Well, I’m here. I’m actually here. Almost two months, 6 planes, 14,000+ miles of travel later, I’m home. I would have never dreamed of how amazing, adventurous, and spontaneous this summer could be. And I certainly would not have dreamed it would have ended in such a dreadful and unpleasant way. If you’ve been following along on instagram or twitter, you know: I’ve been in airport terminal hell. What was supposed to be a nice two day layover in California, to make the end of my vacation easier, actually turned out to be the most difficult part to this whole trip. Well, wait, let me clarify: California with Nicolle and family was AMAZING… unfortunately, thanks to American Airlines, what was supposed to be a quick 5 hour flight home: was not easy, but in fact, the most trying experience of this whole summer. 
I’m not sure where to even begin. Much of the last 48 hours (well, the whole summer, yah?) has been like a movie, a really crazy movie. In all honestly, I never really stopped to think, how out of the norm it might be for me to travel, by myself, with a toddler: up, across, and back across the country (and lets not forget across the pacific too). I just did it. If you want to get somewhere, you just do it… with help, without help, without sleep, with whatever it takes, right? Yep. Only recently, when people have stopped to tell me how “brave” I am, have I really stopped and thought of how others might perceive this crazy adventure I’ve been on. Sure, I guess it is a little crazy… but only good crazy… and a wonderful opportunity that I’ve been nothing but thankful for 😉
The last few days of my adventure, was spent in California, with me repeating: I’m getting out for a few hours, I’m not over-doing it, and I’m not stressing. As long as I show up, looking good, feeling delighted, and with a few loaves of bread: I’m happy. Well, I accomplished some of that. I had a great, and easy time in California. And eventually: I made it to Miami… with bread. Did I look good? I wore and slept in the same outfit for two days, un-showered, stained in Marlowe’s pee. Did I feel happy? Hell yeah I did, only because my flight from hell was over. I literally cried tears of joy: at landing, and to see a familiar smiling face walk through the door of baggage claim.

It’s safe to say this might be the longest post I’ve ever written. Who would have thought a semi-detailed account about a travel nightmare would rank highest on *longest post ever*? I can’t make it shorter. I can’t even try to make it shorter, my brain is still re-charging from the nightmare and in overdrive thinking about all the things that are happening back home. If you’d like to read our story… it’s behind the cut… if not, I don’t blame you, just know: we’re home and both of us are oh so happy to be home.

