After our fantastic time getting to the airport, getting through security, and having a meal, the other shoe dropped once we hit the plane. First, we were told that gate-checking the stroller meant we weren’t going to see it again until customs. Then, we boarded an older, smaller, and definitely CRAPPIER plane than we had anticipated. We had been burned before when flying Virgin out of Orange County– we were told at the time that SNA to Gatwick was a second-string route, and that the stylish service we had remembered from the mid-nineties onward was to be had LAX to Heathrow. So– we spent the money, and were given options like “special goodie bag for the kids” and “special kid meals” and “yes, we can seat you with use of a bassinet.”
It would seem that some of those promises were without substance.
We were not seated together. Lana (with Sawyer in arms) and Eli were seated on the bulkhead with the bassinet, and Finley and I seated behind. We were confused & frustrated (especially after having arrived four hours early and ASKING if our seats were all together)– we tried to switch with the other two women sitting next to Lana (especially because the bassinet platform over hung their seats), and while one was willing, the other was super bitchy about it & behaved as though we had asked her to sever her own arm. Lana warned her that there would be crying, but she was like ice with a heart of… rotten… ice. Really bad. ANYWAY.
We sat and seethed–and noticed a certain paucity of SUPER-AWESOME kid-themed goodie bags. When asked, the flight attendant mumbled something about those “only being on embarkation from England, now.” Whatever. Obviously, we were getting used. This continued through the “meal,” when they served Eli some kind of “specialty” meal that seemed amazingly dissimilar to Finley’s “kids meal” (Oooh, how exciting, kids! Broccoli Mac & Cheese, served with stale iced animal crackers and warm string cheese!) I should point out, however, that they corrected this & soon gave Eli the same shitty meal they gave Finley. Then, came night-time. Finley not having a seat by Lana has proved to be problematic. (As I write this, we have 4:40 of flight time left.) Finley didn’t want to go to bed, had a hard time sleeping with me, and ended up waking and crying for a short spell.
At this point, the ballad of the ice bitch with the rotten-ice heart hit a new high point– her equally bitchy daughters who were sleeping sprawled in the seats next to Lana & Finley (Lana had swapped seats with me in order to comfort Finley) loudly told our daughter to “be quiet!”
At this point, I should point out that there really is something special about the particularly British brand of bitchyness– kind of funny to watch from afar, or maybe on tv– NOT fun to experience while calling for technical assistance on your mobile phone. Or, say, in the midst of an international flight.
This statement had several effects. One, Finley somehow wasn’t comforted by their words, and finding no solace in them, ignored them, giving Lana more to do in the “comfort & make quiet” department. Two, Lana almost came unglued– both because of the source of the remarks, and because of the callousness / unthinking nature of the statement (what twenty-something actually believes you can command a three year old like a dog?) Three, I got to thinking about how those constitutional rights we take for granted work on an international flight. Can you say “I think your Juicy Tracksuit would look better with a knife buried in it” whilst flying OVER the U.S., and have the statement be protected by freedom of speech? Or does some 17th century naval law come into play? And, if the latter, could I challenge icy-bitch-rotten-heart to a trial of arms “before the mast?”
So, yeah, that’s where we are at 3:22 am Los Angeles time. Oh, and also? Final dash of salt in the wound? No freakin’ free WiFi. Branson, I feel as though you’ve let us down.