shorter flight but still... I hope the flight attendents are nicer. Would you mind talking a bit about how you handled the milk/formula or whatever you use and flying? I can't figure out what is allowed anymore. Glad you are home and hopefully Moana gets her schedule back quickly.

Molly said...

What an evil woman!!! You can dislike baby noise and still be kind to someone trying their best to deal with it - clearly she had issues. I'm so glad *someone* on that flight saw her for what she was and tried to make you feel better.

X-Country2 said...

Aww, my heart just broke all over the place for you. Poor thing.

DC Running Mama said...

Wow. What a royal B*TCH. I hate authority figures. I probably would have yelled right back at her. But, then, I have anger management issues.

Regina said...

My heart was breaking for you reading this. I have to admit, before I had my son, I was so anti baby/child especially on flights (I was an evil bitch). Well the tables turned on me after I had my son, I am so sympathetic to anyone having to deal with a cranky child ANYWHERE. Every person should be required to care for a child in a difficult situation to learn to be more sympathetic.

Hooray for your hubby standing up to that bitch and defending you. He is my new favorite superhero.

As for Crotchety Old Airline Attendant? There is this thing called Karma....She'll get hers, count on it.

cat. said...

man oh man, mama. i'm so sorry! i'm glad you had scott's support, nicer attendants to give you booze and an unbiased person to confirm that that woman is WHACK!!

welcome home, time to decompress.

Angela said...

Mama, I'm so sorry! what a cold heartless booger. The devil it sounds like. I would actually write my own letter to AA about the situation. Honestly, with how everything is now, can they really afford to treat paying customers like that.

GoBigGreen said...

Yowzers. I would have said "White. And some Vodka chasers, please."
Glad you are home in your own bed now. I hate travelling and i dont even have kids, but i have nephew's and enough friends with kids that i cant even imagine saying that stuff. Un-be-f#$king believable.

Lizzie said...

Do NOT even get me started on this. I fly internationally pretty regularly and this woman's behaviour was BEYOND reprehensible. I dread to think what it would have been like if you had to go further than Hawaii. Part of the issue is ego and the inability to just LET IT GO. I'm sorry, but this makes me SO angry when I hear about situations like this. Please do not let it be a discouragement to taking Moana elsewhere while she is young.

I have no doubt that she will be reported to someone at AA and hopefully will receive the appropriate discipline (desk job or no job), and I am glad that others stepped in where she obviously couldn't.

You shouldn't be embarrassed. If anybody should be, it is the flight attendant. I hope she is, but if she isn't then I feel kind of sorry for her - imagine walking around being that bitter and angry all the time. That's hard work! :)

Sounds like you have earned some beach time!

Katie said...

Wow, that is just awful, so sorry. What an awful way to end what seemed like such a nice trip for you and the fam!

I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago, after everyone in blogging land kept quoting your wise blog, Mamma Simmons says "this" and Mamma Simmons says "that," and I have to say I am not disapointed! Enjoy your weekend now that your finally home! :)

Newt said...

Oh you poor thing. I'm so so sorry you went through all that. I hope you and Moana and Scott can all breathe easy now and dig your feet in the sand and enjoy being home.

Angela and David Kidd said...

Oh my goodness, that is terrible. My sister is a flight attendant (Southwest). I am sending her to your story. I want to get her reaction.

All of you flying sounds miserable. If I qualify for Kona I may be coming without Zach. Those long flights just seem way too stressful.

Running and living said...

Wow, this story is unbelievable. What happened to customer service? I travelled with my son internationally alone, and changed him a few times on my lap in the plane and the stewarts actually took the plastic bag from me. You were more of a lady than I would have been. Regardless what that woman's issues might have been, one needs to be able to behave in a professional manner while at work. So sorry you had to put up with that! Ana-Maria

BriGaal said...

I'm just now getting caught up on blogs and I'm SO SORRY you went through this! That is horrible! I can't believe the flight attendant was that mean. I would've cried (for a long time) too if some stranger yelled at me like that in public, for doing something you had to do. I'm sure you're over her now - can you imagine going through life with her attitude? That must suck.

cherelli said...

oh boy; i read this a couple of days ago and boy it makes me so mad. I'm not even a Mum yet but for another human being to power-trip and demoralise another for something relatively trivial (when it's not like you can turn back the clock; you've already apologised, what else is there that you can do?? Nothing) makes me mad. It did keep me awake for quite a while before I fell asleep, replaying in my head how much restraint I would need to have to stop from doing something I'd regret to that stewardess. Sorry to hear she upset you but good on Scott for daring to face the music a second time!