If you follow me on Instagram, you know we took a little break from the blog last week! I had a WILD travel experience from Philly for my grandfather’s memorial service back home to San Diego, so I needed to take a little me-time to decompress. I’m back this week and I’m going to share some details about the worst travel experience of my life…which sounds really far off-theme for a blog dedicated to mama life, right? But it’s actually right on-theme, I promise.
This experience showed me the power of finding a mama tribe. Even amongst strangers at the airport.
Let me rewind and tell you what happened…and how a mini mama tribe was formed in all of this chaos.
My flight home to San Diego was supposed to depart at 6:50pm last Monday night. And it got delayed to 8:30, then 9, then 10, then 10:15 and so on and so forth. The explanations for the delay were rarely given by the airline staff, and, when they were, they were almost comical – like not having a baggage handler to load the checked luggage onto the plane or it taking over 2 hours to refuel the plane. By 9, most of the passengers on this flight, including my preggo self, went on a hunt for food, only to find that everything in the airport had already closed.
Cue hormonal hangry tears.
As the flight continued to get delayed later into the night and early morning hours, I felt like I was in a scene from a movie or TV show. Passengers started getting rowdy. Alliances started forming. And I’m pretty sure the airline staff hid from us all – they were nowhere to be found for VERY long periods of time. They were absent long enough for the flight tower to be calling the desk at the gate, and passengers eventually answering. The flight tower wanted to know what the hold-up was – we should’ve been boarded and taking off by now.
Throughout the evening, I befriended 2 women who were traveling with their young children – and we just started looking out for each other. We’d watch each other’s bags so we could go to the bathroom. We offered each other whatever snacks we had with us. We shared whatever information we could with each other if we learned anything new.
All 3 of us were moms. All 3 of us were from San Diego. All 3 of us were traveling “alone.”
Around 10, we were told the airline had been cleared to land past the San Diego Airport curfew and we will be boarding as soon as they can. Around 11, we were told by an authoritative looking gentleman wearing a full suit two things: 1) we will be boarding in 2-3 minutes and 2) we will be flying to LAX instead of San Diego because we have now exhausted the curfew extension given to them by San Diego. The plan would be to fly us to LA and bus us back to San Diego.
I nearly lost it. But I just wanted to get on the plane and get home. My new mama friends were equally as distraught and equally as anxious to just get on with it.
Then another hour passed…and then another…
Finally, around 1:15am, we were told that the flight crew has now timed out and will not be able to fly us. They claimed they were attempting to get another crew on board to fly us to San Diego.
Another hour passes…I mean, what airline employees-of-the-year are just sitting at home in the middle of the night waiting to be called into work unexpectedly?!
Around 2am, we are finally told that we are not going to be leaving that night. And we just have to wait to see what time our flight will be the next day. Half an hour later, we learned that we wouldn’t be leaving until 10am.
And this is where the mama tribe SHOWED UP. We all started Googling where we could stay and how we could get there. Hotels were BOOKED. We were trying REALLY hard not to flip out. One of my new mama friends finally found a room and booked 3 reservations for all of us. She then called and scheduled a shuttle to come pick us up.
And we all stuck together as we walked out of the very deserted Philadelphia airport in the middle of the night.
And we checked in together and made sure we all got into our rooms okay (the hotel was pretty questionable…and a drunk guy was roaming the hallways…)
And we exchanged phone numbers to make sure we all woke up on time.
And we waited for each other in the lobby to make sure we all got on the shuttle.
And we got through security and to our gate. ALL TOGETHER.
NO MAMA LEFT BEHIND.
Meeting these 2 women made one of the most excruciating travel experiences so much more bearable. I’m pretty sure I would’ve had a total meltdown (and probably multiple) if I hadn’t met them. That is the power of a mama tribe.
And, mamas, this applies to ALL things. Doesn’t it feel SO much better to go through a challenging time with someone else?! If you’re having a hard time with breastfeeding or functioning while sleep-deprived in the newborn phase or learning to love your postpartum bod or WHATEVER...how much BETTER does it feel to be supported by another mama friend going through the same thing as you or another mama friend who has BEEN there?! SO. MUCH. BETTER.Whether you NEED that mama friend or you want to BE that friend to someone else or a combo of both…if you’ve found yourself here, then you’re in the right place. And, if you want to take it a step further, click here! :)