So what happened in-between? I had an easy day on sunday. Marlowe slept in a bit. You could see the time change and the exhaustion of travel was starting to wear on both of us. Luckily: Packing was done. Extra boxes of heavy things were packed and ready to be shipped. Bottles, diapers, coloring books, movies, tons of snacks were prepared. I was showered, dressed, and ready for the last leg of a long journey. We headed out the door at 1 pm. Arrived in San Francisco, grabbed a quick bite to eat, tried to make one last stop, but failed, and headed to the airport. At 5pm, Sunday, we arrived at the San Francisco airport. Marlowe was a mess, screaming, not wanting to be held, but luckily, I had the help of Nicolle with my bags, carseat, and child. We both knew something wasn’t right, making worried glances back and forth to each other. I assumed it was just anxiety from knowing there was only one jump left until I arrived home. I found myself in the wrong terminal, then found my way to the correct terminal, only to find the longest line ever for check in/baggage drop off. (EVER). An hour later: I had my ticket in hand, gave a hug to Nicolle, assured her I would be fine, and headed to the security check. Marlowe was tired, but alive. She was happy, only as long as I could let her run. I, on the other hand, was just exhausted, having the time change lead me to bed at 4 am, the night before. I was very much looking forward to climbing into my seat and attempting sleep.
I arrived at the gate and found an American Airlines crew member to see if the ticket I was holding was for a middle seat, and if so, if it would be possible to A. move me to a spot with an empty seat next to it, or B. move me to an isle or window. But no, she told me: there was nothing she could do for me. Oh, thank you and hello middle seat assignment to the only mother traveling with a child on her lap on an overnight flight. (I did book a seat online, they didn’t end up reserving it). I said okay, thanked her, and walked away. An hour or so later, it was time to board. The plane was packed, completely full. The flight the night before had been canceled, and many of the passengers were reassigned to our flight. Every traveler boarded the plane. Each one of us, with our bags stowed away, or seat belts buckled… ready to leave, and needing sleep. We pulled away form the gate, only to hear an announcement a minute or so later that we would need to turn around. The same problem that had happened the night before? It was happening again. One would think… if you had the problem the night before, took the plane off schedule, for repairs, that you would be doubly cautious to send it back out, right? Wrong. We waited, in our seats for maintenance. We were told that we wouldn’t be taking off, and another plane would arrive at 11:40 pm for us to board, but it was set up exactly the same as the one we were on. We would have the same seats, same tickets, everything. We wait, as every single passenger exits the plane. We wait some more, in the terminal, for hours.
At this point: my child is tired, very tired. She’s blown through much of her milk reserves and all of her diapers. Her pants? Wet with pee. I take her to the bathroom, disrobe her, and use the hand dryer to dry her pants. I leave the bathroom to see a group of American Airlines crew members together, sitting and conversing. I ask them if they could help me… if they knew of any place I could find diapers, since the diaper dispenser in the bathroom was broken. They shrug. They literally just shrugged at me. I ask: “No idea? at all? A store?” “No, sorry” shrug. I ask Marlowe to continue walking. I attempt to pick her up. She refuses “NO, walk”. I tell her “Okay, you can walk, but you have to actually walk, if you don’t its fine, but I will carry you”. “No! Walk!” she takes a few steps, and lays down on the floor. She’s done. And so am I. We go in every store in search for diapers: there are none. Nicolle asks: “Would you like me to pick you up? Do you want me to bring you diapers?” “No, you live 45 minutes away. Thank you, really: thank you. I’ll figure it out”. Eventually, I find a working diaper dispenser, take the last 5$ cash I have, ask for change, and gain 2 one size fits all diapers.
After many hours of trying to find diapers with an over-exhausted toddler, we’re asked to the board the plane, just one gate over. Every single person boards the plane. Every single person stores away their luggage. Every single person sits down, and fastens their belts. We pull away from the gate for the second time… and of course: the same problem? It’s back. And I’m confused. Isn’t this a new plane that we were waiting for, to come in? Or is this the same plane that we were all forced to board again? Either way: I am not pleased and I am exhausted. Tears begin to fill in my eyes. It is now 7 hours after I have arrived at the airport. I’m angry. I’m really angry. I have questions, such as, the most basic commonsensical question: why wouldn’t they be more considerate of all their passengers? It is now one in the morning and we have been forced to board TWO broken planes. I understand, a plane is a machine, and sometimes machines have problems. But I do not understand: not taking the time to do everything possible to ensure that your passengers are not put in danger on the same broken plane, and made to be inconvenienced at the latest hours of the night. We sit. And we all wait. The woman next to me is refreshing her phone. 30 minute delay. 