The kids and I left super early on the 15th December. Love was not coming right away because he still had to work.
We had some issues at the airport. We were not flying an American carrier this time. We were flying the Hong Kong Airline where we had a layover in Beijing. Then we had to fly Hainan Airline. I had tried to check in online for our flights, but it wouldn’t let me because Monster was too young. This is not something we have ever encountered before. I have always been able to check us in online. I am not sure if it was a new rule for all airlines, or if it was just specific to the airlines we were flying because they were not US based. We ended up having to go to the counter.
It took so long to get through to where they were doing final boarding call for our flight.
Our Flight from HK to Beijing
The first flight to Beijing went well. We were able to sit together. It was a shorter flight. About 3ish hours. The kids were happy because they had the video players in the seats even though it was a short flight. This was our first time with Hong Kong Airlines. It wasn’t too bad. The leg room was pretty good (though I’m short, so that may not mean much). They served food on the flight. Bub actually ate it because it was dim sum. It was a pretty uneventful flight.
Layover in Beijing Airport
We had a layover in Beijing for about 4 hours. It was an interesting experience. We had to go through security again to get to our gate to get to Chicago. This security check was for anyone not a Chinese National. It was slow going for the most part, and it was difficult to navigate or know the expectations because English was a bit lacking. We made it through though. The kids had so many electronics and everything had to come out of their bags. I was felt up pretty thoroughly. I assume it had to do with my bra, but I can’t know for certain.
Other than that, it seemed to go pretty smoothly. We found some food for the kids, and we hung out a bit to wait for our flight. This flight was through Hainan. Another airline we’d never used before. This was one I had been warned against taking. Others at work expressed sympathy because we were on that airline. I will say it wasn’t United, but it wasn’t bad. The films were old, but they still had them. The seats had a decent amount of leg room (again, short here, so take that as you will). The food was airline food. The best food on an airplane I’ve had was ANA, so I knew this wasn’t going to be good. It didn’t make us sick, so that is a plus.
From the Air to the US
It was a pretty uneventful flight. The kids watched films or slept. I felt bad for the guy next to us, because I’m pretty sure Monster kicked the guy next to us in her sleep. It was quite an experience to get through US immigration. It took us around 1.5 hours to do. The kids were so good though. As stressful as it was to travel on my own with all three kids, they were so good. They cooperated. They listened. They went with the flow. They helped when I needed it. I know my kids are older (17, 12, and 10 at the time), but two are also special needs. I am lucky my children are so awesome, I think.
Finally we got through and got our bags and exited the terminal to find my parents and brother. It was so good to see them. I know I had been there in August, but for my kids, it had been a year. So it was so happy to have everyone together again.