Jan 31, 2008

One Way Ticket...

In four weeks' time, we are off on a skiing holiday to La Plagne in the French Alps.

I know, I know...I lead a charmed life of sabbatical decadence. I do.

But today I'm not in the mood to appreciate. And if you read on, perhaps you'll see why:

La Plagne is 2 hours by car from the nearest airport of Chambery. Considering Benjamin's rather severe motion sickness, a 2 hour drive on small, mountainous roads is not perfect (perfect would be ski-in/ski-out privileges from our house here in Norway). But it beats a 3-4 hour car ride, which was our alternative.

In addition, the airport of Chambery offers a direct flight to/from Oslo, Norway. Again, better than many of our other options, which require stopovers in Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Paris or even London.

Whenever we book flights, our primary concern is cutting down on travel time. Benjamin tolerates a couple of hours reasonably well, but he seems to hit a wall at the 2 hour mark, and after that things go downhill quickly. As in lots and lots of being sick. It's messy, stressful and, most of all, terribly unpleasant for him.

That's why we thought La Plagne was a good choice for skiing. Our flight from Oslo leaves at 8:30 am, and we get into Chambery three hours later. Two hours on the road, and we might even make it to the hotel for lunch. Benjamin has the afternoon to recover before hitting the slopes the next day. We have time to buy our lift tickets, book ski lessons/ski school, and even enjoy a nice dinner. French food. Yum.

So imagine my mood when, two months ago, an email dumps into my inbox, with big, bold, ominous letters:

"Time Change to your Flight"

A quick glance through the "We are sorry, blah, blah, blah...inconvenience...yeah, yeah, yeah...change to departure time."

Scroll further down...to see that they have pushed our departure time back by 10 hours! What?? We are now leaving Oslo at 6:30 pm. Look, I can handle an hour or two, but 10 hours is an entire day lost!

I immediately went onto their website, and I searched through other airlines' websites for hours. Only to confirm what I already knew. This is the only airline that offers a direct connection to Chambery from Oslo, and this is their only depature a week. There's no alternative, no choice. Not unless we are willing to do stopovers.

So we changed everything. Booked another car to pick us up in C'hambery. There'll be no getting in mid-day now, we'll be lucky to get in the right side of midnight. This sucks big time. The kids will be totally groggy and cranky the next morning, when the ski school starts.

But what sucks even more is that the return flight has also been pushed back 10 hours. We are now leaving Chambery at close to 10 pm.

Given how hotels usually ask you to clear out of your room before noon, we will have the entire day to do nothing. Sure we can, and probably will, ski. Because who doesn't love changing out of your wet and yucky ski clothes in the public bathroom off the lobby in a cramped ski hotel? With kids? Fun times!

At the end of that fun day, we'll arrive in Oslo at 30 minutes past midnight. And you know the privilege of clearing snow off a car that's been parked in the outdoor parking lot for a week? Well, imagine doing it at 1 am with two children in tow?

That's almost as great as having to drive another 1.5 hours home afterwards. Woo-hoo!

But since we are still looking at 5 hours of travel time - just at nasty, nasty hours - there's no point in changing anything. And we may even luck out and the boys will sleep on the flight home. Benjamin can't get sick when he's sleeping, so who knows? A silver lining?

So these last few weeks I've been trying to get into the mood again. Working my way back to looking forward to this trip. It's going to cost us a fortune, and I want to enjoy it.

Until I saw this in my inbox last week:

"Flightnumber Change"

It actually took me a few minutes to work up the courage to open it, and when I did, at first I couldn't see any changes:

1730 from OSL to CMF 2115
2155 from CMF to OSL 0135

But then it dawned on me. They added another hour to the flying time. We are now leaving Oslo an hour earlier, but still arriving at the same time.

Did France move without telling me?

I threw myself on phone to customer service.

[Wait, wait, wait.]

Finally, a human voice. "Ma'am, you are travelling during peak hours of the day, when the air space is full, so we've essentially had to add extra time to just circle."

Hmm...I really don't understand that little dinky Chambery airport can be that busy. Heck, I couldn't even find another flight in. And Oslo Airport is not busy at 1:30 am, I can promise you that. But she insisted.

Fine! Maybe she can sit next to Benjamin as we circle the airport for the 57th time.

The bottom line is that we've now added another hour onto our travel time. Two more vomits, by my count. Not to mention the fact that we'll be arriving back in Oslo at 1:30 am, and at our house no earlier than 4 am. So there's Sunday gone, too.

Back to getting into the mood. It's going to be fun. Fun. FUN! I.Am.Going.To.Love.It. Forget about the travel time. Who cares?

[Phone rings this morning at 9 am]

...an hour has been added to the flight time to allow for a stopover in Gothenburg, Sweden. We are sorry.

I.Hate.Air.Travel.

50 comments:

ALM said...

That's really enough to cramp any buzz... Just keep telling yourself: "This WILL be fun. I WILL get through this." That and have one extra alcoholic drink.

the dragonfly said...

