Off We Fly…
We left the US from O’Hare in Chicago on a Sunday and landed in Hong Kong on a Monday.
We left from my parents’ house in Suburban, Illinois by limo midday. Leaving the house and saying goodbye to my parents and a few of my siblings was among one of the hardest things I’ve (and the kids) ever had to do. Everyone cried. It was one of the few times I’ve ever seen my father cry. That was devastating. We said goodbye. My mom didn’t say a word to me. I apologized to her and told her I loved her. We loaded up in the limo. Dude was inconsolable. He was bordering on hysterical. Love did his best to calm him. After we got on our way, the kids started to calm down.
We arrived at the airport. My first sister was going to come see us off before we went through security. We went to the check in counter to check our baggage. The airline limited 2 checked bags at 50 pounds each person.
Yeah, we missed that number with the huge suitcases. It was going to be $100 USD per bag overweight. We were up to $400 USD.
The agent at the counter asked us why we had so much baggage and how long we were going to be in Hong Kong. I told her we were moving there, and the suitcases had a lot of stuff we needed before the shipment arrived.
She took pity on us. She spoke to her manager about waiving the fee because so many of our suitcases were not even close to the limit. She also (bless her) moved Love to an exit row for more leg room while leaving his seat open in the row of three we had. This meant Monster and I had 3 seats. She would be able to lay down. This was the first flight Monster would remember, and it was 16 hours long.
I know I thanked her over and over again.
We grabbed up our carry on bags and headed to the security line. My sister hadn’t arrived yet. We were about an hour and a half from our flight. We gave her 5 minutes before we had to go.
She made it just in time. The kids were able to say goodbye to her. She stayed upbeat and positive, which I’m not going to lie, I was grateful for. She was able to send the kids through security excited about their journey.
We started our trek to our gate. Security was quick, but the best part was the TSA agents. I swear to you, they were absolute rock stars. They were kind, considerate, patient, and understanding as we transversed security with 3 kids and a figurative ton of baggage, most of which contained electronics that needed to be removed from the bags.
They were absolutely amazing. I wish I knew their names so I could let them know how much we appreciated them.
We survived security and made our way to our gate. Love wanted to get food. After some debate and disagreement, Love took the kids to get food. I would sit at the gate with our bags and alert them when we were to board the plane.
Our flight was a bit late, so they were able to eat and return in time to board.
When we boarded, Love was in a completely different area while I had Monkey, Dude, and Monster. Monkey and Dude sat across the aisle. Monster sat with me with the extra seat.
The flight was long. I’m not going to sugar coat it. I always told the kids the only way we’d travel internationally with them was if we moved or they graduated high school (I promised them each a trip to where they wanted when they graduated high school). They seemed to get the urge to travel from me.
After they served us “lunch”, Monster laid down across the row of seats and laid in my lap with her pillow. She slept most of the flight (as did Dude). Monkey played her DS or watched movies. I struggled getting comfortable, but such is life. I was so happy the kids had a positive experience with such a long flight.
I will forever be grateful to those people at O’Hare who made this process so much easier.
NOTE: If you ever first yourself traveling to Hong Kong, please look into Cathay Airlines. They were reasonable and accommodating even if the flight was a bit late leaving (we weren’t late arriving somehow).