Next time we'll drive, park and fly (the misery of short flights)

10 Jun 2011 by Kathleen Krueger

Drive, park and flyOur flight to Washington DC was completely paid for. They were even flying us directly out of our small hometown airport in Brainerd, MN, so that we wouldn't have to drive to the Twin Cities to catch our flight. With our family of six taking our first big trip together, we were pretty thrilled about this. Since our youngest child was only two, a one hour flight to the Twin Cities sounded quite preferable to the normal two and half hour drive. We were wrong.

Neither my husband nor I had ever flown out of the Brainerd airport before, so we really didn't know what to expect. We knew it would be a smaller plane, but we really didn't know what that meant in practical terms. We found out.

It means that the quarters are tight and cramped, even more so than a typical airliner. It means that the seats are not built for your comfort. They are a utility function only, meant to hold you in an upright position. Their hard, immovable structure does accomplish that task, except if you're two, that is. At two, you can still wriggle and squirm and pretty much have a normal tantrum fairly unhindered. Needless to say, many apologies were issued to other passengers.

The other things we didn't realize about our 'convenient' flight on this small plane was how noisy it would be and how bumpy the ride would be. The engines were loud and seemed like there were all kinds of creaks and groans from the plane itself that kept my fingers clenched onto the armrests. (I'm not sure why I was holding on so tight. I guess I felt like I might be the only thing holding the plane together.)

My husband, who was doing his best to manage the two year old, had developed a throbbing headache within minutes after our ascent and was fully nauseous from the turbulence by the time we landed at the Minneapolis airport. The other three kids were old enough to realize that we all sharing the same misery and were simply looking forward to getting some lunch in their stomachs before we got on the next plane.

Unfortunately, by the time we all had exited from the plane and made it across the airport to our next boarding area, there was not enough time for a meal. So, two tense and miserable parents boarded the next flight with four hungry and crabby children, ranging in age from 2 to 14.

It was a memorable experience (as you can tell). Next time, however, we'll drive the two and half hours, park at one of the convenient 'park and fly' ramps and skip the hour of misery. Once was enough.

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