Oh. I cannot express how awful I feel for you. It is beyond imagination. Don't you just wish you could ski off your back porch and down a mountain??! ;)

Despite all the wretchedness of travel, you will have fun. Really!

Laura said...

That is terrible!

Fingers crossed your little man travels ok....

Just think of the final destinaton...and activity...

Sending lots of calming and safe, easy travel vibes.

brneyedgal967 said...

Not fun at all. Maybe this is God's way of telling you that you shouldn't be on that plane. Don't want to freak you out, but sheesh, how many more wrenches can be thrown your way?

You said your alternative was a 3-4 hour car drive... to some other location I presume?

Regardless, I hope you have a safe trip and that it is as pleasant as it can be despite the headaches. Hopefully the actual vacation will make up for the headaches of going to/from!

kimmy said...

Air travel can be so stressful. Nothing feels like a wasted day more than just sitting around in airports!

I hope your son travels well and that you have a great time!

Kimmy

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Ooooooh, this brings back memories of my Delta Airline induced migraines of last summer. I hope there is still some salvageable fun at the end of this sordid story.

Chantal said...

omg, that is terrible. Travel is so stressful. Try and focus on the fun you will have. I am sure it will be worth all the pain.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

It's hard enough to travel when you're an adult, but I can't imagine traveling with children during layovers and flight delays or heaven forbit - cancellations!

Good luck and keep your focus on the fun, fun, fun at the end of your journey!

Beck said...

Oh NO! I hope that things go MUCH better then you think they will - I have one little guy who gets sick if his chair moves, so I UNDERSTAND.

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

What a royal pain in the arse. Are you sure you want to go now?

Have you talked to your doctor about giving the boy something to help his stomach?

Misty said...

That is so super rotten. And unfair. And rotten. And mean.

Those mean people.

I really am sorry. I hope it will be all worth it, in the end.

Aliki2006 said...

Oh boy, how annoying through and through. Maybe you get yourself into a hypnotic state in which you block out all the yucky hellacious portions of the trip and feel only the *good* parts. It's worth a try, at least.

Rima said...

Oh, that just blows. I hope they give you something to compensate for all the trouble. And I hope there is minimal pukage. But at least LOST premiers tonight!

kim-d said...

Awww, man, Heidi--I'm so sorry. Even tho it's not my airline you're flying, I apologize on behalf of all of them. Yeah, that and a couple bucks'll get ya a cup of coffee. I am not going to tell you any happy crap about you will be glad when you get to your destination. Because I happen to think by the time you get there, you will just be tired and even more cranky. I join Jennifer (Jen on the Edge). Can you cancel? And then maybe plan something closer to home? Because, although I am not a superstitious person by any stretch of the imagination, I do think you're being given signs that this is not the thing to do.

Poor Benjamin; I don't even wanna think about what all of these additions and changes are going to do to him. And, in my book, Poor Benjamin = Poor Mom (and probably Dad, too). So the only one who even stands half a chance of having a good time is Christopher??? Hmmm...if you do go, I sincerely hope it turns out at least okay :). Sorry I'm not more optimistic, but it's just too much of a stretch...haha!

Mrs. G. said...

This really sucks. I'm sorry. I can't even think of one funny thing to say about it.

Kathryn said...

Oh no! That sucks!
Well, maybe they just add the time on as a precautionary measure. Maybe you'll be the first to land. ???
Crappity, Crap.

Maddy said...

What a pain! I'm with you on the fun, fun, fun, but that makes it really tough.
Best wishes

hellomelissa said...

right now you're wondering when you became a travel agent without noticing.

Dawn said...

That does sound tough. I'm sorry that this has happened to your vacation plans.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh man Heidi, that stinks! You so carefully plan your vacation and then this! And it's not just inconvenient but you have your son to worry about. I wish there was a good solution.

Good luck.

familymclean said...

What a pain! My brother also gets sick after a few hours of travel, even with a pile of tums. It is not fun a t all.
Makes travel tough...and to have your schedule messed with like that, ugh.....
the French food (mmmmm)and skiing does sound good, but what a hassel to get there!

Kellan said...

Oh - my niece and nephew both get car/air/travel sick. Do you give Benjamin Dramamine or anything for the motion sickness? My SIL uses those motion sickness wrist bands - they work best for her kids - they really work! I was on a car trip - 3 day trip - with both of those kids (about 3 years ago) and they used those wrist bands the whole time and never got sick even once and they get motion sickness very easily.

Anyway - you are going to have a great time - you are!!! It sounds wonderful and I'm sure it will all work out. I can't wait - and I'm not even going! Take care - Kellan

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

That is flippin' unbelievable! What a freakin' runaround. Talk about taking the joy out of the anticipation. I hope you guys have an amazing time, and your poor boy makes it through okay.

Jill said...

This is why we don't fly. We drive everywhere.
Three of our children are highly prone to motion sickness. We have one child who throws up every 3 hours or 200 miles, whichever comes first.
I feel your pain.

