Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Europe does it RIGHT!

I am very lucky in that for the most part, my children travel well.  For the most part.  :o)  They have been known to be fine in their carseats for road trips to San Francisco or Phoenix, both about six hours.  They have both flown all over America, from California to Georgia, New York, Boston, Pennsylvania and Illinois.  We have not shied away from taking our kids on airplanes.

The trip from Illinois to England was the scary one for me.  Nine hours?  What am I going to do with them???  Luckily, Maxwell was able to watch Cars three times in a row before he finally passed out.  And Darian only kicked me a few times before she did, too.  All in all, a decent flight.  I had no idea what to expect about traveling throughout Europe.  Luckily, I was MORE than pleasantly surprised!!

Well done, K Swiss, well done!!

Okay, okay.  K Swiss is a brand of shoes, but for some reason I got it stuck in my head that K Swiss was in fact the name of our airline for our trip to Spain and I can't get it out.  I can totally, 100% recommend this airline!  And Heathrow Airport was a walk in the park compared to LAX!!

You may be wondering why I am going on about this rather than diving right into what we did on our first holiday.  But I need to get this out there, because I am so impressed with how easy it was to travel with the kids last week.  I'll make it easier by writing a list rather than going on and on.  :o)

*  We walked a few blocks from our house to the bus station, to hop on the bus that dropped us off at the airport.  No hassle, no fuss.  AND THE KIDS WERE FREEEEEE!!

*  At Heathrow, our bags got priority tags so that we would be able to collect them right away when we got to Spain.  BECAUSE WE HAD TWO SMALL CHILDREN WITH US!

*  Going through security, we didn't need to take off our shoes, therefore didn't need to take off little people shoes either.  Whew!

*  With all the extra time we had, we sat down at a restaurant called Giraffe for a real lunch.  The waitstaff were the nicest, friendliest servers I have encountered in ages, either here in the UK or back in the States.  The servers loved our kids and were so nice to them!!  They had crayons (which is rare here in England), and brought the kids these little giraffe stir sticks to play with.  **Side note:  there is a Giraffe in town.  I am going to try it to see if this chain provides that experience everywhere or if it's an airport thing.

*  Our flight to Barcelona was actually two short flights on Swiss, with a short stop in Geneva.  Each flight was one hour and ten minutes long.  Up. Down.  No time for much more than a drink service, right?  WRONG!

*The pilot stood and welcomed us onto the plane and talked to both my kids.

*The flight attendants brought us toys for the kids:  two little stuffed airplanes, a book for Maxwell, a little padded picture book for Darian, a coloring book and colored pencils, and one of those magnetic sketch/wipe off thingys.

*Shortly after take off, they started beverage service.  The guy in front of me ordered a beer.  Included.

*Suddenly, flight attendants are offering all four of us a sandwich.  Nice!

*A few minutes later, a smiling lass came around with chocolates.  Nicer!

*Then back again to see if we wanted another sandwich.  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??

*The man sitting in the aisle across from me was asleep during the service, and when he woke up about 10 minutes before we landed, a flight attendant asked him if he would like a sandwich or beverage.  The guy said yes, but that he was a vegetarian.  The flight attendant returned with the man's drink, some chocolates, and a banana, apologizing that all the sandwiches that were left had meat.

*Did I mention we all got a free bag to check included with our ticket?

*In Geneva, a playplace for the kids to occupy the layover time.

*Flight from Geneva to Barcelona:  SAME EXACT THING.  (Different toys)

*In Barcelona, most of the metro stops have elevators, so walking in town with the stroller and still using the metro was no big deal.

*On our Swiss flights home?  Same wonderful service.

Seriously.  Is this just Swiss or are all airlines that take you throughout Europe this nice?  One hour flight and we got bags checked for free, food, treats, and toys?  I know gas is just as expensive here as it is in the US, and that is what the airlines there are saying is the reason for the increase of fares and decrease of amenities.  We had a great flight on British Airlines back in May, too.  Is it because it is an international flight?  I mean, our trip from London to Barcelona was the same distance as going from California to Colorado, but it was still international.  Maybe that's the difference.  Whatever it is, I LIKE IT.


Anonymous said...

I swear Europe does some things better. Sounds like air travel is one of those things! Glad your flights were so nice.

The Clark Family said...

Amazing!! Glad you got such great service, I have traveled on airlines with Gwen and didn't get anything special. One time to Texas when Gwen was 5 months, we were waiting to board the plane and Gwen was screaming her head off cause she wanted to eat, breastfeed, I didn't have time to sit in the chairs cause they were boarding the plane, I asked to go on early so I could sit and feed her (mean time all the passengers stood in line giving me the evil eye cause my kid was screaming) and the flight attendant told me I have to wait my turn, there was no special boarding!! Can you believe that!! I bet a European airline would have let me board! Glad you had fun!!

The Ramos Family said...

Wow, Jen! Europe really does do things better! I love that. I hope one day we can experience that kind of treatment too. Now, on to saving for a trip to Europe! Not sure how long that's going to take but we can still try! =)