Worst flight ever!

If you’re not in my intimate circle, it’s probable you’ve never heard this story. It’s about the worst fight I’ve ever taken – at least to date

And as I’m sitting here on a plane with my two kids right now, flying to Texas to see family, yet peacefully blogging away undisturbed, I’m reminded of that fateful trip a few years ago.

My kids were about 13 months and 5 yrs old. We were flying to Texas to see the grandparents for Easter weekend. I choose to fly Southwest since you get to choose your own seats. I figured if there were ANY other seats available on the flight, no one would choose to sit next to a lady and two small kids. (my 13 mo old daughter was a lap-child at the time.)

Of note, I love Southwest Airlines. They’re always so friendly and make it really fun for the kids to fly. They’re also super relaxed and that makes the flight fun for us as parents.

But on this particular flight. It was bad. Real bad.

It started off with being delayed at the gate for over two hours. And I had the flight timed perfectly so that the kids would knock out about 30 minutes into the air!

Oh well.

So now we board the plane and it’s way past bed-time and they are over-tired and super cranky. But I’m a mom. I deal with this all the time. No big deal.

We get to a nice empty section in the back and take a whole row, somewhat close to the bathrooms. As we’re settling in, the flight attendant comes on to inform us that due to the delays, we will be having a full flight and almost every seat will be taken. ALMOST every seat – whew! Close one.

But it turned out my relief was too soon. Because right before the cabin door closed a nice young man ran onto the plane looking for the last seat. Which was in our row….

He was super nice and very friendly. We learned that we had mutual friends in our industry and I learned he didn’t have any kids. Or nieces or nephews. Or friends with kids. This is key as you will soon see.

About an hour into the flight my kids are still wide awake and getting even more cranky. The baby is all over the place and doesn’t want to sit on my lap. The 5 yr old is complaining that the baby keeps touching him and and messing with the movie so he can’t watch it. You know the drill.

So I give in and let the baby play on the dirty, disgusting floor by my feet. And the guy keeps talking to me.

He keeps talking….!

I’m trying to get the kids to chill out and sleep. But the sweet young man continues to talk. I even tell him at one point, ” I think we should stop talking so I can get these guys to sleep.”


Silence from our Aisle Partner lasts a full 7 minutes.

And since they’re not asleep yet it obviously warrant a comment of,
“Looks like they’re not tired. Can I share my M and M’s with them.”

Uh, no you can’t!

But before I can even respond, he reaches over me, his hand full of the colorful delights and displays them right in front of their eager little faces.

Are you kidding me?!?!

I can’t stop them before they’ve been snatched up and are in their greedy little mouths.

But this guy thinks he’s helping so I can’t in good faith have a “come to Jesus meeting” right now about that.
So I suggest that we probably shouldn’t have any more of that and let then try to fall asleep.


Oh an did I mention that while my son LOVES chocolate, it gives him an upset stomach.

It’s okay. It’s only a flight. They can’t stay awake the ENTIRE time….can they?

So of course a few minutes later my son complains of a tummy ache. He might just need a trip to the restroom but the fasten seatbelt sign is still on and he says he can wait. He just wants to relax.

Now realize my 13 mo old was teething, as babies are known to do, and that made her even more fussy so she was chewing on her finger to help relieve the pain.

The nice man next to me felt compelled to mention that the floor was probably dirty and she shouldn’t put her finger in her mouth.

Dude, seriously….

After being an M and M’s dispensary you want to give parenting advice?!

I politely agree that it probably is pretty dirty, but it’s a better solution than continually trying to stop her from doing it. Besides, it will probably boost her immune system.

Well while I’m saying this, my daughter sticks her finger so far back that she gags. But she’s standing right in front of my tired 5 yr old son, who already has an upset stomach, who sees this and immediately yells “she’s gonna throw up!”

And yes, she does!

My son jumps up just in time to miss it. But it’s only a little bit, a tablespoon or so. More like spit-up really, so we’re fine. We clean it up off the seat with a wet wipe and go on about the flight much in the same fashion as before: child #1 tired and whining, child #2 tired and teething and fussy, man next to me chatting incessantly.

Oh and did I mention the “fasten seat belt” sign was still on? we’re over an hour into the flight and there’s no sign of turbulence.

But now my son really has an upset stomach and has to use the bathroom.

So he stands up on the chair, grabs his parts and lets me know what’s up and where he’s headed.

Except this guy is on the aisle and he “doesn’t feel comfortable letting a child get up while the seatbelt sign is on.”

Oh sir, would you feel more comfortable covered in urine.

He obviously has no real life experience with the bathroom reaction time of a 5 yr old boy. By the time they originate they have to use it, they need it NOW. So I convince him to let my son out into the asile.

While he’s gone I start to nurse the baby to try to get her to sleep since we have a few minutes of peace (and a full seat separating us.)

That’s when I get the “oh you’re still doing that” comment.


And of course she comes off the boob because someone started talking again and she’s so tired that everything is distracting her. I swear my kids seem to run on pure adrenaline when they are overtired.

I try to get her back on, but she’s full, and not having any more of it. So I put the goods away and calmly explain the health benefits of breastfeeding to our row partner.

Then my son comes back and I shuffle to get them both back in a happy spot. Me at the window, her standing on the floor playing with my lap and my son in the middle seat.

All is good.

Man is quiet, son is getting drowsy, baby is playing happily.

Then it happens.

She finally sticks her finger a bit too far back in her mouth and gags. For real. And then again. And then again.

And the milk comes up.

All over my lap.

And on my jeans and my seat.

Then it immediately starts running over to my sons seat.

That’s when he notices it and starts gagging.

One is full on vomiting on me and the other is dry heaving – about to go.

So I ask the guy on the end to please stand up so my son can run to the bathroom.

