Back from Summer
The Flu

The Flights

Of course, I would like to treat you to a lavish trip report on Australia and New Zealand. But I also have a huge backlog of things I should have done over the past 3 weeks. So I'm going to deal will some small bits now. You may recall that I was concerned about the trip -- about how I was going to manage with ELizabeth on a long flight and other about other possibilities that had afflicted women travalling recently. In particular, I was concerend about US government requests that Quantas not allow passengers to "congregate" (i. e. line up) outside the restrooms on US-bound flights.

So here's what happened: Quantas is a terrific, child-friendly airline, esspacially when compared with US carriers. There was a wall-mounted bassinet for Elizabeth to sleep in, lapchild seatbelts, very helpful flight attendents, changing tables in some restrooms. The flight over went better than I could have hoped despite weather-related delays. My cold hit hard the night before I left. So while Elizabeth was over her ear infections and was not bothered by pressure changes, I was in agony. When we landed in LA, I lost most hearing in one of my ears to a pressure problem. It didn't return until the cabin was pressurized in the next leg of the flight.

The Quantas section of the return flight was also very good. To get to the plane we had to clear security twice -- once in the usual place. And there was a second layer of security at the gate. I'm not sure if this was New Zealand-style air security or whether it was an accomodation that had been reached with the US government so pilots didn't have issue non-sensical commands to the passengers.

In LA, we changed to American Airlines. Like most US carriers, they were not particularly child-friendly. (in their defence, the 2 previous flights to JFK had been cancelled and so our flight was completely fiull, and many of the passengers were irritable.) This time passengers WERE instructed not to "congregate." When the time came to head for the restroom, I went ahead and congregated anyway, standing near several people for my turn.

No one stopped me.

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