We’re on an all-too-short vacation back in the U.S. After two intercontinental flights, plus one purely domestic flight, and over 30 hours of travel, we landed in Colorado Wednesday evening. Since then, we’ve been running flat-out with medical appointments, shopping trips, and family visits. My primary goal for the trip is to dry out from rainy season. No problems on that count since even when it rains the ambient humidity is nothing like Liberia.
The actual journey went relatively smoothly, but with a couple of bumps. Brussels Airlines continues to claim to be family friendly, but in practice is anti-child restraint device. We’ve tried rear-facing infant seats (not approved according to the flight attendant manual), forward-facing upright child seats (approved, but would interfere with the recline of the seat in front, therefore frowned upon) and the CARES harness, which is a really nifty additional shoulder harness that you put around the seat back to provide shoulder straps (“we’ve never seen them, therefore they are not in our manual, therefore not approved”). It’s really an issue because the airline’s preferred solution for the under-two crowd is a belly belt for the child to sit in the adult’s lap, even when the child has his or her own seat. The EU study on child restraint devices on aircraft indicates that this is actually MORE dangerous to the child than any other solution (except for being unsecured) because of the risk of abdominal injury during turbulence. Our main complaint is not that they have these rules, but that their website (both English and French, I can’t read the Dutch) say nothing about these additional restrictions, making it impossible for the customer to plan, and putting the flight attendants in a difficult situation.
The flight into Washington was fine, except for the twins getting air sick simultaneously upon approach to the airport. That meant that the line at immigration control had cleared out by the time we got there. Of course, coming from Liberia, we still get some additional, unnecessary health screening questions. We made it to our connection just as they finished pre-boarding. Not enough time to engineer a massive seat swap to get all of us in close proximity to each other, but we did get one parent next to each twin. The older two were stuck in the middle, next to strangers. They did fine, and slept the whole way.
The kids seem to be over jet lag already, probably because we’ve kept them moving almost non-stop. At least they woke up at their usual time this morning, rather than an hour or more early. We’ll see what happens tonight and tomorrow, but I think we’re all on the proper time zone. Of course, we’ll really get settled into routines just in time to head back to Liberia.
It’s good to be home, even if it is only for a little bit.