James Van Der Beek Kept It Shockingly Cool During Nightmarish 11-Hour Flight Delay with His 5 Kids
"People kept asking how we were doing this with five kids... I kept secretly wondering how they were doing it without them," the proud dad said
James Van Der Beek endured WB-worthy drama getting home from vacation over July 4th weekend.
Actor James Van Der Beek, known for his role as the title character on the beloved series Dawson’s Creek, was stuck with his wife Kimberly Van Der Beek and their five young children on a Delta flight from New York City to Los Angeles filled with delays — 11 hours worth of them, in fact.
The former Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 star documented the experience on his Instagram, sharing shots of himself and his wife as they tried to keep son Joshua, 7, and daughters Gwendolyn, 1, Emilia, 3, Annabel Leah, 5, and Olivia, 8½, happy over the course of the nightmarish travel day.
Problems began on Saturday afternoon not long after the Van Der Beek bunch boarded their flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport. According to James, a mechanical problems with the aircraft kept them stuck on the tarmac for three hours. Eventually, they were told that the issue — with the plane’s hydraulic system — couldn’t be fixed and they’d need to change planes.
“We were out on a bus back to the terminal,” the actor, 42, wrote, noting that the bus didn’t have air conditioning to beat the city’s 91-degree heat.
Getting another aircraft didn’t happen anytime soon. The Van Der Beeks waited four hours in the terminal before hopping on a bus, this time after the sun had set, to take them to their next flight.
That flight was supposed to be nonstop, but had to make an unannounced landing around 3 a.m. in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to get a new crew for the plane.
By the time they landed, it was 4 a.m. Los Angeles time.
Though they were back in California, the troubles didn’t stop. The plane crew kept the family, and the rest of the plane’s passengers, on the aircraft for one last delay.
“Despite all the apologies for all the inconvenience they’ve caused, they don’t have a gate agent here to let us off,” a frustrated James explained as a Delta pilot announced that jetway troubles were adding further delays.
“A lot of kind, good people working for this airline… doing their best and trying to help,” James added. “Management, however? Could use some improvement.”
Eventually, the Van Der Beeks made it home at 5:27 a.m., “for a total 11 hour delay.”
As frustrating as it was, James, Kimberly and their kids appeared to take the waiting well and keep their cool. They even “made a lot of new #TravelFriends,” James joked.
So how did he survive that stressful situation without blowing his top?
“One piece of advice I once got that seems to hold up: Whenever you’re frustrated by something out of your control, do your best to empathize with the people on the receiving end of that frustration — especially when they’re not in charge,” James wrote. “It’ll add years to your life.”
“Takes some effort and everybody slips up in moments, but I think it got me through today,” he added. “That, and knowing my kids were watching me.”
In fact, having his kids by his side was the only way James would want to do it.
“People kept asking how we were doing this with five kids… I kept secretly wondering how they were doing it without them,” he wrote on Instagram, captioning a photo of him, Kimberly, and their kids, “#mycrew.”
This isn’t the first time James has documented his travels with his large brood.
Before their trip from New York, James and his family had a tropical vacation to Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. The Pose star and his family also took a road trip to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada near the end of 2018.
In June, James opened up in a Father’s Day Instagram post about the difficulties in fatherhood but also the blessings that come with being a dad.
“For me, being a father means having that quiet little voice inside of you that says ‘Be a better man,’ get louder and more consistent … to the point where you can’t really remember where that voice ends and where you begin,” the actor wrote. “It means being tired beyond what is probably healthy, and patient beyond what you previously thought possible. And even though you know you’re far from perfect … being a father also comes with an unshakable awareness that all your actions have consequences — context that reaches far beyond your own self-interest.”
He continued, “It’s scary to feel that interconnected with the rest of the world — especially with your heart now walking around outside your body — because it demands more personal responsibility … but it will make you a better man. Of at least that I’m sure.