1 hour delay. Arrival time: 8 am. Arrival time: 9 am. The woman next to me: “I don’t think I’m going to make my connecting my flight.” I assure her, it’s possible, she still might be able to. She tells me “I’m supposed to be flying back to Jamaica. I’m going to miss my sisters funeral” I have no words. I tell her I’m sorry and that she still might make it. Arrival time: 1 pm. Arrival time: 7 pm. WHAT. 7 pm? She won’t make it, and I have no words. Over the loud speaker, we are told, that again, we would be making our way back to the gate, to exit the plane once again. Tears fill my eyes. Hours in the airport, on the plane, in the airport again, and on the plane again, I’m done. I’m exhausted, confused, my legs are are numb, my back feels broken, my white flag is up. One by one, we collect our bags again, and exit the plane. I see two lines forming. I ask what is going on, a group of women tell me they are re-booking tickets, so everyone must wait in line. Marlowe wants to be picked up, put down, wants to run, she has passed the point of delirium. I cry. I break down and cry. All I want is to get my kid, and myself: home. I want this wonderful journey to come to an end. I want to find my bed. I want a hug. I want to put down my belongs, release my back, and relax. The women in front of me tell me to go to the front of the line. I try to tell them “I’m fine. I don’t need to. I can wait in line” Again they tell me: “GO. You have a child. She needs to sleep, you need to sleep, please go” Again, I try to tell them “I’m fine” but instead, of words, there are only tears. I’m falling apart. I nod, attempt a very grateful thank you, and walk forward. I can’t bring myself to the front of the line. I feel guilt for trying to step in front of everyone. They have been waiting too. Traveling too. Inconvenienced too. I stand near the front, unable to go forward. A woman grabs my arm and pushes me to the front. She tells the woman at the front desk “please help her. please. She has a baby that needs to sleep. She shouldn’t be here.” The American Airline worker, puts her hand up, and yells back “I’m helping someone else. You will have to wait your turn”. The stranger responds “I understand, thats fine, but  will you please help her when you get a chance?!” the crew member, again: “I’m helping somebody else”. Fine. I stand there. She finishes and calls “next”. Everyone looks to me, and pushes me to go ahead. The American Airline employee tells me the next flight available for me will be at 1 pm (21 hours after my original flight). I know there is a flight at 6 am. and at 11 am. but I say “okay.” to the flight offered 10 hours, from then. I take the 1 pm. I ask her… “and my luggage?” She says: “it will get there before you do”. I ask: “and my carseat?” She asks: “Well, what did you do with it?” I tell her I checked it. She says: “then it’s with your luggage.” I want to scream: so the only way I’m going anywhere is to find someone to pick me up with a carseat?? I say nothing. I walk away. Nicolle keeps calling to check on me. I retire from my stubborn waiting and tell her “Okay, please come pick me up now”. Before I get a chance to do anything, she tells she she is en route. Marlowe climbs, jumps, counts, and plays. I try to get a hold of Alex (our ride home) and wait. I hear the complaints of everyone around me. Theres no food. No water. An entire soccer team is starving, laying on the floor, and their coach can’t find food. There is nothing open. And American Airlines offers us: NOTHING. We are told our only for option is Subway, in another terminal. But there’s a catch, if we choose this option: we will have to go through security again. But it gets worse: Security doesn’t open until 6 am. If we choose to get food, we must leave, and not be allowed to re-enter until morning, when the airport begins to fill up again. Sleep? Not an option. What about the food on the plane? Does that not exist? Water? Anything? No. We have no options. We are offered nothing, not even an apology. Rude? An understatement.
Let’s look at this from another point of view, shall we? what about the American Airline crew member? Awake, having to deal with passenger after passenger? I am certain: their job is hard. But: it is their job. No matter how tired I am, how stressed am I, how difficult life is from dealing with unnecessary bullshit: I smile at my job, or at the very least: I am considerate with strangers. Maybe it is not in my power to hand out free things to people, but I ask. I always ask. What can we do? This person is unhappy, what can we do? 9 hours, waiting in an airport… what can we do? Water shouldn’t be a question. Part of me feels even guilty about blogging about this. First world problems, right? Right, it is. We all survived and are back to our normal lives… but my god, no matter how rich or poor we are, how much or little we have… consideration and kindness? It’s free. It’s something we should all have and should all give.
Nicolle arrives. I pick up Marlowe and attempt to put her in the carrier. She screams and cries. All eyes on me. Sympathy eyes. A mom, with a small child, half her size, palms and fists to the face, bruises on thighs. I use all my force, to try to strap her in, there is no other way we will make it to the front. A stranger, walks up, and offers to help buckle her in. I say thank you. We make our way through the terminal. Her: upside down, held tilted back, screaming. Me: tears flowing down face, step by step saying “Almost. We’re almost there. You can sleep soon”. I step outside into the cool San Francisco air. Nicolle helps me put my bags down, and strap Marlowe into her daughters carseat. We leave. As we accelerate onto the on-ramp, we hear a thud. And I want to cry: “My phone. I left my phone on the roof of the car.” she pulls over. I’m unsure of what to do. Marlowe’s tears are turning into sleep. And my mind is starting to feel like everything is a dream. Cars pass, I wait, then make my way back, in the darkness, but I see nothing. I run back to the car and say “what do I do. What do I ***king do?” Nicolle tells me “I don’t know. I can’t reverse. I don’t know.” I tell her to pull over even more, and not to move back. Just wait. Another car passes, and I run. For the first time in years: I RUN. I’m looking for any glimpse of my phone. I see an object in my distance, and another car heading my way. I feel crazy. I feel like I’m in a movie, and I run faster. I find my phone in the middle of the road, not broken (thank you, otter box), and run back. I make it to the side lines, just before the car passes. I step into the parked car, and there are no sounds other than my deep breaths. We head south. Surreal. Everything is surreal.
I lay Marlowe down on the guest bed, fully clothed, very much asleep. I brush my teeth, put things away, and climb into bed. I wake up in an hour, to look at my phone. Alex hasn’t called yet. He hasn’t texted. I’m nervous his phone died and he’s headed the the airport. I call. Nothing. I fall asleep for another thirty minutes, I call. He answers, he says he’s on the road to the airport. I tell him, I’ll be home at 9 pm and ask to please have something to eat for Marlowe and I. It’s already time to climb out of bed, re-pack my diaper bag and Marlowe’s food. I wake up Marlowe, and attempt to feed her, but she is too tired. I place her in the carseat. And Nicolle drives us back, again. She tells me: “I knew something was wrong. I normally don’t wait for people at the airport, but when you left, through security, I knew something was wrong.” I tell her, I felt it too. She drops me off. I strap a mostly asleep baby into the ergo, I give Nicolle the biggest hug ever, and make my way through security.
