Vacation From Hell

January 13, 2010

in Baby & Kid Stories

I’ve always wanted to visit Europe. So when a friend invited me to accompany her and her young daughter on an overseas trip I jumped at the chance.  A roundtrip ticket from Charleston to Zurich for $450… EXCELLENT! For that price I could even afford to take my 4 year old son. Well, my dream vacation turned into the vacation from hell.

Since we aren’t expert skiers, we left the Black Diamond runs to the experts. We decided the bunny slope was challenging enough… ski a little, trek over to the chalet for some hot chocolate and warm up by the fireplace. What could go wrong? Well… a slight twist of my son’s skis, a spiral tibia fracture and a three day hospital stay is what could go wrong.

By day 3 of his hospital stay he had become an expert with his Tiny Tim-like crutches and we had watched all of our DVDs multiple times… in English and Spanish (and we don’t even speak Spanish). We were ready to go home…

Let the fun begin…

The flight from Zurich to Atlanta was nearly full. Thankfully we had an empty seat next to us and my son was able to keep his leg stretched out (keep in mind he was in a full leg cast). As we prepared to depart all appropriate announcements were made….”your pilots and crew for this flight… blah, blah, blah… customer service flight attendant on board.” Good to know.

A short while into the flight the pilot turned on the seatbelt sign due to turbulence. As fate would have it, my son’s leg started to itch… and itch… and itch… Hesitantly I pressed the attendant call button. The flight attendant came over and, with more attitude than seemed necessary, informed me that the seatbelt sign was not just for passengers but also for the crew. I apologized but explained that I needed 4 or 5 coffee stirrers…” Four or 5 coffee stirrers?!? That’s a lot.” No kidding! I was on a mission and armed with my stash of Band-Aids was going to MacGyver something together to relieve his itchy leg! And yes, I know you aren’t supposed to put anything down a cast, but we were only an hour into this flight.

With his itching relieved, we settled in for the ride. Another hour or two passed and the seatbelt sign was still illuminated. I waited and waited until I could wait no more. I HAD to go to the bathroom before I became the subject of a story on for failing to control my bladder. I undid my seatbelt and made my way back the 8 or 10 rows to the bathroom. Ms. Personality glared and told me that the seatbelt sign was lit for a reason and that I needed to return to my seat. Yes, I understood, but I really couldn’t wait any longer. An eye roll and huff let me know just how displeased she was with me.

After returning to my seat I stewed and brewed and really became aggravated with this attendant’s attitude. Once the seatbelt sign was turned off I decided I would talk with the customer service flight attendant. I pressed the call button and a pleasant lady came over to talk with me. Unfortunately she wasn’t the customer service attendant but would be happy to get her. Who was it? None other than Ms. Personality… great! I am not one who likes conflict and I am typically very hesitant to complain, but I really felt like this woman left her customer service somewhere in Switzerland. So, as politely as possible, I explained to her why I was so aggravated.

She listened intently and then went about her business. A few minutes later she returned and thanked me for bringing it to her attention and apologized for her shortness. She even brought some Swiss chocolate to my son… Keep in mind – we weren’t even halfway through the flight yet. Her whole demeanor changed and she kept tabs on us throughout the remainder of the flight. We even had a lengthy discussion on the real estate market as she bought and rehabbed houses on the side.

Well, we finally made it to Atlanta. Seeing as I had two backpacks, x-rays and a 4 year old in a full leg cast, I decided to be the last one off the plane. His stroller was checked and would be waiting just outside the door. I told my son that I would be right back and headed off to drop the backpacks and set up his stroller. I told the crew at the front of the plane that I would be right back to carry him out.

After downloading our backpacks and x-rays and setting up his stroller, I turned around to go collect my son. As I prepared to step back on I was met with what can only be described as a defensive line that put the Raiders to shame. I was informed that I could not re-enter the plane due to FAA regulations. I was told cameras were recording and that not only the airline, but I too, could be subject to huge fines if I stepped foot on the plane. OK… well, this could be a problem as my 4 year old son is still in his seat. Would someone please get him for me? You can’t miss him… he has a yellow full leg cast! One of the pilots carried him out for me.

Our flight from hell should have ended there right?!? Not even remotely… Let’s move on to Customs shall we? As we are passing through Customs, the bottom of my son’s cast is swabbed and run through the machine which detects chemical compounds. HIT! Round 2: HIT! “Ma’am has your son been around any fertilizer, explosives, etc, etc…” Really, are you kidding me? I did take him to the airplane bathroom where his foot rested on the floor and God only knows what could have been on the floor. So, we were ushered into a separate room where I was asked to strip him down to his underwear. I am fuming at this point… Finally someone had the sense to swab inside of his cast and run through a different machine. The supervisor came into the room and apologized for “any inconvenience” and stated the original machine had issued false positives. Yes, yes it did…  Now please just let me get on my connecting flight and get home.

The connecting flight was completely uneventful and I have never been so happy to be home! It was all I could do not to kiss the ground when I arrived!

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

MJ January 13, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I really want to know how you "download" backpacks and x-rays.


GMMR January 14, 2010 at 3:15 am

Everyone knows that you put them in the stroller and push download on the handel.


chris January 14, 2010 at 4:12 am

Not a flight from hell. If you really think that what you've described here is a hassle, you should get out of the house more.


madachode January 14, 2010 at 5:02 am

yes why did you leave the plane to "download" your items? Sounds like the Swiss should have locked you up with Roman Polanski for being too stupid in public. Next time do yourself a favor and stay home, become a hoarder.


MadachodesMom January 14, 2010 at 7:12 am

I really must apologize for my son Madachode. He ate his acne cream again, and it always puts him in such a bad mood! Not to mention the poop! It just comes out of both ends of him. You'd think a 30 year old would know better. I tried to lock him in his basement room, but the smell just gets so bad, I have to let him out to fumigate for his fleas. I can't be in two places at once, so he gets at the computer while I'm busy with that.

What's that dear? More Cheezypoofs?


ps January 14, 2010 at 3:31 pm

but he didn't tell the poster to kill themselves. The Cheezypoofs must be working.


Aaron January 14, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Not a flight from hell. A tough haul to be sure, but not a flight from hell.


nyuu January 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I agree.

The customer service flight attendant tried to resolve the issue amicably and the rules, no matter how stupid they are, are meant to be enforced so the pilot brought your son out. *shrugs*

I’m more concerned about the customs procedure though. That sounds hellish.


Bob January 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm

I feel bad for the kid with the Tiny Tim crutches. I wonder how he's doing? Is there an address where we can send donations?


geezlouise January 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Why was a four year old skiing down dangerous hills? I don't care if it's not a black diamond. Obviously this kid wasn't ready for it


xxx April 5, 2013 at 5:33 pm

lol "the bunny hill" i see kids who are just starting walking ski that


Chiquita Chick January 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm

You poor dear. I’m sorry that your vacation turned out so badly. You deserve to receive the Mom of the Year award.


JoJo January 15, 2010 at 12:13 am

Guess you’ve never been skiing before geezlouise. She said they were on the bunny slopes, the most basic of slopes. I’ve seen 2 year olds on runs worse than that.


Big Betty January 17, 2010 at 4:42 am

What an awful experience you had. I hope your sons leg healed up nicely!


Ms. Personality March 11, 2010 at 11:35 am

Excuse me, but I belive you're the rude one. You made me do work.


GR March 15, 2010 at 9:29 am

Sorry about your son's injury. You were clearing security for your connecting flight. Customs wouldn't have checked the cast for traces of explosives. This was TSA not ICE.


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