Let me begin by saying that I don’t recommend working on the same day that you plan to leave on a week-long trip to Europe. I did it on the day of our departure and I don’t think it’s a good policy. As you can imagine, the day got away from me and I worked up until the minute that we walked out the door to head to the airport. GULP. Even though we were packed and prepared, I still felt a bit anxious as we left the house. And I hate feeling anxious about travel.
We left our house at 3:45 pm, picked up smoothies from our favorite juice place, then picked up George from school. We were back on the road to IAH by 4:15 pm and it took us an hour and ten minutes to get there. Blerg. The 4th of July Weekend Holiday traffic was no joke.
We parked at Terminal E and checked our luggage with United. There were no lines, and it only took us 15 minutes to clear security. Afterwards, we walked to Pappadeaux (a seafood restaurant in Terminal E) for dinner. I was so wound up from the day that I didn’t eat very much. Fortunately, John and George didn’t have that problem.
After dinner, we walked Terminal E for a bit before picking up water, changing George, and making sure our bags were organized. I surprised George with new pajamas and he was excited by the fire trucks on them. He is obsessed with fire trucks these days.
We boarded our flight right on time and George was mesmerized by the plane.
The last time we flew a Dreamliner as a family (2014), he was a baby, so everything was new to him on this trip.The Windows!
The Seat – it moves!
He was so excited he could hardly sit still. I would be lying if I said that the sight of it all didn’t melt my heart. We flew first class on this leg of the journey and it was fabulous. The seats were lie-flat and the crew was top-notch. We never wanted for anything and were gifted with these cool limited-edition Olympic travel kits. Each kit included socks, a sleeping mask and lots of toiletries.
We were up in the air as scheduled and George quickly fell asleep once we were airborne. I was nervous that the meal service would wake him, but it didn’t.
Once G was asleep and comfortable, I relaxed a little and ordered a cheese plate (we passed on the formal dinner offering).
I ended up sharing my snack with John and it was perfectly satisfying. Afterwards, it was lights out for me. Then it was lights on an hour later. I simply couldn’t sleep. John and George both slept really well though. I passed the time by reading newspapers and texting with friends. It was actually quite relaxing and gave me opportunities to look over and check on George without feeling too anxious. Flying with kids can be stressful and when you factor in overnight schedules and sleep, there is a whole lot of risk factored in. That said, I’m really grateful that George was able to get quality sleep.
Our flight was peaceful and quiet, despite the presence of many kids in first class. After talking to many of the nearby parents/passengers pre-flight, we learned that many of the kids were relatively seasoned travelers. I know some folks frown on traveling with kids, especially in the first or business cabin, but we don’t agree with that sentiment. We want to expose George to as much of the world as possible and he seems to enjoy it. Besides, we are hopeless wanderlust and we hope to pass that along to George. Also, George is very well-behaved and is a good traveler. If this were not the case, we probably wouldn’t travel as much.
About an hour before we landed, the crew served breakfast. Our entrees were cereal, yogurt and milk (John and George chose this), or an omelette with sausage and potatoes (my choice).
Both choices came with fruit, baked pastries, coffee, juice and tea. Breakfast was really good, but I wasn’t very hungry.
While we were filling out our landing cards for immigration, I accidentally dropped mine between my seat and the console. GULP. Thankfully, I was able to fish it out with my freakishly long fingers. Ha!
We landed an hour early (our flight took just under 8 hours) and had plenty of time to clear customs, immigration, and to retrieve our luggage. We even had time to pop into the United Arrivals lounge to freshen up. While John and George had some snacks, I did a little freshening up. Sometimes brushing your teeth can greatly alter your day and this was the case for me. It was an instant wake-up.
We took the Heathrow Express to Terminal 5, checked our bags with British Airways and quickly passed through security. For what it’s worth, the security at LHR is incredibly efficient, yet exceptionally thorough.
We walked to Gordon Ramsey’s Plane Food restaurant for a quick “lunch.”
George had the macaroni and cheese while John and I noshed on a small salad, soup, fries and pasta. It was a quite the little buffet. Our bodies were on a different time table, so we weren’t sure what type of meal we were supposed to be eating at that hour.
About an hour later we boarded our flight to Scotland (around 3:20 PM). Our flight was delayed due to weather conditions and all three of us fell asleep while we were waiting for take-off. Once we took off, our flight was a quick 60 minutes. The crew served beverages and snacks, and G occupied himself with two episodes of Paw Patrol. John and I tried not to doze off, but it was a challenge.
We landed at the Edinburgh airport and quickly picked up our bags and a rental car. We rented a car seat for George and he rode forward-facing for the first time (a must do to Scottish law).
On the way to the hotel, we got into a minor car accident with a taxi. I’m not sure if it was the jet-lag or John’s first time driving in Europe, but it wasn’t exactly how we planned to begin our adventures.
We eventually made it to our hotel (the Waldorf Astoria Caledonia) and had a very quick check-in. We were so tired when we arrived that we immediately ordered dinner from room service. We inhaled our food, unpacked, and got ready for bed as quickly as possible.
…and just before bed we realized that we left a bag at the Edinburgh airport. The bag was originally a carry-on in Houston, but we checked it in London to free our hands. Blerg. So while George and I took baths and got ready for bed, John returned to the airport to get our bags. He ended up watching soccer in the swanky hotel bar when he returned, so it all ended well.