Smokers + Child On Lap + Long Flight = Total Wreckage

January 6, 2010

in Baby & Kid Stories

I can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t funny at the time.

Several years back, while in the Navy stationed in Japan, my wife, my nearly 2 year old daughter and I, flew home to Providence RI for vacation. To save money, we elected to hold my daughter in our lap, instead of paying for a (very expensive) third seat.

The flight to the states was great. A half empty 747 gave us plenty of room to stretch out, and most importantly, room for the little girl to lay down and sleep. The flight to the east coast was non-stop, and we had a wonderful time visiting friends and family.

However, the trip back to Japan was a different story.

First of all, after leaving PVD, our plane was delayed in Chicago for 2 hours due to weather. So what was supposed to be a 6 hour flight to San Francisco where we were to catch our connecting flight to Osaka (which we arrived just in time for), became 8 hours.

But the trans oceanic flight to Japan is the real story. To begin with, the plane was was packed. Every seat on the United 747 was filled, mostly with Japanese nationals. I’m not sure if it has changed, but at the time, smoking was allowed on longer overseas flights. And it seemed that every one of the 350 Japanese passengers lit up, as soon as we took off.

So there we were. My wife, myself, and my already tired and very, very, cranky daughter in our lap, for the next 13 hours. For the entire duration of the flight, we alternated between fits of exhausted crying (her, not us, although we wanted to), and following her up and down the (smoky) aisles.

Needless to say, all three of us were total wrecks by the time we landed. And then, we still had a 5 hour bullet train ride to our final destination of Iwakuni. (My daughter finally crashed on the train.)

For those keeping score, we were up for a total of 27 hours. The lesson learned was: For anyone contemplating such a long flight with an infant or toddler, do yourself a favor, and spring for the extra seat. You’ll not regret it.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

luxpink January 7, 2010 at 6:56 am

honestly, i think people should not be allowed to hold kids and not pay for a seat for them. its not fair if the strangers next to you get crowded in due to a kid on the lap of someone you may have to wake up to get past to use the restroom. and i have flown to and from japan. from new orleans to japan. and one of those trips, i had a small dog in a carrier in the cabin. so i know how miserable that long flight is. i cannot imagine anyone wanting to do that with a 2 year old toddler on their lap! insane! what were you thinking? oh, save some money, but be miserable and make the kid miserable? and possibly other passengers?

i'll pass!


ps January 7, 2010 at 8:25 am

Well, first of all, a serviceman trying to fly himself amd family across the pacific and then ride on a shinkansen is a pretty expensive proposition. Weigh military pay vs ticket prices. Also timing it right you can get a half empty plane. I think our poster learned his lesson but I also understand him trying to get back the cheapest way possible.


Kad January 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm

"The lesson learned was: For anyone contemplating such a long flight with an infant or toddler, do yourself a favor, and spring for the extra seat. You’ll not regret it."

The OP seems to have realized it was a mistake. If we all did things right the first time, life would be very boring.


Africans February 2, 2010 at 11:06 pm

27 hours okay thats quiet long.

But try travelling from shenzhen to the UK 35.5 hours man beat that.

Shenzhen ( China) 1 hour to hong kong

hong kong delayed 1 hour

hong kong to Bangkok 3.5 hours

Delay hours 1

Bangkok to Bahrain 7 and a half hours

5 hours delay/change in bahrain

Bahrain to London 13 hours

London Heathrow to Nottingham 4 hour

Its a miracle we made it, and just because of the stupid Taiwan local airline


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