Our flights to Tennesse were uneventful. Unfortunately things did not go as smoothly on our return trip. We left our Kingsport home for the 90 minute drive to Knoxville around 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 29th. We arrived 2 hours before our scheduled departure. Brian dropped all of us off at the terminal where a very nice man helped us get all 9 checked pieces of luggage (including 2 car seats) and carry-ons to the ticket counter, printed our boarding passes, etc. while Brian parked. While printing our passes we noticed our flight had been delayed a few minutes.
We made it smoothly through security (not easy with coats, 9 pairs of shoes, double stroller, etc) and proceeded to our gate. As we waited at our gate the departure time was updated to include a longer delay. We finally boarded the plane around 1:00. Our original departure time was 12:30.
Once on the plane the door was closed, the flight attendant went through the safety info and we were ready to depart. Just as we thought we were ready to leave, the pilot announced all traffic into and out of Memphis had been stopped due to heavy thunderstorms. He said he would receive another weather update in 25 minutes. After several more updates, we finally left Knoxville at 2:30. We knew we were in danger of mising our connection to LAX but hoped it had been delayed due to the weather as well.
When we arrived in Memphis we discoverd our flight had been able to leave on time. The next flight to LAX required a 5 hour wait! As Brian talked to a very irritable and unhelpful gate agent, I told the kids we were going to use this opportunity to show how Christians should handle adversity. We were not going to show our aggrevation or be irritable with others. We were going to maintain a joyful spirit and be content with God's providence over our circumstances.
Thankfully everyone else we encountered was very helpful. One lady gave us $80 in meal vouchers. Our biggest problem was we were no longer all seated together. The oldest four children would be scattered throughout the plane. Ashley handled this news ok, but the other 3 were quite upset. Just before boarding the gate agent was able to get all 8 of our seats together! This was truly a gift from the Lord.
The rest of our evening went well. Most of the children slept at least some portion of the flight home. We arrived in LA at 11:00 (pacific). By the time we got to our house, it was 12:45 a.m. It was 1:30 by the time Brian and I went to bed. We had been up for over 22 hours, and Brian had a 7:30 meeting.
We are grateful to the Lord's protection over us and his provision for us during all of our travels, however neither of us are ready to fly again anytime soon. Brian says when we leave CA we will be driving! (and sightseeing along the way)