• I’m what’s called a White Knuckle Flyer. A more accurate description would be a White Knuckle Teeth Clenched Swear/Pray Every Time The Plane Moves Enough To Cause A Ripple In The Fifth Bloody Mary I’ve Downed Since Takeoff. Logically, this makes no sense. As an Air Force brat, I grew up around pilots. Our good friend’s dad is an airline pilot. Another good friend is a Marine aviator. My best friend was a Naval Aviator. A plane is built to fly; per the laws of physics and aerodynamics, it (I’m quoting someone here, can’t remember who) wants to fly. I know more about planes than the common schmoe, and they still scare the bejesus out of me.  TIP: Xanax, although the one-and-a half tabs I took over the course of two hours didn’t help as we bounced and rattled flying out of Denver. The meds did, I’m proud to say, prevent me from shrieking “THERE’S A MAN ON THE WING!!!” and leaping out the window somewhere over Utah in a desparate attempt to save the plane from certain destruction.
  • Denver and Omaha airports: not kid-friendly. Omaha – no changing tables in the Men’s rooms. Denver – no highchairs at the airport cafes. TIP: the moving walkways make for an excellent distraction/workout for toddlers. Simply place toddler on the walkway so that he’s going opposite the walkway’s direction, and release. Voila – treadmill. This kept Lucas in stitches for twenty minutes. It did not, as hoped, tire him out.
  • Airplanes in general: not kid-friendly. TIP: non-stop redeye flights and a dose of Benadryl for the kid (serves two purposes – helps with the ear pain that can occur during altitude changes, and knocks ’em out). If you can’t get a non-stop, plan the kid’s naps accordingly. Don’t do what we did – let the kid sleep on the short leg of the flight (Omaha to Denver, one hour in the air). You’ll regret  it during the long leg (Denver to Burbank, a two hour and twenty minute horror show, complete with crying, jumping up and down, throwing pacifiers, and kicking the back of the seats in front of us. And that was just me. You shoulda seen the kid. Ba-dum-bump!)
  • United Airlines. With one exception (the nice flight attendant who gave Lucas a cookie),the rudest, most inept customer service people I’ve come across in all of my airline adventures. TIP: Build your own plane and fly it before flying United.
  • TSA people. Without fail, courteous, polite, and explained everything they were doing when they checked out  our luggage. Surprisingly, this was the most hassle-free part of the trip. A government agency, doing something right? Go figure.

Still, most of the flight to and from Omaha was pleasant – Lucas loves airplanes, and with the exception of that last leg either slept, sat on our laps and looked at books, or looked out the window, every so often exclaiming “WHOA!” at the sight of it all. In hindsight, I’d give our travel experience a  3 out of 5, although given the choice between flying west out of Denver and suffering Lumpy the Cook’s fate in the new King Kong