If you're reading part 3, I sure hope you've read Part 1 and Part 2.
I'll leave off from there. We had just made it through security at Denver International Airport. I pushed Kaylin into the elevator to head down to the waiting shuttle trains. Our flight was leaving from Concourse B, and everything at DIA is at Concourse A. Thankfully it wasn't along train ride, but still being exhausted didn't help. We manage to catch the leaving train by a hair. One short stop away from the Concourse, it was downhill from here. Which was a good thing because it was 5:10 and we had barely any time to stop and think. I managed to find the elevator, and got to the floor. I was not going to brave an escalator with that stroller packed full and everything else. We passed by the food court and my mouth watered. I was starving, and there was over priced American fast food. I was so tempted to stop and grab something, but I remembered that we're going to Chick Fil A right after we land. Instead of stopping, I pushed by all the tempting food and headed down the long concourse hall way. Our gate was at the very end of the concourse, our plane was so small. What did I expect going from Denver to Colorado Springs?
I found some pay phones close to our gate and call my parents. It was so good hearing my dad's voice on the other end of the line. I was actually calling him from the same time zone. (He was the one that noticed and asked, me I was not that clever at this point) I told him our flight was leaving on time and all the jazz of flying, hung up and let Kaylin walk around the gate area for a few minutes. Then we headed up to the gate to see if we could possibly be allowed to board early, like we did in Frankfurt. The lady said sure but then never called for it, which annoyed the crap out of me. We got in line just like everyone else and managed to get down to the plane. I'm not sure how many of you have ever flown from Denver to Colorado Springs, but the plane is tiny (which makes me nervous), the flight is short, and you walk out to the plane. There is no long tunnel, you hand your ticket to the person at the door, walk through the door out into the flight area and board the plane. I sort of felt like a super star boarding my own personal plane, until I remembered how much of a pain it all is. Its cramped and tiny. I push the stroller up to the gate people, they hand me a ticket, and fold up the stroller so it can be gate checked.
I wander up the tiny ramp carrying Kaylin, Lovey, the carry on, the diaper bag and the car seat. I manage not to hit anything and I'm sure I looked super awkward but whatever. I get to the plane and the flight attendant takes the car seat from me. She looks at the labels, looks at me and says, "Sorry you can't use this on the plane. Its not aircraft certified." Please remember, at this point it is almost 2 am in Germany. I am EXHAUSTED, stressed, hungry, and annoyed.
"What do you mean I can't use this? I used it on the plane from Germany no problems." You have GOT to be kidding me. This just gets better and better.
"I'm sorry ma'am, you can't use it. Its not airline approved." By now I was livid, on top of everything else. I shook my head, complaining to myself.
"Fine whatever, I'll hold her." I maneuvered my way to our seats which wasn't easy. The aisle was narrow and I had Kaylin on one hip and our carry on on the other. I finally managed to get seated and buckled. I chose the window seat so that we could look out at the window as we flew. We managed to make it the entire flight without much issue. Kaylin got irritated a few times but I just pointed out the window and described to her what we could see. It was nice being low enough to make out homes, stores, and hospitals. We landed and I just sat there with Kaylin, waiting for the plane to clear enough so that I could get out without whacking anyone.
A nice man offered to help carry a few things so that it was a bit easier. We got off the plane and this time we didn't have to walk outside. We waited at the end of the tunnel for the car seat and stroller. The car seat came, everyone else's stuff came and no stroller. You have GOT to be kidding?! At this point I'm beyond irritated. I ask the people where my stroller is, and they all shake their heads. One of the people says that it probably got sent with the luggage. WTF, I GATE checked it for a reason! She continued to explain that the tag probably fell off and they just sent it to baggage claim.
Thankfully the Colorado Springs Airport isn't big, but I'm not going to lie...trying to juggle an over tired 1 year old, a full carry on, a diaper bag, Lovey, and a car seat all while being completely exhausted yourself is just too much. I can't tell you the number of times I tripped on the strings of the car seat. Finally, after ending up in tears, a nice flight attendant lady was walking by and carried the car seat for me. We made the hike to where my family was standing and I was done.
10+ hours of traveling and I was FINALLY home. Kaylin got passed around my family, I got hugs and we were heading down to get our luggage. And look, there was my stroller going around and around, tag still in place and everything. Honestly, I wouldn't have been surprised if steam was coming out of my ears. I was still in tears and just finally home. We loaded up my parent's van got Kaylin all set and headed up for our first American fast food meal (well mine in 2 years), Chick Fil A.
Thanks for sharing this journey with me. It was long, exhausting and overwhelming, but I am so glad to be back home. I know that whatever I'll be doing, where ever it all ends up, I'm supposed to be there and I've got a beautiful little girl to accompany me on the journey.