After being grounded for six months I had almost forgotten the frustrations and aggravations that surrounded the lovely experiences. The difference back then is that I had not yet added on the additional task of pumping while traveling. First of all I had to check my luggage. I never check, ever. I don’t trust these people! But if I’d like to make it back home with any breastmilk, a.k.a, LIQUID GOLD then a necessity it is.
I arrived at the airport in plenty of time for my 1:30 flight and went use the “Easy Check-In.” It usually lives up to its name, making Check-In a painless experience if I can’t check in online. The difference today? Apparently my flight had been delayed to the point that I was going to miss my connection. It was asking if I wanted to change my itinerary to later flights, I’m patiently waiting to talk to the United attendant when another male United attendant walked up behind me asking if I wanted help. I knew he couldn’t help me because the info I needed was in the computer, but what the “hey” I told him my situation. I wanted to see if I could still stay on the 1:30 (now 2:10 flight) and what other options in Chicago there were. Why you ask? Because the computer wanted to rebook me on a 9:00 flight out of Chicago where I would land in Charlotte at 11:45 pm. Not optimal.
UA Guy: If you push the “Yes” button it will rebook you.
Me: I realize that, but I think I’ll wait for the lady to look up additional options on the computer.
UA Guy: Do you mean it didn’t show you flights you could standby on?
Me: No. But she can tell me.
UA Guy: Just push that “Yes” button and it will show you. (Proceeds to reach around me and push the button)
What is it with men??? Why do you all have to just push the buttons? Does it drive you crazy that there’s something to push and it’s sitting there all unpushed or something? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!! So I’m instantly rebooked and by the time the lady is actually able to help me I can’t get my seat back on the original flight. She was able to put me on standby for a 2:30 flight while ticketing me for the 5:00. (More on this later)
So as upset as I am I realize that I should just go get through security just in case I can get on the 2:30. Somehow I know what’s going to happen, I just know that the TSA lady working my line will be busy and it will be the guy who pulls aside the breastpump to look at it, touch it (ewww), and display my goods. Crazy how right I can be. But wait, it gets better.
TSA Guy: Is there breastmilk in here?
TSA Guy: Do you have an infant with you?
TSA Guy: Usually when we see these things, we are supposed to look for an infant.
Me: You can look but I’ll give you a hint, you won’t find a baby.
TSA Guy: OK. I’m going to have to get my supervisor involved because I’m not sure we can let this through since you don’t have an infant with you.
WHAT? A breastpump with empty bottles, no liquid… travesty. Thankfully when he called his supervisor over he didn’t even get through the whole story before the level-headed man just waved it off and told him to let me through. I wanted to kiss him.
Since I had some time on my hands I figured I’d use it to fill those bottles and pump. Hey, baby’s gotta eat Upon walking into the restroom and doing a quick tour I see one outlet in full view of the door. I can imagine the questions from the kids walking through. I decided to play Nancy Drew and look again. I did finally find an outlet in a very small stall that I could use. So there I am, sitting on the toilet, praying to God that the automatic flusher doesn’t go off and get my jeans all wet (How would you even explain that?), balancing my pump on my lap and holding both cups to the girls with the other arm/hand. The right hand was busy making sure the pump and equipment didn’t fall onto the I’m sure very sanitary bathroom floor, crying because I’m uber-emotional anyway with having to leave my baby for the first time and pissed because this is why I hate travel.
Thankfully I am able to get on the 2:30 flight instead of waiting until 5:00 in the Omaha airport. Guess what though? If I had stuck on my original flight, late as it may be I might have made the 4:10 flight. I booked it to the gate to see if miracles may happen and they closed the gate one minute before I got there. Those 20 minutes would have made a difference, stupid UA Guy! I did get put on standby for a 6:00 flight to Charlotte and was told that I was high priority. Let me tell you, high priority means squat when United has oversold the flight by nine seats. Nine. I didn’t make it… so now I’m sitting here in a lonely airport, my new gate is all the way across the terminal but here I have a plug-in and in Chicago O’Hare that is priceless. If I’m going to be stuck here I’d at least want to go do something, visit the ultra-cool Molly perhaps?
One thing I will say that’s a blessing is I found a family bathroom where I can lock the door and pump in peace, not squatted on a toilet doing the ultimate balancing act. There is an upside to everything I suppose.
I’m not home yet so there may very well be a part deux to this saga… stay tuned.