Saturday, April 18, 2009

Flying 101

Zoe and I recently took a trip to Colorado to support a friend of mine and her family for an amazing event in honor of her brother Cody St. John. Check out their website http://www.whatwouldcodydo.net/ for more information and what you can do to support the non-profit foundation in his name. Overall the trip was hella worth it and I'm glad I took a chance and did it. I learned A LOT from the experience and overcame a huge fear: flying with baby. Dun Dun Duuuuunnnn...

I flip-flopped with whether or not I should take her on the trip with me. Would people be upset that there was a baby in the house? Would she freak out on the flight and scream and cry??? Would I have a car seat? How would I snowboard with a baby in tow? What about a crib? How would I feed her? What are the policies on taking babies on planes? I had so many questions and I'm sure if you're reading this, and happen to have a baby that you have not yet traveled with, you do too!



*Taking in the sights*


So I have compiled a list of dos and don'ts as well as a summary of our trip below. Again, I'm no professional, but I play one in a High School! Also, every baby is different, so needs may vary. But a healthy dose of common sense goes a looooong way...


DO
  • Pack as many diapers as you can into a carry on, you never know when a flight might be canceled for *mechanical* problems....
  • If formula feeding, use drop-in bottles. I know they seem wasteful, but trust me you do NOT want to be washing a bottle in an airplane! If you're breastfeeding, don't be shy and well, you know what else you need to do.
  • Take a few books, toys are useless. Books (in Zoe's case) are a relaxing thing. She usually sits back and takes them in, which was great during take off and mid flight.
  • If you are a babywearing type I highly recomend using a sling to get through the airport. No need to wait for elevators, check strollers and the baby is close to you at all times. *Bonus, your arms are free to drink a smoothie!
  • Pack Snacks. Crackers, Cheerios, left over Annie's Pasta (try it if you haven't!). Dry snacks are best for obvious mess reasons.
  • Pacifiers are your friend. Baby's have sensitive ears and the pressure in the cabin can be alleviated by encouraging them to chill out and suck on a paci. If you don't use one, well... good luck.
  • Walk your baby around (if they are walking) as much as you can. Squirminess is inevitable. If your baby is walking and the seat belt sign is off, by all means strut your stuff up and down that aisle until the baby falls asleep!

DON'T

  • BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP! Especially if you are alone with the baby (like I was). People are generally willing and by people I don't mean airport staff (they sucked a big one especially in the security dept).
  • Wear shoes that are hard to get on and off (I made this mistake)
  • Pack tons of toys
  • Expect for things to go exactly as planned (5 flight changes later...)
  • Forget to remove your baby's shoes too when going through security! (I mean seriously?? Yes.)
  • Expect people to be helpful just because you have a baby, especially flight attendants. I had one extremely helpful one on the last flight, but the others could care less that I had a baby in tow.
  • Forget to pack your sanity!! Good times ahead!

So, you may be wondering how the trip went. Well, it was GREAT! Even with all the snafus. Sanfu, you say? Yes, we arrived in Dallas right on time and having stopped here many-a-times on my travels to Latin America, it was like seeing an old friend so I knew exactly where to go. I nonchalantly strolled to the terminal where my next flight to Steamboat Springs would be and when I arrived at the gate a small Lepruchan like man was waiting. This little man proceeded to tell me with NO emotion what so ever that my flight was cancelled and oh, by the way, it's the ONLY ONE to Steamboat today. I literally laughed outloud and said, "you're kidding right?". "NO" was all he said and then walked away!! Panic was starting to set in and I thought.... no way is this happening. I mean NO WAY!

I looked at Zoe who was happily perched in her sling and thought, no big deal. I'll figure it out. I mean, we're not going to be stuck here forever.... right? So, I went to ticketing and they booked me on a flight to Denver then Steamboat and I was scheduled to arrive around 730pm their time. Meaning, 1030pm our time. Whatever, no big deal, at least we're on a flight and going to get there tonight, right? Wrong. After waiting for two hours for our flight to Denver, which was spent eating and playing in the Dallas airport's awesome kid area, we made our way to the gate. As I was walking to the gate and happy to be getting on our way finally, a Texas twang came over the PA. Flight 484884303(whatever) to Denver has been... wait for it... CANCELLED! Are you Fing kidding me I thought. NO WAY! Yes way. And they then proceeded to get everyone on the flight in a single file line with ONE ticket agent to rebook everyone.



Then there is an anouncement that we can go back to ticketing for "faster" service. Well, I've had a ten month old, in serious need of a nap, slung around my neck and she was starting to get restless so I ran to the ticketing line, not even thinking I'd have to go BACK through security (3rd time).


*I told her not to over pack!*



*Smarter than a fifth grader*

The 'kind' gentelmen at the ticketing counter seemed concerned and helpful, but in actuality he was a dick. Ooops, did I just say that, sorry Grandma! Yes and this dick proceeded to tell me and my now napping (thank GOD!) 10 month old, that the only way we were going to get to Denver is if we went to TULSA first!! So our new flight was: Tulsa>Denver>Steamboat. See what I mean about the diapers... you just NEVER know. So we get to the counter for Tulsa, where I was officially frustrated and I see the sign: FLIGHT DELAYED 2 HOURS; TORNADOES. And OMG I almost fell over and died. I went to the gate agent and with the *nicest* tone told her that I needed to be in Denver within the next hour or else! And wouldn't you know it... there was a flight to Denver with room for Zoe and I. Amazing, how that works out, eh?





Wheeewwwwwww. So in the end we made it to Steamboat. Zoe cried only once and slept a little each flight. She was perfect. American Airlines on the other hand, well they can kiss it, if you know what I mean! The moral of the story is: Don't be afraid to travel with your baby. Be patient and flexible and all will work out. Oh, and when I finally arrived in Steamboat (a tiny little airport) a nice man who happened to have an "extra" carseat, gave it to me to use for Zoe! For free! Karma... ahhh.

1 comment:

Julia said...

Holy cow, after all of that, I'm amazed you're still encouraging people to travel with kids! I'd say, "Forget travel altogether, that sucked!" But alas, I can learn much from you, patient, flexible cousin of mine. Good work and give Zoe a high five for me for being so good on her first plane rides. :)