Beth said...

How horrible! Is it too late to change your plans?! Poor Benjamin!

jennwa said...

My kids suffer from motion sickness especially my oldest, so I know that can put a damper on any trip. Maybe you could try some dramamine and hope for the best. I hope it works out and you can still have a good trip.

Badness Jones said...

Airlines suck. I'm so so sorry. It'll be totally worth it though, once you're all having a fabulous time on those slopes!

I remember when I left home for the first time at 19, and was living in London. I hadn't seen any of my family in 8 months and my dad called to say that he was on a business trip in Sweden, but he had a 4 hour stopover at Heathrow on the way home. I was so excited! And then, 2 hours before I left to go meet him he phoned. The Swedish airline was striking and he had to take a flight home through Zurich instead. That was the only day that year that I was so homesick I spent the entire day in bed and cried.

Airlines suck.

MadMad said...

O.M.G.! AWFUL! You poor thing! Can you get Dramamine there?

(And scotch?)

Amy said...

i hope everything works out okay for you and your family. motion sickness is awful... the poor little guy! have you have a lot of fun when you reach your destination!

Amy said...

i hope everything works out okay for you and your family. motion sickness is awful... the poor little guy! have you have a lot of fun when you reach your destination!

Mountain Dweller said...

Oh dear...Vive La France.. :(
I'm sure that once you actually get to La Plagne though you will absolutely love it (well maybe not upon your arrival at midnight. But the next day, you'll love it!)

ewe are here said...

This is criminal! They've just stolen a vacation day from you!

Evil airlines... I hope they offer free alcoholic beverages, at least. I suspect you're going to need them to survive your travel days.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Oh! And I would gladly lend you my transporter if I could find one. argh.

Robyn said...

for once, i'm so glad that i am not you right now. :)

i say drug the kiddo so that he sleeps and make the drive instead of the flight.

i'm sure that once you get there, you'll have an awesome time.

Mary Alice said...

I am not a fan either....in fact I would almost rather just not go.

Mary Beth said...

I am the motion sickness person in my family - I hate flying all by myself, let alone with kids. My parents used to carry lollipops for us cause it calmed our stomachs. Good luck on your travels!

MamaGeek said...

BLECH. Only in the airline industry can you pay SO much to get treated SO badly.

Have a fun trip when you get there!

carrie said...

Ooooh, that's frustrating!

Wyatt got really motion sick this summer on one of our trips. The doctor told me I could give him Dramamine (he's 9). I had no idea that I could do this and wish I would've known about it sooner. Maybe ask Benjamin's Dr. if there is something mild like that which would help him? Just a thought! :)

Still, jealous of all your adventures! Have fun!

BeachMama said...

Are you sure you aren't flying Air Canada?? Kidding of course, you got emails and phone calls.

I do hope that the trip does turn out to be very fun so that all the changes make it so worth it.

Victoria said...

Oh, crap! The Boy and I suffer horribly from motion sickness, so my heart feels for you all. Gah.

Best of luck to you. Hopefully he'll have an amazing trip - with no puke. *weak grin*

Take care!

Lisa said...

Oh. My. GOD! Oh. My.

That's all I can say. I am pissed for you. It sucks when you've got kids with motion sickness. I completely understand THAT!

Can I send you some dramamine? Because I will! Seriously!

Zoe said...

i am so very jealous of your trip. not of the vomiting. i have a son with severe motion sickness and it would just be...sick...to deal with him in that situation!

Cathy said...

Ouch! Try to focus on the destinationm, rather than the means of getting there.

Air travel sucks. It really does.

painted maypole said...

ooof. hoep the fun you hae makes up for all the headache. and barfing. yuck.

Steph said...

What a mess!! I hope that he makes it through the travel okay. At least you have a fun ski vacation on the other side of the icky travel...

Karen MEG said...

It's awful when you're stuck like that with no options. Poor B boy, travel sickness is the worst. We've only experienced it the one time coming home from Whistler (drive and then the plane) with Liam and it was not a pretty sight.

Just keep breathing and imagine yourself already there... it's the French Alps, remember. Breathe....

chichimama said...

Oh god. I am now hysterical for you. May I send you some chocolate? Chocolate can make lots of things better....

Shan said...

Oh what a mess. I get the travel sickness, though. It's rough on them.

Onur said...

Kjære deg
Det høres jo helt forferdelig ut for Benjamin. sikkert et forferdelig dumt spørsmål, men har dere prøvd reisesyke tabletter? Om ikke annet så har den jo en får-deg-til-å-sove-effekt. Verd et forsøk hvis dere ikke har forsøkt det da?!
Når det gjelder bil turer så er det noe som har hatt en effekt på min Sofia. For hun blir nemlig fort bilsyk. Så vi kjøpte en slik spiller de kan se på film i bilen. Og vips så var kvalme og oppkast periode over :)

Lykke til

klem Onur

Ree said...

May have to run another contest after you get back, eh?

Good luck honey. You know I'm cringing here for you.