by sumpteretc

It’s 12:30 AM, December 30 (Beijing time). I think we have about another 4½ hours on the flight from Los Angeles to Beijing. Tiffany and Elijah are watching “Horton Hears a Who.” Elijah’s headphone jack doesn’t work right so the wire for his headphones is lying across my lap. Joel is lying in his bulkhead bassinet, cooing contentedly, kicking and waving.

The flight from Kansas City to Chicago wasn’t too bad but it was definitely full. We had to gate-check Joel’s car seat and hold him the whole time. We had Economy Plus seats, though, which meant a little extra legroom.

We had a 5-hour layover in Chicago. We found some electric outlets so Elijah could plug in his DVD player and watch a little Tom and Jerry. After supper, I headed down to the gate to get seat assignments. United had way overbooked the flight; I think there were 220 names on the standby list. We got our seats, but they were 10B, 28 B and 29E. Tiff took the Economy Plus 10B with Joel, while Elijah and I headed back to the rear of the plane. Elijah’s seatmates seemed okay with him, but I finally asked a guy next to me to trade with Elijah. He grumbled about moving to a middle seat, but he agreed. Elijah’s former seatmates asked, “Why couldn’t it be a petite blonde?” I replied, “You had the petite blonde already, but I’m bringing him back over here.” Then I asked the guy in the window seat if he wanted a little extra legroom. He was amenable, so Tiff traded him and we all ended up in row 28. They showed “Ghost World” (?) but we were too tried to watch it.

We knew that we had a 12:40 flight out of LA, but we hadn’t thought about that being Pacific Time. So it was a challenge to haul our sleepy bodies through LAX. We had to take a shuttle to another terminal. Issuing the tickets on Air China took a while, and then Joel needed his diaper changed. We got through security and arrived at the gate just before they closed the door.

Since we were the last ones on the plane, there was no place for our carry-ons, but the flight attendants made room in the employee area. The bulkhead seating and bassinet have been wonderful. I had some trepidation about Air China, but so far it has been pretty decent.