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Flying is an exciting adventure that turns out to be a nightmare when things go wrong. That sleepless night before the flight, the anxiety of thinking if you have everything you needed, those butterflies in your stomach are for real.
When you are well prepared, you did some research and reading then you don't have to worry much but when it's your first time, you can't just be sure.
I have so many unforgettable experiences when it comes to flying. I fly with my daughter since she was 7 months and I travelled internationally before that. I've flown many times now. Some of the countries I've been to from the Philippines are Thailand, South Korea, United Kingdom, Morocco and the last one was Turkey.
When we landed at Incheon Airport and felt the freezing temperature, I thought to myself "I want to go back home! I'm going to freeze to death here in South Korea and I will not make it to see an Oppa." Hahaha.
Aside from the long queues in the immigration, another passenger's bare feet up on my armrest, I'm beside someone who snores like a rhino, a girl's long hair hanging on my television screen ( I swear I want to get a scissor at that time) and you have a 7-month-old baby to entertain to make it to your destination are some of the things I have to deal with.
Tia will gonna meet her Granny and Granda for the first time in Northern Ireland. She was only 7 months at that time. The security checks for a start was a struggle. Imagine, I have to take off my carrier, my jacket and shoes while holding my daughter. And because I have to bring milk and bottles I have to take out everything from the bag and they have to check all 4 bottles while I have to wait while carrying her standing on queues. It wasn't easy let me tell you.
I prepared an earplug and I gave her Calpol to help her deal with ears popping during the flight. And she cried hysterically upon taking off but settled afterwards.
They have bassinets and the flight attendant was kind enough to help me set it up. She's used to a cradle so I had a hard time putting her to sleep on this. She only sleeps for good 30 minutes and she woke up. She will only sleep in my arms.
It's a struggle to go to use the toilet while carrying her and changing her nappy as she won't lay down on the changing table. I don't know how I manage to change her at that time. After 9 hours we reached Abu Dhabi Airport. I was already rejoicing coz this would be the last flight then my husband will pick us up at Dublin Airport, then just two hours drive to get home. I just want to sleep.
As soon as we landed in Abu Dhabi, I'm at ease. And just waiting for my next flight to Dublin, sitting pretty while carrying my baby while we're waiting to board. Then there's this beautiful attendant started checking passengers passport and boarding pass. I gave her a big smile because she looks like an angel. I gave her our passports.
But the next thing she said, caught me off guard. "Can I see you and your baby's Irish Visa?" And I was like what Irish Visa? We only have UK Visa. We are going to Northern Ireland. And I thought she's asking me nonsense. But that's after her explanation, and some googling, the realization kicks in. I'm flying to Dublin, and Dublin is in the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland is under the UK. I need Irish Visa if my last destination in Dublin.
So what do I need to do? She wants me to book a flight right away. She will let me board the flight if I can book a flight from Dublin to any UK airport. And I tried but it's not working. I phoned my husband to let him know what I'm dealing with. He tried as well but still cannot book a flight, the payment won't go through.
I was shocked in disbelief at what's happening. We were offloaded even before we board the plane. I wasn't able to book a flight from Dublin to any part of the UK. My husband was so worried because he knows how exhausted I am. We have to wait in the airport for 8 hours until my husband sorts it out and was able to book a flight from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow to Belfast City.
I can tell you my arms are numb, my back was giving up as I was carrying Tia in my arms. I can lay her flat on the airport seats for a short time but she won't lay down for too long.
Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow
Finally, we are flying to the UK after 8 hours of waiting. I thought we passed the worst. It was nighttime as soon as the plane switch off the light so passengers can sleep, Tia cried nonstop. I received dirty looks and heard passengers complaining. I apologize but surely I pity myself too. I want to sleep as well. Tia must feel bad, there's something wrong with her. Maybe her ears or her head was sore like mommy.
When we landed at Heathrow and board the last plane to Belfast I was so relieved. And seeing that view down below feels so good. At last!
Another one that I will never forget when we fly again from the Philippines to Northern Ireland. I think it was from Abu Dhabi to Manchester. At Abu Dhabi, while waiting for our next flight, I change Tia's nappy and I use the toilet as well.
So after changing Tia and relieving myself I check the scheduled board and headed to the boarding gate flashing on the screen. We're just sitting and Tia was playing when I noticed that my shoulder bag was missing. My heart drop. My passport, wallet, boarding pass, everything was there!
I only use the toilet. But which toilet will I check?! I can't remember which one we went to. I carried Tia and run and check every toilet and luckily found my bag on the second toilet that I went to. I forgot it in the baby's changing cubicle. Luckily no one uses it after me.
This is a funny one as I hate turbulence. Tia eventually gets used to flying. There's this flight going to Hongkong that the turbulence was really bad. I was holding on to my armrest firmly while praying. Tia at that time already got her own seat. I was shaking inside, I'm so nervous. I thought the plane will crash.
And here comes Tia smiling just staring outside looking at the window as if nothing is happening. She's perfectly fine while I feel like dying already. 🤣
Have you ever experienced being late on your connecting flight? And I'm so worried that we will miss our flight because another airline was delayed! I kept asking the attendant and we were told that the next flight will be waiting for us. But didn't satisfy me.
And you know the aisles, the boarding gates I think we run from Gate 6 to 61! I ask Tia, "Please Tia we have to play, you have to beat Mommy in running!" And it feels like we join the marathon for how long we have to run just to make it on time. We're the last ones to complete the boarding. At that time, I felt like we can compete in the next Olympics.
And there you go that's my unforgettable flying experience! I'm just happy that now Tia is used to flying and I don't really bother much. No more carrying in my arms, no more sitting in my lap, no more crying on the plane. All is well as long as she got some snacks and things to play with.