Friday, March 7, 2014

Long Eventful Flight!

Our flight from Newark to Hong Kong on Wednesday afternoon actually got off to a fine start.

We arrived at EWR a little before 1PM, plenty of time for our 3:35PM departure time from Terminal C. After clearing a pretty empty security line, we decided to have a proper sit down lunch at one of the airport restaurants to start off our trip.

After paying for an overpriced meal at Gallagher's Steakhouse (review summary: even with managed expectations, we were not impressed), we went over to the United Club Lounge's Family Room to relax a bit before our boarding started at 2:45PM.

Fortunately, for us, we were the only ones in the Family Room and had some privacy for an hour as we prepared for the long flight ahead of us. In particular, my father packed a few cheap plastic bags (the kind you get from CVS). These would become invaluable later on.

So at 2:45PM, we head over to Gate 123 as our boarding passes suggested. We were in Group 2 boarding, and everyone seemed to already be lining up in their appropriate Group boarding lanes. Unfortunately, they announced that we'd end up having to wait at least 30 minutes before we could start boarding. Nevertheless, I managed to occupy my time spinning around in circles and running around the terminal area as my father chased me around.

Finally, we started boarding a bit after 3:30PM and got into our Economy Plus seats and set up shop (iPad, pillow and headphones). My mother wanted to take the middle seat to be closer to me, so my father took the aisle seat while the plane continued to fuel up. Despite getting everyone boarded and seated, we didn't end up taking off until 4:48PM, well over an hour after our original departure time. That gave me a lot of time to watch my Sheriff Callie's Wild West show on the iPad.

While many domestic flights have removed the rule where you have to turn off any electronics for take off / landing, apparently international flights still had it in place. So you can imagine my 2 year old toddler's frustration as my mother had to turn off my show to comply with FAA regulations. Let's just say that the nearby passengers seated around us explicitly knew there was a toddler on board after that...and they continued to know it for a good 20-25 minutes. But eventually, I settled down, despite the constant stares back from the 30 yr old hipster sitting across from us in between taking his selfie photos.

Around 6PM, they started their dinner service. My family all ordered the BBQ chicken meal with rice and steamed veggies. Surprisingly, I ate all my food. About an hour later, they brought down the drink cart where my mother asked if they had any milk for me. Now, I know I'm past the age of needing to drink milk, but I love the stuff. Can't get enough, especially before I go to bed. We thought we hit the jackpot since most flights we took didn't have any milk, except for coffee creamers.

Fast forward a few hours when the cabin lights were dimmed for passengers to sleep, and we started to regret our earlier "good fortune." A few months ago, I leaned the phrase, "My stomach hurts," and used it regularly to communicate the pain to my parents, especially when it was bedtime and I didn't want to go to sleep. Well, I used it again this time, though with a different outcome than usual.

For the 2nd time in my entire life, I threw up my dinner and milk from hours earlier. My father was completely oblivious as his headphones were on and he was fully entrenched in watching a Justin Timberlake movie called Runner Runner. My mother started hitting him on the shoulder to help as she freaked out a bit. Clearly the sight of her only child getting sick was enough to put her into emotional distress.

So as she quickly mobilized to remove my soiled clothes and comfort me at the same time, my father used the United blanket to wipe off my mother's lap that had unfortunately become collateral damage. We used the complimentary sick bags in our front seat pocket to collect the dozens of baby wipes we used to clean up the spill and then used our handy CVS plastic bags to collect the larger clothing and blanket.

Despite the panic of my mother, I kept my cool. I hear that other kids start crying when they get sick, but I just kept saying, "It's dirty. Eww, it's dirty" as I was being cleaned off. My father was quite impressed to say the least, especially since none of the nearby passengers had any idea all of this was going on.

My stomach seemed to feel better and I eventually fell back asleep laying across my seat with my head on my mother's lap. Then fast forward another few hours while my father was watching Clear & Present Danger, they started the next meal service.

While it would have been breakfast time in New York, they were getting us acclimated to Hong Kong time, so we were served another dinner. This time, my parents chose Asian noodles, which I loved. Like before, I ate my entire meal and watched my Disney Junior cartoons. But then, as time passed, I told my mother, "My stomach hurts."

She looked at my face and intuitively knew that I was going to get sick again. She immediately pulled out the sick bag that she already had ready and waiting. As soon as it was opened in front of me, I used it. A lot. But again, no crying or screaming. Just more "Eww, it's dirty."

Soon after that, I sat on my mothers lap as she rubbed my back. I soon fell asleep and when I awoke a few hours later, it was time to descend into Hong Kong airspace. On the positive side, I seemed to have broken my jet lag quickly my first night here, sleeping through the night until 6AM the next morning (which is 5PM New York time).

Lesson Learned: No more milk on flights! I've realized that the milk cartons probably don't turnover that frequently, and it's unclear how well they're kept refrigerated. I mean, it's not as if my father's can of Diet Coke comes icy cold from the drink cart either.


  1. Oh no, poor sweet girl! And poor parents! Hopefully your return trip will be smoother - and sick free!

  2. @andrea, thanks for the concern and for reading! We're lucky it was just bad milk and not anything more serious. Always gotta look on the bright side!