How To Survive Flying While Pregnant

Pregnancy fun fact #302: During pregnancy, lots of women become more sensitive and reactive to the scents around them.  The increase in estrogen leads to a highly acute sense of smell.

I spent a four day weekend without my children or John in Washington state, catching up with my sisters, sleeping in a hotel, and not cooking any of my meals, all under the excuse of the dedication to a new elementary school building on the same campus as my K-12 high school.

It was a great weekend.  Minus the flying part.

As if crossing three time zones isn’t bad enough, the fact that I have to consume protein every ninety minutes or risk severe nausea/migraine made the two days of flying a little harder.

For what I had actually prepared myself for however, it turns out it could have been much worse.

Some surprising turns of events:

Believe it or not, the most affordable and direct route from the East Coast to the West Coast on a Friday afternoon actually includes taking three different airlines to my final destination.  Because of this, I was unable to check in to any of my flights until I arrived at the gate.  None of my layovers were even an entire hour, so I knew what this would mean.  This would mean I would be stuck in seat 34B for every single one of my flights.

Not the case.  First flight, one of those gigantic planes with an entire first class, and then an entire business class before the regular and extra roomy coach seats was about a third full.  My seat was one row behind the emergency exit row, which only had two people in all six seats.  Personal upgrade?  Don’t mind if I do.

My second flight out of Chicago was oversold.  They gave me $400 in United Airlines credit and put me on an American flight that left an hour later and arrived at the same time in Seattle.  Added bonus: American Airlines show a movie on four hour flights.

For my final flight, I was in fact in the very back row of one of those Alaskan Airline puddle jumpers.  But because Alaskan Airlines is so much cooler than the rest of the flying universe, they had complimentary local wine and beer for any of the eighty passengers over 21.  It was a lot like that shot of beer traditionally given at mile 25 of a marathon.  Just the carb and fizz kick I needed to complete the race.

The airline gods must have been smiling on me on my return flights, of which there were only two, and in total, a little over half the time I spent in the air on Friday.  I got window seats both ways, and on my long three hour leg, I was in a reclining seat just in front of the emergency exit row, which meant nobody behind me to kick and grab my seat back every time they needed to adjust something.

A Few Things I Did Not Prepare For:

Though I wore my super power anti-nausea wrist bands, came armed with enough food to last at least five hours, and had Zofran handy (I didn’t need it), one thing I had not prepared for was the fact that every single time a person took off his shoes, anywhere on the plane, I would be able to smell it.

I felt like I was flying in a locker room.

Same thing goes for the opening of the lavatory doors.  I was never very close to the blue water, but I knew it was there.  Believe me, I knew it was there.

My mother-in-law joked that I should carry a lavender scented kerchief like the ladies of yore.  My response: advice that would have been handy yesterday.

And Finally, The Passenger in the Seat in Front of Me:

Short Description:  Male.  At least 6’2″.  Belly like Santa Clause.  Hair like Willie Nelson after a three week bender (only not yet gray).  Hooded sweatshirt potentially washed and forgotten about, left in washing machine to air dry, and worn musty.  At least 25 years old, but no older than 30.  Voice–zero inflection, each word pronounced perfectly phonetically.

Cell phone conversation with Kayla, the (possibly Internet) girl(friend) he is flying to meet in Charleston:

Yes.  This plane is much roomier than the last.  The seats are approximately two to three inches wider and my knees don’t even touch the seat in front of me…I’m by the window again…I know.  If I get a window seat in Charlotte I’ll just laugh…Well, it seems we will be leaving on time, but I cannot tell you when I’m supposed to arrive, because listen to this and tell me if it does not confuse you.  I left Pasco at 6am.  My itinerary claims the flight time was two hours and ten minutes, but I arrived in Denver at 9:15.  This flight leaves at 10:15, and says the flight time is only three hours, yet the arrival time in Charlotte is actually 3:15.  I do not think I need to explain to you how this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.  But I must be feeling really good because the flight didn’t seem longer than two hours….Oh, wait a minute, another passenger just informed me that the time is due to changing time zones.  This would explain why my cell phone changed the time when I landed…Some boring question and answer time…a series of I love you’sAlright, they are about to finish boarding and I still need to call my mother…I love you too…bye.

Conversation with Mother:

Strikingly identical description of plane seat dimensions and his luck with the window seat.  Some very matter-of-fact rehashing of undo apprehension prior to flight.  Strikingly identical description of the magic of the cell phone and time zones.  Lots of repetition of things he did not forget (to pack, nor to do before he left).  More I love you’s than he reserved for Kayla, and a sign off with, Oh, and if it is alright with you Mother, I’d like to call Kayla first when I arrive in Charlotte instead of you…well, I already told her I’d call her first and call you second and I don’t want her to accuse me of lying to her…okay.  Yes.  Thank you, Mother.  I love you– I love you, too.

The same guy had the flight attendant fill up his water cup four times before proceeding to serve the next passenger.  He was in a window seat.  If I’d been sitting next to him I think I might have slit my wrists.  But perhaps I should have called someone, because all of this leads me to believe Mother has been keeping him locked up underneath the stairs for the past 25 years.

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One comment on “How To Survive Flying While Pregnant
  1. I can’t remember a post you have written that hasn’t made me laugh.

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