My face is pale, my stomach is turning, and my eyes are bloodshot. I wait in line. I feel like I’m losing my mind and all I want is go to home. We go through the scanner, I go to collect my bags and panic. I feel like I can’t find what I need, but it’s right in front of me. I tell people, I’m sorry, I’m tired. I was here 15 hours ago. Our terminal is packed. I run into familiar faces, stunned, that we have not left. I tell them “our flight is soon”. I go up to the front and ask about my ticket, to see if there is a better option, if they can help in anyway. Or give us a window seat? Nothing. Marlowe needs to lay down. She gives up, in the middle of a walkway, near the front desk, I sit down, and she lays her head on my thigh, crying for a bottle. I cry too. A man offers us his chair, I tell him, “Thank you, my child needs to lay down.” The crew members occasionally glance over, say nothing. Different crew members and pilots are asking if they can catch this flight, they want to board too, they are vacationing to Machu Picchu. They are given seats. One person after another, head to the front desk to see if they can get on a stand by list. An older couple, asking if there is a way that they can get on the same plane, to the same place. The crew members respond: maybe. Another delay. 50 minutes. Eventually: an announcement: it would be time to board. The soccer team would be boarding first. I pick up Marlowe and tell her “We are getting on the plane” The soccer team boards, and I ask “Can I PLEASE, get on the plane now?”I ‘m told to get to get the back of the other line. I do. I arrive at the front and they tell me to step aside, because no one ever re-entered my daughter into the computer. They begin to fill out the information. The man, in the front of the line, waiting for a stand by seat says “Please, give her a seat, They need it more than anyone”. The information is typed in, and we are magically offered a different seat, a window seat. A booked flight, with 20 plus people on standby, *magically* had a window seat open up.
We board. I apologize and explain to the man next to us, she is tired, but will sleep soon. We wait. A more than obnoxious, inconsiderate pilot, comes on the loud speaker. Offers no sympathy to the people who have been waiting all day, night, and previous day. He tells us it will be a short flight, and he hopes to see us all again soon, on American Airlines. Everyone around me scoffs. What a joke. I’m happy to hear I am not the only one thinking “This is the worst service I have EVER gotten from an airline. I will NEVER fly American Airlines again.” Another delay. Another 40 minutes go by. I have no idea what time it is at this point. Marlowe doses off, in my arms. I confirm with Alex, our flight will arrive at 10:30 pm. We FINALLY, begin to take off, Marlowe wakes up, and stays awake for the entire trip, until the last hour. Lucky for me, she is exhausted, delirious, and easy.
A five hour plane ride, doesn’t seem so bad anymore. It was easy compared to everything else we had to deal with in that 48 hour time period. I even dosed off for thirty minutes, with Marlowe watching a movie on my lap. The hardest thing was Marlowe asking to eat. We had dry cereal and peanut butter sandwiches, but she was tired of them. Almost two days with no real meal and she really didn’t want filler snacks and meals anymore. The saving grace of the whole trip was seeing the moon in the sky. Every flight we took, I told Marlowe we would go up up up and visit the moon in the sky. Only a few times, could we see a small moon in the distance. This trip, the moon on the sunset was perfect. The perfect sliver of a moon on wall of reds, purples, and setting blues. It was a perfect moment for me, to open the shade and yell out to Marlowe “Look, the moon! It’s here! We made it!” I got emotional to see the Miami lights growing closer and closer. I cried upon landing. I was so incredibly happy to be safe and to be home.
I took a few minutes to gather my things. I knew Alex hadn’t arrived yet, and other people were in a much bigger rush to catch connecting flights. With one bag in each arm, a baby-carrier under another, and Marlowe being held in-between, I made my way off the plane. When stepping into the airport, I was walking side by side with an American Airlines crew member, one that I had seen and asked questions to, many times. He looks at me, smiles, and says “Oops! Be careful, your shoe is untied!” I look at him and respond: “I am aware, thank you, but my arms are a little tied up right now, so I don’t have an option to fix it.” A kind older woman in front of me, stops, turns around, and asks, “would you like me to tie your shoe?” I feel bad to have her do it for me, but I say “thank you so much, really thank you”. She double-knots it, and we continue walking.
You hear a lot of negative things about the airline industry in general, but honestly, every flight I had went on this summer was wonderful. Yes, wonderful. I traveled with a toddler, alone, across the country, and it was wonderful. I don’t have complaints, not even one, about any of the airlines we used.  But American Airlines? I have MANY. Too many. I will never again, travel with such a horrible and inconsiderate company. American Airlines should be ashamed of themselves for their horrible service and inconsiderate and rude attitudes. And not just to me, god no: to every one of their customers… to the elderly couple asking to place be able to board a plane together, to a woman who faced anxiety while flying who wanted to sit near her husband to hold her hand, to the woman who would be missing her sisters funeral, and to anyone who they inconvenienced (aka: everyone). As I already posted to American Airlines automated twitter response they gave me: complain about a rough travel day? Try 21 hours alone in an airport with a toddler. Thank you for your rude and inconsiderate service. I will never use American Airlines again.