“But he just went.”


Me – “He needs to go again, now.”
Him – “I’m just really not comfortable with all movement when the seat belt sign is still on.”

O. M. G.

My son ignores him and climbs right over him and races to the bathroom.

Good for you, Little Buddy.

And as that’s happening I grab the baby and blanket and start mopping up enough of the mess so that I too can go to the restroom.

And she does it again….!

Only this time it’s in my hair and right on my chest and it’s A LOT and it immediately runs right down the inside of my shirt, into my bra and down my stomach onto my jeans from the top now and all over the seat on the other side of me.

What do I do?!!!

I look right into the baby’s eyes. The smell is immediate and intense. I’m shocked. I actually have a moment where I’m paralyzed by indecision, because I’m not sure she’s all done yet.

And she looks right at me and starts laughing.


It’s infectious. So I start laughing, and crying at the same time. She and I are covered, and I mean covered, in throw up, in a crowded airplane, with the fasten seat belt sign on, in glee.

I furtively look around and thankfully the noise from the jets has effectively hidden the precedings of my predicament from the other passengers.

Interestingly, Sir Talks-a-Lot was NOW consumed by the Sky Mall Magazine.

So I gather her bag with the change of clothes and realize the fact that I choose this as the first flight ever NOT to bring anything extra for myself in the carry on.

I’m mortified.

I’ve wiped up/covered up the throw-up on our seats with a baby blanket (thank goodness I brought plenty of those) hoping no one would notice the drama that had just unfolded at row 31 and I put the baby on my chest with a long thin blanket covering both us so no one can tell what’s really going on.

And I head to the bathroom.

I meet my son coming out as I’m going in.

“Don’t go back to our seats just yet, Honey. Wait for me. Maybe you can ask the flight attendants for some water.”

Seriously. Don’t go there yet. It’s gross and discussing and I know you well enough to know that if this blanket came down and you saw me or the baby or our seats right now I’d be cleaning up even more throw-up.

Thank God he got the water.

So here I am now in a teensy, tiny bathroom, barely big enough for one person with two super dirty people.

“Handle the problems you have a solution for first, and the rest will work out!”



Change the baby into clean clothes and wipe all traces of vomit off with wet wipes.


Dirty clothes put in plastic bag – smell is contained.


Now for me. I take my shirt and bra off and rinse the chunks off in the sink. And I keep scrubbing until most of the smell is gone. All the while entertaining the baby sitting on the fold down changing table, keeping one hand on her at all times.

Next I tackle my hair, wondering if it wouldn’t just be better to cut it all off at this point. But since I have water and soap, but no scissors, I opt for cleaning.

Now for my jeans.


This is not going to be easy.

I start by trying to take them off and wash them in the sink the same way I did my shirt and bra.

Man this bathroom is small and my jeans are awfully tight, made worse by the fact that they’re now wet.

Seriously how do people manage to join the mile high club?!

This is not working….and even if I manage to get them off, I’ll have to get them back on!!!!

So I decide to keep them on and to just sit in the sink as best I can and splash water on the largest areas to relieve some of the smell.

It’s incredibly awkward. I see myself in the mirror, maneuvering into weird positions, perched precariously on the edge of the sink trying desperately to get this smell off of me and again I’m laughing and crying at the ridiculousness of the situation.

I do the best I can but it’s a sad effort.

After that I use every baby wipe I can scrounge up. Pretty much took a French Bath with baby wipes.



Even though my shirt and bra have been rinsed thoroughly they still smell a lot. And I can’t handle putting on a soaking wet shirt that smells.

Well I have my Splendid open face sweater that didn’t get a drop of anything on it.

But it’s not made to close on the front and it doesn’t have any buttons or clasps of any kind.

So I channel my inner white-trash-teenager. That’s a style I still harbor fond memories of; cut offs with bathing suit tops, mid drifts showing and short shirts tied up in the front…

But I’ve had two kids! And while I’m rocking’ my size 27 Seven For All Mankind jeans on the bottom, no one, NO ONE needs to see that loaf of bread baking up over the top of my jeans.

Desperate times, desperate measures.

I wrap that thing around me and tie it wherever I can and tuck it into whatever’s available.

It’s tight.

I’m bra-less and 15lbs overweight.

There’s some skin.

But it could be a lot worse.

Actually, as I check all the different angles, it’s not bad. I should seriously consider this look when I’m 15 lbs lighter, if I’m ever at Coachella.

Now me and the babe are all put together and we head back to our seats to assess the damage. Surprisingly, the bathroom trip only took about 10 minutes.

I get a bunch of towels and a plastic bag and some alcohol wipes from the flight attendant and have it cleaned up in no time.

Aisle guy is engrossed in his magazine. Either too polite to comment or too rude to offer assistance. I actually don’t care either way because by this point, I’m exhausted.

All is cleaned. The kids are back in their seats and the flight attendants have been notified that they’ll need to have a “special” cleaning crew at the gate for these seats.

I have to commend the flight attendants, they were very sweet, understanding and made sure I had anything else that I needed on the rest of the flight.

Now my kids are calmed down, I settle in to nurse the baby, and the 5 yr. old is leaning on me. Only 30min until landing at this point. They both get drowsy and start to nod off.

Aisle guy leans over and loudly says, “it’s so much quieter when they’re sleeping.”

At which point they both startle and start to stir.


I shoot him a death glare and quiet the kids back down.

About 10 min before landing they’re both fast asleep. And it’s very peaceful.

All I can think is, OMG I have to turn around and do this all over again in two days, just to get home!

But I realize it will probably never again be as bad as this flight, so it’s actually all uphill from here.

Worst Flight Ever!

What’s your worst flight story, and what’s your trick for getting through it?