Thursday, July 21, 2011

Up in the Air 3

As promised in Up in the Air and Up in the Air 2, the final installment of Larkin's traveling with infants advice.  Today she shares a story about the first time she flew.  I had no idea that security tests your milk!  Thank you Larkin for all your travel insight!

My daughter was 3 ½ months old when I decided to fly home (1 hour, 20 minute flight) to see my family.  I did not know what to expect since I had never flown with a baby.  Since I was flying alone, my husband and I decided to buy our daughter her own seat so that I had a place to keep the car seat in our case our daughter got fussy.  Thinking I was organized, I packed her diaper bag full of anything and everything I thought she might need.  I never check my jewelry, camera, make-up brushes, etc. because I’ve experienced airlines losing my luggage too many times.  I also had to pack my pump with accessories.  I did not want that getting lost so it went in my carry-on bag.  That was probably the most valuable thing I took with me (other than my daughter, of course)!  Security was a little tough because you have to carry your child through, the stroller does not fold down enough to go through the x-ray machine, you have to put the car seat through the x-ray machine, and you still have to take off your shoes, etc.  Plus, security has to test your milk to make sure it is not an explosive.  I was like “really, does it look like I am carrying liquids just for fun?”  But security was actually very helpful and patient with me.  Once I made it through security and had all my gear together, I was strolling through the airport with no problem.  My daughter was a trooper and continued to sleep the whole time. 
It was finally time to board our flight.  When you travel with young children, you get to board first.  I thought, “this will be a breeze.”  I pushed the stroller down the jet bridge, unclicked her car seat from the stroller, placed the stroller on the gate-checked baggage cart, and was boarding the plane.  Well, I had forgotten how small the aisles of the plane were and I had to carry her car seat above the aisle to make it fit without hitting other passengers in the face.  Even while doing this, my carry-on bag and the diaper bag were still taking out each chair I passed.
The flight attendant walks up beside me and I’m thinking “this is wonderful, she is going to help me.”  Instead, this is what comes out of her mouth, “does your child have her own seat?”

            “Yes ma’am, she does.”

            “Well, next time you need to learn to travel with less. I have three small children I travel with and I never have that much stuff. You do not need that much stuff. You really need to learn to be organized and pack less when you travel with a small child.”

            I wanted to turn around, slug her with the car seat, and cuss at her, but I thought I might get thrown off the plane if I did.  So instead I replied, as politely as I could,

“Ma’am, this is my first flight with her.  I did not know how she would be and if there would be delays, so I wanted to be prepared. I thought a diaper bag and my purse was pretty light.”
She just sighed in a condescending way and let me continue down the aisle to my seat, judging me the whole time.  I was causing a traffic jam behind me due to this encounter with the flight attendant, but I just wanted to get to our seat and take off without any more lip from the flight attendant.

            We had a very pleasant flight, and my daughter slept the whole way.  We have flown a few more times since then—sometimes just me and my daughter and sometimes with my husband as well—and ever since that first flight most everyone is very helpful and polite.

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