Crap, I’m glad to be home. I have to give some credit to Alex, he really made it easier for us. A bottle and toys for Marlowe, my favorite pizza and kombucha drink for me, a fridge full of all of my regular items, plus some extra goodies that he knows I love, and help to get a very off-schedule baby to sleep. Marlowe could not have been happier to walk through the door of our house and play. “Mama play. Dada bubbles”. Delirious smiles all over the place. She is so happy to be here and so am I. I’ve said it so many times, but this summer has been really great. I’ve met some amazing women and their families, I watched my daughter grow into a whole new little person I saw and adventured to many new places, I had up time and relaxing time… and I did it all with my little kid by my side. I thought travel would be out of the question, once I had Marlowe… that I would never be able to pick up, explore, and go, but here, I am: back from one of the best and unexpected summers I could have dreamed of. This flight experience from hell almost *almost* made me stop believing in the magic of all the good things around me… like I had a short-hold on magic, and it decided to leave… but within 24 hours of being home, I know: that all the good: it’s still happening. It’s everywhere. You just gotta keep opening your arms to it, and make things happen. 

58 Comments

  1. Oh my thanks for sharing this post, I'll never travel with AA. I truly hope you'll never have to experience this again.

  2. I had an incredibly horrible experience with American Airlines with my 4 month old daughter trying to make our way from so. Cal to Illinois. I won't get into the details because I don't want to relive that flight, the companies ridiculous incompetence and insulting ways of dealing with problems they have caused(though it's hard not to get flashbacks as I type this of a crew of terribly rude b*tch flight attendants and the baby poop covered mess resulting)Let's just say the only thing that makes me feel better about it is the fact that I was so upset I left the blow out diapers and mess covered items resulting, on a magazine in the pocket under said horrible flight attendants seat in the back of the plane.

  3. We recently had a similar experience with American Airlines as well. We waited almost ten hours for a plane that wasn't "broken" in some way. We sat on a plane for two hours before they told us that we needed to get on another one (that was still in flight, an hour away).Then something was wrong with that plane so we had to wait until they found us another one. BS. They were also incredibly rude to us as Henry was freaking out from exhaustion and hunger. They gave us "10% off!!" to make up for it. 10% off! Big whoop, right. Worst airline EVER, hands down.

  4. Oh God, I'm so sorry. I had a rough experience with American Airlines earlier this year, but it was nothing compared to yours. I always thought United was the worst of them all, but AA has officially won. I'm glad your home, and hopefully, the next time you fly won't be as hard.

  5. i cried reading this post… I travel a lot with my toddler so I can relate that being stuck in the airport with a toddler is so difficult and tiring. I can only imagine the things you go through if it was me I would have cried the same too. I admire your bravery and the people around you that time who are considerate and helpful.

  6. I'm sure there are a TON of messages on this already but I will NEVER fly American Airlines either! This was pre-toddler (reading your literally made ME cry and I was only reading what happened….I can't even imagine what you were feeling) – we were going on a trip from MA to CA and they had us on a plane for 3 hours, TWICE, boarding, moving, stopping, getting off and doing it again and again. We only had to spend about 15 hours in the airport before finally taking off BUT THE SAME EFFING THING about the airline- TERRIBLE, MEAN, RUDE, no pity on their passengers, no excuses, just WHATEVER. HATE THAT AIRLINE MORE THAN ANYTHING.

  7. Just flew American from France and it was the most ridiculous experience I've ever had on a plane. The plane itself was horribly outdated and old (great for a 10+ hour plane ride), for some reason, it took us an extra hour to get to Dallas and as I walked up the ramp to get to customs, I was informed that they had booked me on a different connecting flight to San Francisco that wouldn't leave for six hours. WHY.

    Thank god it was just cranky me alone, I cannot imagine what you went through. Regardless of the shitty customer service, it was nice to see that everyday travelers were willing to help you.

  8. I wanted to cry just reading this….and even though you were livid with how they were treating people, it seems like YOU still treated them with compassion and understanding. Kudos to you! Glad you and Marlowe are home safe and sound. This story alone will keep me from every flying American Airlines!

