Saturday, January 6, 2024

Mommy is in Town

It has been 6.5 years since mom's last visit to Alabama, so we were glad to have her in town again after so long. When we booked our flights for Antarctica, we intentionally planned for her to fly to US first before continuing the journey to Argentina with us to break up her journey. Even though she only spent about 2.5 days at our place this time around, it was still good to spend some quality time together before starting our trip.

This was not mom's first time traveling alone as she had previously traveled by herselft to Maldives and India in the past 1.5 years...thanks to! As such, I felt a lil' more comfortable with her traveling all by herself from Malaysia to the US. 

18-19 Nov 2023 (Sat-Sun): Penang - Singapore - London - Denver - Huntsville

Nov 18 (Sat): I intentionally booked the route with Singapore airlines (always prefer Asian airlines) but this route goes through Europe so it was a long 52-hour journey. Since mom couldn't walk long, I requested for wheelchair assistance for her journey. She had Plaza Premium and United Club lounge access to make the long journey more comfortable. 

I booked her flight in March with our United miles before the devaluation, and was able to get her roundtrip flights between Penang and Huntsville for 88,000 United miles + $157.45.

I was tracking all of mom's flights and checking in with her on Whatsapp to make sure that everything was going smoothly. 

Leg 1: Penang - Singapore
Mom's journey started smoothly at 9.15pm from Penang with a short 1.5-hour flight to Singapore. 

Leg 2: Singapore - London
After a 2.5-hour transit in Singapore (she didn't get to go to the lounge coz the wheelchair took too long), she departed Singapore on time for the 14-hour flight to London. 

As she was still enroute to London, I received a message from United notifying that her flight from London to Denver will be delayed by about 1.5 hour. I started to worry as her transit in Denver which was supposed to be 3 hours is gonna be cut short by 1.5 hours. Problem is she still has to go through immigration, pick up her luggage, go through customs, and recheck her bags. If she misses her flight in Denver, she'd have to wait till the next day for the next flight to Huntsville. I quickly called United to find out what other options are available, and the customer agent gave the option to change her flight to an earlier flight departing London with a transit via Washington or Chicago. I wasn't able to get in touch with mom yet so I told the agent not to change anything yet.

Leg 3: London - Denver
Despite the on time departure, her flight arrived London 30-min behind schedule, leaving her with only 3.5-hour for transit. Apparently, she had to wait for the wheelchair which took quite some time as well. I called her as soon as she landed and asked her to go to the United Club lounge in Heathrow, thinking that it'd be easier to sort out the flight change with the United staff. I asked her to pass the phone to the United staff at the lounge and explained the situation, but the staff said that she should have enough time for transit and that they couldn't make any changes on their end. So we decided not to change anything and kept our fingers crossed that there wouldn't be any further delays. And if worse case scenario she misses the Huntsville flight due to this delay and got stuck in Denver, she will just spend the night in Denver as United should give her a hotel voucher. 

Her flight departed London at 1pm (1.5 hours behind schedule) and landed in Denver at 3.40pm (about 1 hour behind schedule).

Leg 4: Denver - Huntsville
Mom messaged me as soon as she arrived Denver to let me know that she has arrived and that the wheelchair people is helping her. I didn't hear back from her for awhile and didn't want to bother her so she could focus on getting through immigration, customs, and security. Thankfully, immigration was fast in Denver and she made it to her boarding gate with an hour to spare. Her flight from Denver departed on time at 5.30pm and she finally made it to Huntsville at 9pm.

Hubby and I went to the airport to pick her up and went home for her late dinner. Both her luggages arrived safely and one of them were filled with goodies for me. =D

19-22 Nov 2023 (Sun-Wed): Huntsville

20 Nov 2023 (Mom): I let mom rest as much as she wanted the next day to rest up and get through jetlag before we depart again on Wednesday. We didn't do much during the day, and only met up with MiL, SiL, BiL, and nephew for dinner at Viet Hoang.

21 Nov 2023 (Tues): I took the week off from work so I took mom out for some shopping and met up with hubby for lunch at 88 Buffet. 

That's all for mom's super short visit to Huntsville before we continue our journey to Argentina together.

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