Sunday, June 15, 2008


For the week vacation in Hilton Head with the family, we were going to take a direct flight from National to Savannah, and drive the ~1 hour from there. Six weeks before our flight, US Airways notified us that they were stopping their morning direct flights, and so we decided it would be better to switch to a flight into Hilton Head -- if we needed to take a connection, why keep the drive as well?

The last couple of times we've flown, we've gotten Emelia her own seat, even though she's eligible to be a lap baby until she turns two. She doesn't sit still, and it's gotten too difficult to keep her on a lap the whole way. On the flight from Charlotte to Hilton Head, they weren't able to seat the three of us near each other (only 2 passengers per side anyhow), so Kathy and Emelia sat in the back row, with Emelia alternating between Kathy's lap and the seat. It was 95 degrees outside, the air conditioning in the plane hardly worked, and the plane wasn't a jet -- it was a prop plane, a Dash 8, something that only added to Kathy's queasiness.

On the way back, we also were on a Dash 8 into Charlotte, but at least it was a newer (and more comfortable) plane, the A/C worked, and we were able to sit across from each other. Also, no one was in the seat next to me, so we passed Emelia back and forth throughout the flight to keep her fairly content, though she was unable to settle down enough to sleep despite the flight being during her nap time. Our flight to DCA was in a small jet, again 2 passengers per side, and again the seat next to me was unoccupied. Emelia's fussiness increased as her exhaustion did, but did ok all things considered -- naturally, she only fell asleep while we were landing on the second flight, and woke up soon thereafter with all the motion that followed upon landing.

Unfortunately, our luggage didn't accompany us on our flight home, as none of our three bags were on the conveyor belt when we got to baggage claim. Rather than wait for the next flight, to see if the bags made it, we went home and waited. And waited. And waited. I called and was told our bags would make it to us between 8:30 and 11:30. We never received a phone call telling us that they wouldn't be delivered, and Kathy stayed up later than the supposed window waiting for the bags that never came. I called in the morning, and they stated that the bags would show up some time after eight. When they showed up, I looked for my toiletry case so I could take a shower. It wasn't in either of the bags (bag #3 was Emelia's car seat), and when I asked Kathy, she remembered that she had put it in the carry-on suitcase that we hadn't bothered to unpack yet. In other words, we unintentionally defied TSA regulations that prohibit carrying on containers larger than 3 ounces, carrying toiletries when they aren't in a one-quart clear plastic bag, and not separating them out for inspection when we went through security. And despite this, we got through security wholly unimpeded.

Given how much inconvenience these rules create (and it's only getting worse with airlines deciding to charge for even the first checked bag), I'd at least appreciate it if TSA enforces these supposedly necessary rules. The fact that they aren't, or are doing so haphazardly, pisses me off even more than the rules being there in the first place, seeing as how we're left with inconvenience without enhanced security.

Our next flights are coming up this weekend, for Kathy's college reunion out in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, these aren't direct flights either. As for Hilton Head, the folks decided they liked it so much that they booked a house down there for next year's family vacation as well. As of now, we plan on driving the 10 hours.