  9. Oh my gosh what a nightmare!! As a mom I can totally imagine completely falling apart if this happened! Glad you guys are home! I too had an awful experience with AA… an 8 hour flight back from Japan and a HUGE man was literally falling over on me asleep the entire trip. They were rude and sympathetic and did nothing to help when I repeatedly asked. He was so huge I couldn't even get my tray down to put my water on! (I know, more first world problems)

  10. I am sooo sooo sooo sorry. Im giving you a big huge hug from here. I cant believe how awful american airlines were to you. How could they be so awful!!
    Im so glad you guys are home safe. =)

  11. I have no words. I was reading that with my mouth wide open and my mind full of "are you freaking serious??" type questions. I can't believe the airline did so little for you all. Un-bloody-believable!

    Well done for getting through it, both of you. And *hugs*.

    Kim

  12. Oh Drea, you are amazing. Our daughters are the same age. And I think I would have lost it and just stayed in SF forever. I really don't know that I could have handled that as well as you did. Thank god the other passengers were sympathetic to how hard it was for you, at the very least you had that. I'm so glad you are finally home and happy. I live in SF and so close to the airport – we've never met but I've been a follower of your blog for so long that I feel like I know you and Marlowe. I wish I knew about your struggles, I would've been there in a flash to help anyway I could. I'm guessing next time you go anywhere you'll be doing a good ole fashion road trip! xoxo

  13. Wow! I am sorry you had to go through all of that–but I guess that's the thing; you didn't have to, but they put you through it. Geez. I had a kind of similar experience last fall with a different airline. I was supposed to present a paper at a conference. I was leaving my son for the first time overnight (with his grandparents). When I got to the airport, something felt wrong. I figured it was probably just that I was leaving my son. But I kind of felt like I was on Lost having flashbacks before the plane crashed. Something crazy like that. Anyway, our flight was canceled due to radio problems and there were no other flight options at the whole airport. I took it as a sign and got back to my baby. I completely missed the conference, but I.did.not.care.at.all. I hope that American Airlines hears about all the pain they put you through and tries to make it right! At least it gives you some hope in humanity because it seems like most of the other passengers were nice to you?

  14. Hi ! I am a reader from Vancouver ,BC.

    I absolutely cried like a child reading this. As a mother I felt every set back that you had to take.Anyone in your situation would have had an absolute meltdown,.I am so sorry for you and your daughter-I hope AA will compensate you in any way they can(bunch of a-holes in my opinion 😉

    Take care

  15. I also despise American Airlines!!!! I was traveling to LA my then 2 month old. We missed the slot of checking our bags by TWO MINUTES and they didn't have the decency to let us slide when I know for a fact they could've (my brother-in-law travels for work and they've done it for him multiple times since he is a gold member or whatever you call it). So i a stuck at the airport for 8 EXTRA HOURS with a newborn and we had to pay an additional $200 to change our flight. I was waiting at our terminal watching my previous flight board. Bastards! They suck, I'm sorry you had to go through that, it sounded like a nightmare.

  16. Drea! I'm an anonymous devotee, but I had to speak up on this one! I wish I had known youd have to deal with AA out of San Francisco, I (and I'm sure many others) would've warned you. I had hellish after hellish experience flying AA out of SF for years (sf to boston and back anout once a month my entire life) before quitting them completely. I swear they screen their employees to find the least compassionate, least empathetic humans on earth. I remember getting shut out of a connecting flight from Philly with my parents when I was little and them both being so fed up (with two kids under 5, carseats and luggage, how could they not be?) that they rented a car and drove us home. I feel your pain, but if you lived through that, there's absolutely nothing you cannot do. You're supermom! I'm not sure if Virgin flies out of Florida, but if they do, I will plug them shamelessly to you: they are always on time, kind, and moms with kids board first no matter what! 🙂

  17. I had a sort-of similar but not nearly as bad situation when I flew to San Fransicso on an American Airlines flight a few years ago. Worst service, worst flight I have ever been on. Never flying with them again. Glad you're home safe!

  18. WOW that was really an adventure…is good to know you are fine and finally home.
    My husband used to work in AA (mechanic) and now he dont even want me to fly on them, "please any airline but AA, they are cheap" and the cheapness shows when they cant offer a meal or a bottle of water to the passangers without charging.
    But I also believe is the people in the company who are really to blame, the quality of persons of the pilots, flight attendants and at the service counter.

