This is a story of many firsts and many disappointments, losses and findings:
First of all, it was our first flight with 2 kids.
It was our second daughter’s first flight on her 4-months birthday.
And it was the first time we had to leave the plane after 2 hours of waiting to take off, missed our next leg and got all our luggage missing.
The journey started quite well though:
For the first time, we didn’t have to wait in a long security line at Schiphol and were happy to see this improvement.
But our happiness didn’t last long.
Our plane was being delayed for about half an hour and all the drinking water fountains were out of order. No big deal – such delays are not rare, water could be refilled at a local food corner (the guy behind the counter told me they cannot refuse refilling your bottle with water, keep in mind when you’re at a Dutch airport).
Then the boarding started, beginning with families with little children. We took our seats and waited. And waited. And waited for 2 hours until the plane got so unbearably hot that the passengers demanded to be let out. An ambulance came. The day was unusually hot (over 30C) in the usually cool Netherlands.
We went back to the airport building. Nobody knew nothing: when and if we were going to take off, should we wait or go home, what happens with the connecting flight.
We were given water only after 3 hours of waiting, no food vouchers, no information. To add to the discomfort, our baby soiled all the nappies/diapers we had (yes, I’m the one advising to take as many diapers/nappies as possible but this time I failed on this).
Not knowing what to do, I posted questions on Facebook pages of Schiphol and Amsterdam mamas and got replies that nappies/diapers can be found at the First Aid or at Etos on the other side of the security.
Suddenly a woman approached me and asked if she could help. Yes, I needed help! I said we had no nappies/diapers left and she promised to get some. This wonderful woman came back with a bag containing nappies/diapers, fruit, juice and water enough for us to survive another day. She also gave us moral support, talking to us and listening which helped to vent. She was an airport chaplain.
When we boarded again, nobody was sure if we were going to take off. Quite a few passengers decided not to fly with this crew, so there was more space.
When our plane finally took off after 6 hours of waiting, there were applauses. The mood lifted.
At the Warsaw airport everything was already organized: we had to go to the terminal 26 where we got tickets for the next flight, as well as sandwiches and water.
There was passport control ahead but we didn’t have to hurry – there was no queue and our flight was delayed again. This time for “only” under an hour.
When we finally arrived, it turned out that our luggage didn’t… I even wasn’t surprised – what else could you expect from that day? We filled out the papers and went home to wait for our bags, full of tasty presents, hoping they would survive the heat and greed (we’ve heard stories of missing luggage returned with all the presents stolen).
How were the children?
This journey was (obviously) exhausting but the kids handled it surprisingly well.
The baby was happy – in the ergo baby, fed on demand, clean and dry, she was either sleeping or eating or smiling to everybody, entertaining the people around.
It was much more difficult for the toddler, especially when we had to get out of the plane as soon as she fell asleep and the stroller was already on board. We couldn’t leave the gate because nobody could tell us how long we had to wait, so playgrounds were out of the question. Fortunately, we had enough snacks and her trunki to keep her busy. She behaved surprisingly well that difficult day. On a plane she was mainly sleeping but when we finally reached our destination (it was midnight), all the sleepiness vanished – she was so happy to be on the ground again that she was running around joyfully laughing.
What about the bags?
Eventually, all the bags were found.
The first one – after 2 days, the second bag – on day 3 after arrival and our last bag – a whole week after the flight. All the bags came to different airports and the last bag was delivered home. They could have brought all the bags home but only in one go and we couldn’t wait for them a whole week. All the contents of the bags were intact, by the way.
Lot Polish Airlines, our carrier this time, promises to compensate the necessities you buy while the bags were being delayed.
They didn’t compensate the delayed flight as this was the airport’s fault.