We set off from Guadalajara with our 5 backpacks, and 3 daypacks in tow. Our flight from Guadalajara to Cancun was through Volaris, who has proved to be a wonderful airline to fly through. Their seats are comfortable, give plenty of leg space, the service is wonderful, and the security is impressive.

For example, when you check in for a flight out of Guadalajara, a staff member hand-inspects each piece of luggage as you wait to approach the check-in desk. The check isn’t very thorough (mostly pushing their gloved hands through your luggage without unpacking it), but I don’t mind that part. After that is done, they put plastic locking tags through the locking zippers of your bags, securing them tight and liftingcou the then-locked luggage onto the weight scale. The weighed all 5 of our checked bags at once, happy that the total weight was nowhere near their limit for 5 bags.

I had’t flown through Guadalajara in over 3 years, and I was shocked to see discover a completely new wing!  Guadalajara’s airport may be small, but they have plenty of good food options near the gates, and lots of great stores.   I also really liked their toothbrush vending machine in the bathrooms. It’s genius, I tell ‘ya!!

And I would know a lot about this bathroom. That is, because Ethan all of a sudden got diarrhea as soon as we arrived to the gate to wait for departure. This lovely “issue” immediately leaked onto his pants (I hadn’t packed extra), and since I knew we’d be traveling for the next 24 hours or more, I wasn’t about to let him have stinky pants during the entire trip.

I did what any good parent would do…I washed them by hand in the sink…

and stood at the hand drier for 20+ minutes to dry them off.

It worked.

We loaded the comfy Volaris plane, and the girls got to sit by themselves while we tried to handle busy 2-year old Ethan. (I can’t wait until electronics can babysit him, too)

Jared watched personnel off-loading luggage from another Volaris flight out the window. He pointed out that the Volaris luggage staff walked into the underbelly of a plane, and then removed all of the luggage.  After their task was done, another supervising staff member then patted down those luggage guys, presumably to make sure they hadn’t taken anything from the luggage as they moved them.

Hey, this is Mexico, after all.

I appreciate them locking my baggage shut, and going the extra mile to be sure that the luggage will stay where I packed it! 🙂 Volaris gets all thumbs up from us!

We arrived in Cancun, and had a short layover before catching a direct flight to Frankfurt, Germany. We grabbed our luggage off the belts, and instead of exiting the airport, we walked through a secure glass gate to the airport’s check-in desks for our next international flight. As we waited in line at Condor Air, Jared suddenly remembered we had forgotten one essential piece of luggage: the baby seat!

Jared stayed in line with the kids, and I ran (literally) back to the glass gate, hoping the attendant would let me run the 100 yards past her, around the corner, to where the baby seat was surely still circling on the baggage belt.

Alas, no amount of pleading could convince the airport security to let me through. I spoke to them in Spanish, and they understood exactly what the situation was, but there was no way they could let me return to get that seat. They finally told me that someone would retrieve it for me, and take it to a help desk. Thankfully, they followed through, and after checking in with Condor we were able to return and claim the babyseat through the Volaris help desk. Whew!

Ethan was briefly entertained in line…

We then trecked the loooong way through the Cancun airport to the wing that had our overnight flight departure. I wasn’t sure if our flight came with a meal, and so we found some food to eat, just to be on the safe side. Bless the server with a sense of humor that served our kids the smiley plate of ketchup.

While he did speak some English, he was surprised to have me order and speak to him in Spanish. I’d talk to him in Spanish, and he’d talk to me in English. It seems weird to me to talk to people in English (their 2nd language), when I am in their country, and I can speak to them in Spanish. Maybe he felt it was showing respect to me by speaking to be in English, and I felt it was more respectful to speak to him in Spanish. My Spanish is not great, by any means, but I can order food and carry on a general conversation in Spanish.

Alas, we boarded the plane and discovered that dinner was on the menu–Yummy vegetarian pasta with eggplant and zucchini!

Sadly, Condor Air was not nearly as comfortable as our previous flight with Volaris. In fact, it was terrible. The plane was huge–2 seats on each side, with a row of 3 seats down the middle. The seats were SO jam-packed in there, that I could not reach down and touch my toes (or retrieve anything) without doing a serious sideways shuffle. And I am FIVE FOOT. Can you imagine the comfort level of a normal-sized person?  Or perhaps my 6 foot husband?!

We strapped Ethan in his carseat, and he screamed full-lunged for about an hour. We had no choice–he was to remained buckled during takeoff, and we had high hopes that he would fall asleep (like in our car), and have a pleasant night’s sleep.

Our flight was absolutely packed with Germans, several of whom tried to say things to us (assuming we spoke German)…but we just stared blankly back!  They were all probably expressing their regret that they booked a seat next to the screaming child.

It was around this time that we realized Ethan’s little pouch with matchbox cars had been left at our friend’s house in Chapala. How could I please my screaming boy, now?!

I did what any good mother would do…

I pulled out my daughter’s My Little Ponies and a naked barbie.

“Here son, play with some girl toys.”

I’m sure the Germans thought I was crazy.

He finally calmed down, and thankfully fell asleep. Meanwhile, they served dinner, and we all watched “We Bought a Zoo” on the overhead screen (sadly, no personal TV’s on each chair, like I would have hoped for/expected on a 10+ hour flight…am I spoiled, or what?!).  After the movie, Ella fell asleep over hers and Maiya’s seat, and Maiya decided she only wanted to sleep on Jared’s lap. It was ridiculous. A four and half year old trying to sprawl on her Dad’s lap, when he’s already crammed in his seat like a sardine, trying to get some shut-eye himself.

Then, the genius man in front of Ethan decided he wanted to recline his seat. After leaning back, he left Ethan approximately 3 inches between the end of his carseat, and the back of the man’s seat. He immediately woke Ethan up, and Ethan was very upset about his lack of space. I could sympathize–it was ridiculously tight. I felt like crying and screaming like Ethan, but I held it together.

Instead of beating the man in front of Ethan with a travel-size pillow, Ethan spent the night in my lap, and Maiya in Jared’s lap…as we both sat ridiculously upright all night without any space or comfort for getting some good zzzz’s in.

It was awesome! Morning couldn’t come soon enough!

Condor Air served us cute little breakfast packs…although some of the food was a bit of a mystery to us.

What was Vollkornbrot?  Was it meat? It was thick, it was red, it was compact…it even smelled funny. I determined it must be meat. But no, the photo showed you making a sandwich out of it!  I checked the ingredients, and realized it was rye bread. Hard, thick rye bread.

This sandwich was for photos only–none of us could stomach that after our night on the airplane. Can something count as bread if it doesn’t look or taste like bread? Hmmm…not sure about that.

But hey…we survived.

Ten and a half hours on an overnight flight from Frankfurt to Condor was not fun. It was “cheap”…about $570 per person. But was it worth it?  Would I have been willing to spend $200 more per person for a night of comfort?  That’s $1,000 more for a flight for our family of 5 for one night. Hmm…that’s a high price for one night.   I guess cool experiences come with sacrifices. We survived Condor…now bring on Europe!

4 Responses to “Direct Flight to Europe”

  1. It’s hard to fork over the extra money, esp if you aren’t sure there really will be any better comfort or service. But you did survive to tell the story 😉

    Enjoy Europe.

  2. Holy terrible night, batman! Glad you made it safe and sound and in one piece. I would love to see pics of Ethan playing with girl toys.

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