  19. I love you Drea. My heart goes out to you (and Marlowe) and all those around you in the past couple days. Thank you for taking the time to post this story. It was the right thing to do. I hope y'all have a great week back. I hope y'all get the chance to relax. Enjoy that little girl and give her a hug for me!
    <3xojo

  20. Terrible! Long though it may have been, I read this whole thing and ached for you. I've had similarly bad airline/airport experiences, enough so that it really mars what was an otherwise terrific trip. It's enough to make a staycation sound better than the most luxe destination. Hope you get plenty of rest this week!!

  21. oh my goodness drea! I saw that picture of Marlowe on Instagram and asked you whether it was a tantrum or sleeping kinda deal going on. I had no idea what a godawful nightmare you were trapped in the middle of! I can't even imagine how draining and stressful that whole episode must have been. Thank god you're home and I bet it is such a relief to be back in your own little space with your regular routine. Phew! xo

    • That was def. my white flag photo. We both just gave up. It's simply incredibly to be home and have that over and done with.

  22. i hate american airlines. i can't read this whole post right now cause i have a hangover and i'm in portugal. when i get back, when we get together, we will exchange hatred aa stories. over wine. lots of wine. glad you are both home safe. xo

  23. You described everything so perfectly through this post it was almost like I was living the horrible experience for myself. I can't even imagine how you kept it together. The diaper situation alone … I probably would've been arrested a few times for the things I would've said to the airline.

    I will definitely put AA on my short list of airlines not to do business with. (Continental is on my $#*$ list for extremely similar reasons.)

    If you ever are in a bad airline situation again, I do have a trick: Call the airline directly (don't talk to the rude employees at the gate). Strangely, airline customer service is better over the phone than it is face-to-face. Just refuse to get off the line till they fix your problem. It worked in my Continental situation, but that was after 16 hours of BS over Christmas (yes, we missed the holiday with our family).

  24. Oh my goodness it's probably just my own pregnancy hormones but I actually got teary eyed reading parts of this. I have been on rather a lot of planes but have never experienced anything like this before, how awful for the both of you. The strangest flight I ever had was a Lufthansa one from Berlin to London where the staff were all completely drunk. We were sitting at the back and at one point I saw (from behind the curtain) that one of the stewardesses was on her hands and knees with the seat belt they use for demonstrations around here neck and her colleague was was walking her along like a dog. I actually couldn't believe my eyes! They were extremely rude to everybody too.

    • omg. This made me laugh out loud. It can't be real! That is probably the craziest story I have yet to hear!

  25. what an absolute nightmare! so glad you are home & it's all over. the other travellers sound like they were really nice & thoughtful though, thankfully! they should be offering compensation! the thought that someone didn't make their sisters funeral is horrible, not to mention all the other people you mentioned, & yourself. 🙁 it was far more than just an inconvenience!

    • YES. SO thankful to everyone else on the plane. They were all very sweet. Even the ones who didn't do anything physical to help, were supportive. Many of them even just offering kind words, it meant A LOT.

  26. What a nightmare. I highly recommend Southwest; I only fly with them! And they have EXCELLENT customer service.

  27. How horrid. I cried the entire time I was reading that. At least the other travellers were compassionate. I'm glad you made it home safely … in the end.

    • Yes! I was meant to write that. American Airlines: An awful company with the most empathetic customers.

  28. Wow! All I can say is wow! What an awful experience to go through by yourself! It definitely feels like ancient history after the fact. Just glad it's over for you and you're home! I will definitely steer clear of american airlines. Yikes!

    Theresa
    http://bomamma.blogspot.com

    • Exactly, now its in the past, we're happy to be home, they can screw themselves and so on. I'm just happy to get the word (the very long word) out to warn other travels!

  29. Plane issues are the worst! I once waited 6 hours to board a plane, it turned around 3 hrs mid flight due to "compression", waited another 3-4 hours, got on another plane, arrived in another country to find out a)i missed my connecting flight with another carrier b)despite what flight attendants told me, I would NOT be offered another and c) I could not get a hotel. I was stranded in another country with little money and nowhere to go. LOL! That was Virgin Atlantic, I suggest not flying with them either. They were SO MEAN!!! Airline people are just M-E-A-N.

  30. Plane issues are the worst! I once waited 6 hours to board a plane, it turned around 3 hrs mid flight due to "compression", waited another 3-4 hours, got on another plane, arrived in another country to find out a)i missed my connecting flight with another carrier b)despite what flight attendants told me, I would NOT be offered a connecting flight for my troubles and c) I could not get a hotel. I was stranded in another country with little money and nowhere to go. LOL! That was Virgin Atlantic, I suggest not flying with them either. They were SO MEAN!!! Airline people are just M-E-A-N.

