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Hope’s first flight

August 18, 2012

This should be the happiest of happy blog entries, Hope had her first flight, sitting with her precious Granby and her baggy eyed mother; she flew from Stansted Airport to Knock in County Mayo in West Ireland … she enjoyed the flight, apart from being changed in an airplane toilet, she read the inflight magazine, and was happily flopped asleep when we touched down.

However, the experience we had at the airport coloured the whole thing and meant that both Granby and I were too cross and wiped out to really enjoy it.

We left home at 5am having woken up at 4 … she slept all the way to the airport and I was more over excited by the prospect of going on a plane with my baby girl than I had been taking her to the Olympics … very excited!! We arrived some 2 hours before our flight was due to leave (which I thought was absurdly early at that time of the morning) only to have to stand in a bloody Ryan Air queue, and I know I shoudn’t swear but it was a nightmare. Every single flight was checking in through the same few counters so there was a confused melee of people all trying to say they had the most important reason to be at the front of the queue. A hopelessly confused looking man pulled people out from time to time when time really was cut fine and eventually came to us and sent us into a shorter queue, I tried to ask about a wheel chair for Mother (which we’d ordered) and he said we had to check in first. It was a good thing we had the push chair for her to lean on but even with that she was near to collapse by the time we (1 & 1\2 later) finally got to the desk … Hope was also in a total rage as she hadn’t been fed at home, I’d planned on feeding her at the airport but it wasn’t possible in a queue. I was then sent to zone H to hand in her car seat, and mother was sent a considerable distance to zone E to find her wheel chair. I walked around the corner to see her nearly in tears (and people who know her or follow this blog will know that this is unheard of), being told that there was nobody available to push a chair and that we would miss our flight … I opened my mouth to protest, but Hope got there first and howled, it was very timely and a nice chap did eventually agree to push her but kept telling us that the gate closed at 7am and even though the flight wasn’t scheduled to fly til half past, that we would miss it. Security was a nightmare and although Granby was wheeled through without incident, Hope and I were searched and her pram was checked over and then my bag and shoes had to be checked as did her toys … in the meantime Granby sat anxiously in her chair with the tall ‘pusher’ tapping his feet muttering darkly about missing flights. He then marched at speed (I had to run to keep up) though the airport, Hope’s little head turning back and forth in confusion.

We were sent down a different set of corridors and various lifts, the chap muttering as he pushed Granby who was clutching her handbag and holding onto the wheelchair for dear life and me running, and pouring sweat and Hope howling.

When we finally got to the flight we had to wait to get on the plane and then got snapped at by the gate staff before being rushed onto the plane and squished into a very narrow space all the time being glared at by a humphy hostess … to be fair she was offset by a charming steward who slowed the process down, gave me a glass of water and held Hope while I took off my rucksack and helped Granby settle in. Then he explained the, totally inadequate in my opinion, baby seatbelt add on bit.

Hope and her mother waiting for take off

By the time we were ready to take off, Hope was apoplectic and had done a massive nappy explosion that was emerging at the back of her neck and dying her vest yellow and running down the inside of her pretty pink tights … this of course ended up all over the front of my blouse and my trousers! The second the fasten seat belt sign was turned off I leapt up and helped Mother to move so I could get out with the dripping screaming squirming small smelly person … people saw the front of her and smiled benevolently until the realised the back of her was yellow when their smiles turned to looks of horror.

Nothing has bad as my look of horror, however, on seeing the tinyness of the toilet cubicle and small teeny tiny changing flap to pull down over the loo … suffice to say what wasn’t already yellow ended up yellow and then I dropped her clean vest into the blue disinfectanty toilet … and very nearly lost Hope down there as well trying to turn round to get to the tap to get some water to clean the yellow off the wall, mat, her and me … the whole palaver took about 20 minutes and obviously being Ryanair there was I think only one loo on the plane so all the other passengers hated us when we finally emerged to fight our way back down the plane … it was at that point I also realised I had yellow smeared not only down my front but on my face as well, and that another nappy explosion had occurred. Hope by comparison was grinning cheerfully at everyone by this time in an, I know what I’ve just done, kind of a way. I had to go back and change her again but I crawled SAS style along the floor into the cubicle and managed to get back to my seat without anyone noticing … NOT … ho hum!

