Yes, the country is in the middle of a seemingly unescapable pandemic, and travel is not really advised. But going from one of the nation’s hot spots to near complete isolation in the rural outbacks of the Upper Midwest… that seemed like a win for the Glanzer family. The only issue would be the air travel. However, when I booked the tickets on Memorial Day, air traffic was down 96%. People just weren’t getting on planes. Even my South Carolina flights in March were at best 30% full. I figured we’d have a luxurious, wide-open private plane experience!

Uh… no. That luxurious, wide open flight thought did not come to fruition.

Despite an amazing well-documented run-in with a fellow Ryan Glanzer pilot on the first flight, our flights were largely disappointing… as in, they were completely sold out. Every seat. I almost certainly would not have booked this trip had I known how full the planes were going to be. One flight was canceled and rescheduled for takeoff 4 hours earlier, meaning we had to spend the night in Sioux Falls at the airport, giving us one less day on the farm. And every flight had some sort of issue due to weather, making our already tight connection times virtually impossible. But, somehow, despite having little kids in tow, tagged luggage issues at the gate, and weather issues on 3 of the 4 legs, we made all our flights, no one lost any luggage, and no one got COVID (that we know of). I found it very strange that American packed the flights 100% full, but then cut off beverage service due to social distancing. One extra person walking down the aisle would have changed absolutely nothing at that point.

Again, not realizing they were going to sell every seat, I did not book separate seats for Edie, who is still allowed to fly free for another few months. That meant a squirmy toddler in the 98th percentile for height and weight who doesn’t understand that Elmo/YouTube doesn’t work in the sky having to ride on my lap while I wore a sweaty mask on my face nearly the whole time. Oh was she a beast. Screaming, kicking, bawling, flailing around. She is too little for the excitement factor of flying. She liked looking at the planes from the airport, but once we were on-board she had no concept we were on a plane or flying. To her, she was just stuck on dad’s lap in a cramped space for several hours. On every flight, Lauren was in a different row, so there was some passing back and forth, but she largely sat on or near me. I am not sure if her own seat would have been much help.

John, on the other hand… we barely knew he was there. He sidled into a window seat, grabbed his “orange thing” (a Samsung tablet) and headphones and spaced out to Netflix for every second of every flight.

We also won’t fly when we return to the Midwest with our whole family very much in a few years. As big of a pill as Edie is on the flight, we think her riding in a car for 24 hours each way would be even worse. So for now, we will take the 5-6 hours of misery on planes with her, and by the time she’s 3 or so we can give long road trips a try. Of course, if things went according to my dream scenario, we’d be living much farther north and not have to worry about planning trips months in advance to see family and friends, and any such trips would be simply for fun vacations. But, that’s a story for another day.