Sunday, 5 April 2015

Singapore To Seattle

The trip from Singapore to Seattle took a total of 23 hours and 30 minutes, including layovers (but excluding checking-in in Singapore and collecting the luggage in Seattle). That's only because we insisted on flying SQ, and the day we flew, the combination we wanted, Singapore-Seoul-Seattle (2nd leg code share with Asiana) was not available. Thus we had to fly the Singapore-Seoul-San Francisco-Seattle route.

We had a little bit of trouble checking in, because some of the luggage were severely overweight by US standards. Flying to the US, luggage is based on a piece concept. Each person can travel with 2 pieces of luggage, each 23 kg. However, that means that the maximum weight for *each* piece of luggage is 23kg. Unlike flying to Australia, for example, where a person is allowed 30kg, this weight cannot be combined. This means that while there are four of us travelling, we are not allowed 184kg (8*23kg) in total. So while we were under the total weight overall, we had some trouble because some of our pieces were way more than 23kg. They were kind enough to up our allowance to business class limit, but that still meant that our 2 largest pieces were still over the limit. While some of our smaller pieces were light enough, they didnt have any available space, so we could not actually transfer things over. In the end, my BIL went down to NTUC to buy another piece of luggage to hold the stuff we had to take out.

With all that reshuffling, we barely made it to the plane on time. They were *not* paging for us, but the plane was already boarding, and we had missed the 'travelling with young children' advantage.

The kids were brilliant on the first leg from Singapore to Seoul. Little Lady slept through most of it. Little Man got a little angtsy around the 5 hour mark and wanted off the plane. However, he was able to keep his cool and was very, very well behaved until we landed in Seoul. The Seoul layover was supposed to be 1 hour and 5 minutes, but after disembarking, going through security and early boarding with young children, I think we effectively had 5 minutes at Incheon. But I think the kids managed to stretch their legs and were more settled for the next leg.

The kids were once again brilliant on the second, 10 hour 45 minute leg to San Francisco. After the meal, Little Man again wanted out, but after a bit of convincing, he agreed to sleep. He slept through breakfast, and by the time he woke up, it was almost time to land in San Francisco.

At SFO, we passed through immigration, picked up out luggage, checked the luggage in at the transfer area, and then went to check in for our final leg. Mr Milo was able to change his flight to the same one as the rest of us were on.

We had some time to kill (maybe half an hour to 45 minutes left of our 3+ hours layover), so we had a quick bite (since Little Man missed his meal on board) and watched baggage get off-loaded from an A380.

The kids slept through most of the final leg. They even slept through the landing!

We were met in Seattle by Mr Milo's friends, S and TC. They were very kind to drive all the way to the airport to pick us up. TC even drove to our apartment here in Seattle to pick up our car first! They helped us to load up our numerous luggage, drove us home and then help us unload!

After unloading, we rested a little to recover, and then had dinner at a nice Thai restaurant in the neighbourhood.

Little Man slept peacefully, but Little Lady woke at 2am and stayed awake till about 5am.

On-board Entertainment
How did I keep a 2.5 year old and a 4.5 year old entertained on such a long flight? Did I stock up on toys and snacks and busy bags? Well, no. I did pack their favourite snacks and drinks, a book and a couple of small toys (that reside permanently in my handbag). They had their biscuits and drinks at take-offs and landings. Little Lady needed a little distraction on the first leg, so I gave her one of the small toys, Rex from Toy Story. Other than that, I didn't have to take anything else out.

Singapore Airlines did have some complementary items for the kids. Which they played with.

Of course, they were also entertained by KrisWorld. Little Man watched a movie on the first leg. Little Lady only on and off. But she wanted nothing to do with the headset. Mostly they chatted and slept.

On the final leg, we were on Alaska Airlines. One of the first things they noticed almost straight away was the lack of an entertainment system.
"Mummy, where's the screen?"

Little Man spent the first half of the flight looking out the window, and the second half sleeping, while Little Lady fell asleep almost immediately.

Ultimately, I think it was a combination of many factors - both children have travelled enough on planes to know what to expect, as well as what is expected. They were both tired from having to wake up too early and had already had their meltdowns in the airport. And, of course, luck/fortune/divine intervention.

This is the longest flight the kids have taken, and I'm so glad they rose to the occassion, especially since I was woefully underprepared for it.



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