I resolutely drank my water and ate the piece of bread that I had stuffed into the side of the changing bag muttering darkly about not giving another penny to Ryanair. Hope in a great good mood by now sat and read the inflight magazine and chatted to everyone as if she owned the plane … I think they almost forgave the previous chaos.

Arrival in Knock was straightforward apart from the urge my luggage trolley had to turn left constantly, the staff were lovely and helped us all the way through … Mother even chatted to the captain of the Ryanair flight and told him how wonderful it had been… bless her, she didn’t want to discourage him when he already worked for such a grim airline!

enjoying the inflight reading material

It had cost £30 to get Hope to Ireland … so much for cheap fares and free travel for children … £20 infant charge and £10 to check in the car seat… I appreciate that on occasion, rare occasion, it is

asleep after the plane landed waiting for Granby’s wheelchair to arrive

possible to get cheap flights through Ryanair, but it is rare now and the faff, lack of humanity, respect and care for their customers just sucks … to fly Ryanair you need sharp pointy elbows, alot of patience and not to be very young or very old … or with someone very young or very old or disabled… they are not cared for and not looked after in the rush to board and deboard the plane and sell overpriced junk food.

The flight back was almost as bad … Dublin airport marginally less difficult than Stansted by dint of the lesser number of flights, but the 3 mile hike to the departure gate and then the chaos around getting wheelchair and pushchair, Granby and baby onto the plane having run across two bits of road and runway around planes following Granby in the pouring rain, was capped by having to get halfway down the plane (this after wheelchair assistance which means limited mobility being needed for mum) … it was rubbish and she was hurried along by a very surly hostess and then not allowed to sit on the aisle seat but made to twist (causing a huge amount of pain) to squeeze into the middle seat … the aisle seat ended up empty anyway so a totally unnecessary stress. Granby was also stopped from bringing the two fossils she’d found on the beach onto the plane incase she, “stove someone’s head in with them” … fair enough I guess but she really isn’t the type. Hope enjoyed the flight back and watched the rain falling down the windows, gazed out when we were above the clouds and turned around in wonder and then chatted happily as it landed.

Travelling with a small person is hard … you need thick skin and a big bag of, “excuse me” and “sorry” .. pushing a push chair and a luggage trolley is nigh on impossible due to the fact that most luggage trolleys have a mind of their own especially when topped off with a car seat… BUT .. it’s all an adventure I guess … I am, though, very much looking forward to a non Ryanair flight in the near future and going somewhere that will mean a stamp being put in Hope’s shiny new passport. My little jet set girl …

Safe and sound … unattended baggage in Ireland

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda permalink
    August 19, 2012 12:05 pm

    I share your loathing of Ryanair…..but have to shamefacedly confess that your post really made me laugh. Yes, I know it wasn’t funny and travelling with a baby at any time is stressfull….but the images you drew were……bloody funny. Sorry Ellie. You could put them in a sit-com!!! Hope you had a great time in Knock anyway.

    • August 19, 2012 10:31 pm

      thank you Linda … yes it was funny in hindsight or looking in from the outside … just not at the time although it did have a sense of the absurd about it all … thank you … and yes very happy time in Knock!

  2. August 19, 2012 8:15 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAg0lUYHHFc – says it all, can feel your pain but glad you could blog about it and share the lovely photos! At least you did it, well done lass.

    • August 19, 2012 10:30 pm

      love love love this clip and yes it does say it all … looking forward to a ‘proper’ flight somewhere with real hosties and complimentary drinks at some point soon xx thanks Chris

  3. Brenda L.W. permalink
    August 21, 2012 5:15 pm

    Wow. I *try* not to cuss, but Holy Crap! How ridiculous. I am so sorry you and your mom had to go through all of that! Now I know to avoid Ryanair if I ever am out your way. Btw, you have a ton more patience than I ever would 😉

  4. August 23, 2012 9:45 pm

    I always had removable foot items for mine, they could get very warm,.

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