Our five hour flight from Yerevan to London passed without a hitch. Baby Bird even fell asleep for a couple hours. I couldn’t believe our luck.
When we landed at Heathrow we knew a long layover awaited us. The airport was hot and sticky, and once we finished our requisite lunch of bangers and mash, we scratched our heads. Four hours left. What are a couple of tired, jet-lagged new parents to do?
“I heard there’s a play area here in the airport. Let’s see if we can find it.”
Find it we did and spent a relaxing hour watching Baby Bird delight in colorful toys the likes of which she’d probably never seen before. Watching her expressions, as she touched and discovered, was pure joy.
When we could see her energy was starting to wane, Big Papa strapped her into the Baby Bjorn and headed for the concourse. Back and forth he paced until she slumped, asleep. Sweat glistened on his neck and arms as he continued to walk, and walk for another 45 minutes to an hour. I’d catch them every lap or two, say hello and then off they went.
She woke up shortly before it was time to head for security and board our flight to Seattle. We were a few feet from the scanners when I saw the sign. No alcohol. I walked up to one of the security agents.
“I see the sign says no alcohol. That doesn’t apply to duty free, right?”
“Yes, it does.”
I pleaded. “But it’s in a sealed duty free bag from our departure city?”
“Sorry, but as London is not your final destination, your duty free liquids will be confiscated.”
Now I was desperate. “What can we do? It’s a very expensive bottle of Armenian brandy.”
“Your only option would be to check it through.”
She was polite but stone-faced. My brandy and I would not be able to board this flight together. We either had to find a way to check it or drink a few shots before parting ways.
“We have to check it through,” I said emphatically to Big Papa. “I wonder if I could make it downstairs to the British Air desk and back through security in time for our flight.”
I could see the terrified look in his eyes.
“What if you don’t make it back?”
While I knew our main objective was to bring our baby home safe and sound, the thought of having to toss that bottle of brandy in the trash really irked me. I was stewing about this when I turned and saw a small British Air counter just feet before the security line, and then I had a brilliant (or at least I hoped) idea: we could check one of our carry-on bags and stow the brandy inside.
“Let’s shuffle a few things around, and put the brandy in one of our two carry-on bags,” I said eagerly.
Big Papa looked at me like I was nuts.
“Come on, we don’t need everything we’ve brought with us on this flight,” I asserted as I knelt down on the carpet, unzipped our two carry-on bags and started tossing diapers, second sets of clothes, magazines and sundry items this way and that. In a few minutes I’d managed to repack our bags with the “essentials” in one and the non-essentials in another—and the brandy tucked safely in the middle.
I walked up the ticket counter.
“Would it be possible to check this bag? We really don’t need it on our next flight.”
“Yes, absolutely,” she replied with her lovely British accent.
And there went the bag and our brandy. See you in Seattle.
Crazy as it might sound, I felt relieved. I smiled, feeling clever that we’d pulled it off and happy at the thought our future adoption milestones could be accompanied by a proper toast, with Armenian brandy.
And then came the moment, which I’d heard would come, when I had to taste the baby food we had with us in carry-on. “Squeezable” foods like baby food, feel into the LAGS (Liquids, Aerosols and Gels): If you can pump it, pour it, spread, smear, spray, spill or squeeze it, it is considered a LAG. But they were willing to bend the rules, if you taste a small amount right then and there.
So that’s exactly what I did. I opened three jars, put my finger in the jar and stuck it in my mouth. Down the hatch went a sampling of the baby food. It wasn’t as horrible as I’d imagined (read: I didn’t gag), but I wouldn’t order any of them again if I saw them on the menu.
With the security check behind us, we headed to the gate. Only one ten-hour flight stood between us and home. All I could think about was how good it would feel to be in our own house and snug in our own bed, and how much I’d probably want a shot of that brandy.
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