You already read about my packing struggles in the previous post. We encountered some misunderstanding regarding our luggage at the airport that succeeded in frustrating us and wasting a bit of time, but eventually got beyond the ticket agent, through security and boarded our first flight. We first flew to Newark. Considering our previous flights to India, this 2 ½ hour flight was a breeze. Once in Newark we quickly found our gate and did not have to wait too long before boarding our second flight. We flew from Newark to London and since this one did not depart until 10pm, once the meal was served and lights turned out on the plane we all fell asleep. Thank God for non-full flights as we were able to spread out a bit and get some rest. Heathrow is a lovely airport, but fortunately we did not have to spend too much time there, just enough to stretch our legs and get ready for our third and final flight. While not any longer than the previous flight, this one seemed a bit longer because the kids did not sleep as much during this flight, but we arrived in Freetown without trouble.
We travelled much heavier than we have ever had in the past. Previously we tried to limit our carry ons to just a few and our checked baggage to less than our allowance. It was very different this time; we had 5 carry ons (2 rolling suitcases and 3 backpacks) in addition to 2 car seats for the airplane and a gate checked car seat. I knew from my trip to Sierra Leone in the fall that the kids would need car seats once outside of Freetown and this was the best way to get them there. My Dad and I jerry rigged a way that we could hook the two airplane car seats to our rolling suitcases and get through the airports easier. We still had to unhook them to get through security and get onto the plane (too wide for the aisles), but it certainly made transporting them easier. We also took our maximum amount of check baggage plus two more bags.
Miracle of miracles, all 12 checked bags made it to Freetown. I have not unpacked them yet, so not sure if all the contents made it, but at least the bags did. That was a major worry with travelling with 2 different airlines, 3 flights, through 4 airports. We arrived safely in Freetown and with the help of Pastor Joseph made it safely and smoothly through the airport and to our hotel for our first night’s sleep as a family in Sierra Leone.