So we made it to the States! It was an interesting trip, that’s for sure, but we made it, along with the dogs and all our junk.
Brittney, Abbie and I (and the dogs and ALL my luggage) got on the road to the Venice airport around 6:30am on Monday and made it to the airport around 7:30am. It took us a while to get the dogs cages put together and zip tied shut and their water bottles and food in there, and by the time we were almost done with that Jennifer, Luke and Cassy got to the airport with their stuff and my other 2 huge suitcases. The 4 of us managed to get 2 kids, 2 dogs and all of Jennifer’s and my (okay, mostly my) junk into the airport. We never would have been able to do that without 4 of us, so I was thankful for all the help.
We had a few problems checking in at the airport. (Side note: I booked through United, who’s baggage policy for military is 3 70lb bags checked per ticket bought and 2 carry-on’s per ticket bought. However, we were flying with Lufthansa for this flight, so I had checked with them before and they told me I was allowed 2 50 lb bags checked per ticket and 2 carry on’s per ticket.) So the Lufthansa check in lady about had a bird with all the luggage I had, which was 4 bags under 50lbs, Abbie’s stroller bag (which baby equipment is free) and then a small rolling carry on suitcase with all my “valuables” in it, a bookbag and a dufflebag with all Abbie’s in-flight entertainment. After almost 30 mins of running around paying a different desk for the dogs and him confirming I was allowed 2 50 lb bags per person and her making me check my “valuable” carry-on because I was only allowed 1 carry on per person, we finally were checked in. It was a rather stressful start to the trip. And then I had to run the dogs and their cages through the x-ray machine at the oversized baggage counter and when we put Ollie’s cage on the conveyor belt, his entire cage tipped over. Poor dog.
The flight out of Venice ended up leaving over an hour later than it was supposed to, so Jennifer and I were stressing out thinking we were going to miss our connecting flight in Frankfurt, which is exactly what ended up happening. We got to the gate that we were supposed to depart from with 10 mins to spare from when the plane was supposed to take off, only to have them tell us that they’d already closed the gate and we’d have to get a later flight, even though the plane was still at the gate…. Grrrr…. I wasn’t happy.
So we ended up having a 5 hour layover in Frankfurt, which wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Both kiddos were far past their naptimes at that point, but they both held up pretty well. Luke took a little nap, but Abbie stayed up the whole time. The 9 hour flight over wasn’t all that bad either. It was long, but relatively painless. It could have been a LOT worse, that’s for sure. Jennifer and I were in the same row, but there were like 4-5 seats between us so we didn’t talk throughout the entire flight. Abbie was sitting next to a little boy who was probably 4 years old and he was TERRIBLE compared to her. He whined almost the entire flight, or threw fits, and it took his parents quite a while to get him to go to sleep, only to have his mom, who was holding him, sit down and then try to take off his shoes, which woke him up again and he screamed and whined for another 30 mins before they got him to sleep again. Abbie just kinda stared at him the whole time. There was a 3.5 month old a few seats over on the other side of us, and she fussed a little bit a few times, and one time when she was fussing, Abbie was watching her for a bit. Then she pointed at the baby and said “Relaaax baby. Baby just relax.” LOL! I guess I must say that to her occasionally. Her ears also bothered her on take offs and landings some. I could tell when they’d pop because her head would jerk and she’d get this surprised look on her face and stick her finger in her ear and say “My ear hurts.” But I’d get her to yawn or to take a drink and she’d be fine. She slept for maybe an hour while I was holding her, which was interesting since she’s a wild sleeper. I think she did 2 complete rolls in her sleep while she was in my lap, but that’s the only sleep she got on the plane.
Abbie was about 50 times better than I was expecting her to be on our trip. We were supposed to travel for about 12 hours and by the time we got to my parents house, we’d be traveling for over 24 hours. She fell asleep on the ride home and woke up crying/whining a few times, but she was so tired, she’d pass right back out. She threw one fit in the Frankfurt airport, but other than that, she didn’t cry or scream or whine or anything the entire trip. I was shocked and amazed. Gives me hope for the trip home, that’s for sure.
So anyway, we’re here and we’re adjusting and the trip was much better than I was expecting.