Trip type: Personal

Airline: Delta

Route: SNA-MSP

Apparently very confident after last week’s trip to Detroit, I was back in the air Wednesday morning and off for a quick trip to California.

Although the trip itself was short, a flight to Southern CA is no joke. As I knew I’d arrive and have to get moving right away (on both legs), I broke it to myself that I would have to pump en route. In an airplane bathroom. I did not take it well. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are my tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Although I was pleasantly surprised to find the plane had an outlet in the bathroom (how have I missed so many opportunities to re-straighten my hair in flight?!), this is not a guarantee. Thus, I purchased a battery pack for the pump as well as eight rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. I also brought a small cooler bag with frozen gel packs. (TSA will check and they must be frozen solid at security.)
  2. Get over it. As I realized in my trip to Detroit last week, you gotta just suck it up and roll with it. I don’t like talking about bodily functions with strangers any more than the next person, but I forced myself to get over it. I told the flight attendants what I was doing so that they wouldn’t beat down the door wondering why I was taking so long or try to make me take my seat if there was turbulence. (I also told them as I hoped they might let me pump in their flight attendant area in the back of the plane but no such luck.)
  3. Make others get over it. On my flight back, I caused quite a back-up of people trying to use the bathroom. Of course I felt bad that I had made them wait so long but I don’t have a lot of options here (see #2 above about hoping to use the flight attendant’s space). I walked out to find about 10 men glaring at me so I just held up the little bottles and said, “Sorry, baby business.” A few turned red. A couple gave nervous chuckles. I think we were all friends after that but you know what? I don’t care. A plane is a flying bus and we’re all doing our best to cohabit and get to point B.  Sorry that you have to fly with other humans.

Aside from pumping adventures, there was some other flying fun as well. First was the head flight attendant, Steve, who gave a very funny little diatribe about shutting off devices at the start of my flight home: “Ok people, I need them turned all the way off. You’re not clever just turning it to airplane mode. Let me tell you a little story about a guy who didn’t turn off his phone last week. His seat neighbor turned him in and now he’s on the FAA watch list for two years. So let this be your cautionary tale because today is my Friday and I don’t want to fill out that much paperwork. Just turn ’em off.” Message: Received.

Also on the way home, I sat next to a very old woman. Very. Old. She was nice enough but probably shouldn’t have been left alone in a middle seat (graciously, her son and daughter-in-law were sitting up in first class. The son sort of offered to switch seats with her when we were about an hour away from Minneapolis. She declined.). She spent most of the flight reading tabloids (favorite headline: “I’m the real life Tin Man”) and loudly hacking and sneezing into tissues which she methodically shoved under her legs until the end of the flight when she carefully drew them out from under her and stuffed in an air-sick bag. It was amazing.

Our pilot told us several times that we were going to arrive early in Minneapolis which could only mean that something would happen to ensure we didn’t arrive early after all. Just when I was thinking he might be right, literally seconds before we were going to land (the engines had been cut and everything), we abruptly aborted the landing and pulled back up into the air. There was some nervous chatter as we quickly climbed back up into the air before the pilot came on to tell us there was a plane that took too long taking off and was still on the runway when we were supposed to land. Neat. He also told us (once we were safely on the ground 10 minutes later) that it was only the second time in his 35-year career that had happened. Double neat. Please bookmark this under “Things I never want to hear from my pilot.”

At any rate, home once again, I’m looking forward to staying put. At least until next month. Which is tomorrow.