    • hat was another thing! Sometimes airlines do offer hotels for people forced to stay overnight, sometimes it's just not an option, and I get that… but some compassion, and maybe water or a meal? I really can't understand. I've never flown Virgin Atlantic, I'm not sure, but I don't think they do east coast travel?

  31. That is so horrible and I am SO glad you made it through okay. I, too, had a horrible experience with American Airlines and will never book flights with them again. Mine was caused by a delay as well which had me sleeping in a freezing airport overnight and missing my connecting flight. Worst experience ever. It's so sad you had to go through this to learn that lesson, but now you know! You are so strong I can't even imagine being in your position. Thank goodness you made it home finally.

  32. I am so glad you made it back in one piece (well two pieces)! I saw all of your pictures on instagram as you were going through it, but reading it here I was almost in tears with you. You're not crazy, just a mom trying to do the best thing for your child. And who doesn't want to go to Hawaii? My heart goes out to you both!

  33. I'll never fly American again either. So sorry for your ordeal. Glad you're home

  34. I'll never fly American again either. So sorry, and glad you're finally home.

  35. Oh Drea! That is awful! I am so glad y'all are home safe and sound now. I don't understand it either when people aren't doing their job. Why do that job if you aren't really going to do it! I can't believe they didn't offer y'all anything!!!!! I think this experience requires a hand written letter to AA! I tend to believe a hand written letter really lets them know you mean business!

  36. So I fly a lot now that I live in IL. And I fly for work now too. I always choose the cheapest flight. I'm heading to SF in Nov and after reading this is quickly went to check which airline I booked. Not AA. What a relief. Also very glad to hear you're home.

    • GOOD!
      San Fran: Ikes place. Do it. Also, there is the absolute cutest kitchen store on the opposite corner from Tartine, go there. Buy everything.

    • It would have been easier with someone else for sure. It didn't bother me that much that I was alone. Honestly, I hardly thought about it. I just felt so bad for everyone. On and off those goddamn planes like cattle. And the woman next to me? Missing the funeral? Ugh. I wanted to cry.

  37. Oh my gosh. We had a very similar experience when we flew to NYC. NIGHTMARE

    So glad you are back home, all snug. I know you are too. Poor Marlowe. Poor Mama.

  38. Woah. I cannot believe that happened to you both. So sorry to hear about it. I hope you give them a piece of your mind or two.

    Hugs to you both! You inspire me to know that travelling is possible after you have children and the joy of experiencing new things with your little one.

  39. Woah. I cannot believe how awful the airline was to you and to the situation they put their customers in. I hope you call and give them a piece of your mind or two.

    Glad to hear that you are and Marlowe are back safe and sound. You give me hope that when we have our baby, we can still travel and visit and experience.

    Hugs to you both!

    • They were so shitty to everyone. I was up by the front desk, much of the time chasing Marlowe and I was just in complete shock to how they were talking to everyone. I wish I would have talked to more people to convince them to share their experience too. One woman was like "I NEED to get home. If I don't get home, I can't go to work, and if I don't go to work, I don't make money" The employee responded with "that's not my problem" REALLY, how caring of you.

      hugs back 🙂

  40. Oh Drea, I am so so very sorry. That's pretty much the most hellish story I've heard…I'm SO glad you're home!

    • I've had some pretty dreadful things happen to me while flying, emergency landings and what not… but this is for sure THE WORST. I am also so so so glad to be home 🙂

  41. They covered the American Airline delays on the Today Show this morning. Apparently it's because of their "bankruptcy protection" which is causing layoffs and benefit cuts resulting in disgruntled employees calling in sick and acting like jerks. Regardless they need to get it together and have some compassion which like you said is free! Have you written a letter to corporate? They really need to see a first hand account of how their customers are being treated!
    Glad you & M made it through though! Your both troopers!

    • I haven't written to them. I'm not sure if it would do anything, but I would like to, if I can find some more time. Maybe next week I can do something.
      <3

  42. Wow. That's enough to make me avoid American Airlines! The only bad experience I've had was with Delta/Air France so for the past 2 years I've only flown Southwest.

    • That's the point! Be warned! People need to avoid them at all costs. I usually travel Jet Blue, it's the cheapest most direct, but I'm usually just flying to MA. This time I flew a number of different carriers, but all were seriously great. Growing up I flew Delta a few times a year, had a fair amount of plane trouble, but I was too oblivious and young to notice service issues.

  43. what a freaking nightmare. this is really good information to know. thanks for reliving this horrific ordeal so your readers can know to not fly with american airlines. i can't imagine how so many employees can lack humanity for other people. and how a company so large and profitable can't make concessions for their inconvenienced customers. awful, awful.