I declare victory! We successfully traveled a significant distance, between states, via plane…with a child. The Olympics are just around the corner, and the more I think about it, the more I believe traveling with children could seriously contend as Olympic event. If the Wife Carrying World Championships can exist, there’s no reason lugging children on a cross country adventure couldn’t qualify for a medal somewhere.
Wifey and I took the 3 1/2 month old, put ourselves in a confined space with 100 other people for nearly four hours and lived to tell about it. Victory really doesn’t quite describe the level of success we feel we achieved, but we can taste it.
Preparing for our first air travel experience with the little guy felt like venturing to the frontier. An unknown land where you take everything you own because who knows what could happen. I believe we were prepared for just about anything an infant could throw our way. Liquid or otherwise. Explosive diaper? Check. Backup clothing for any sudden stains on us? Check. Enough milk for days? Check. Paci’s, backup paci’s, and secret hidden instant mute button paci in case of tantrum? Yep, had that too. We had our complete child meltdown kit stowed underneath the seat in front of us, ready at our disposal. The three of us filled more luggage than we knew what to do with, and as it sat next to the door waiting for us to leave, all I could think of was, ‘what’d we forget?’
We planned out our travel day from top to bottom, when we’d feed, when we hope he’d nap, how to approach take off and landing, which time zone schedule we were going to try and keep, we were ready to go. Fun little fact about having children, you get to have a fashionable accessory milk cooler that travels with you everywhere. Dads, get ready you’ll likely be carrying it. Just accept it and move on.
In case of a sudden lose of stomach contents, our milk supply was kept on ice and ready mid-flight. We chose to nurse right before our flight, in hopes he would nap once on board. I’m pleased to say he did just like we had planned. So glad he’s listening to mom and dad, I’m told that will last throughout his
lifetime, no? Now, we had the added benefit of spending the time before our flight in the United Lounge. It provided mom with a little extra privacy, and dad with a little pre-emptive stress reliever. It may have been only 11:30am but it was close enough for me. Donut-holes and beer, the perfect pre-flight meal. I’m sure the bartender was happy to have someone to pour for. He looked so lonely at that time of the morning, I’m convinced I was helping.
So off into the great blue yonder we went as Wyatt slept like…well, a baby for nearly the whole flight. As with most places we go, his hair seems to be a big topic of discussion, this flight was no different. He captured the attention of the flight attendants who
seemed captivated by him. Now there’s a lot to be said about the state of the airline industry. Fees for just about everything, poor customer service, overbooked flights, but I’m happy to say there are still some people out there who try to make it an experience to remember. You know, like we all remember from years ago.
United airlines is our preferred airline, mostly due to fact they’re the only airline with direct service between the two cities where the majority of our families live. We’ve had our ups and downs over time, but I have to give credit where credit is due. When asking if this was Wyatt’s first flight, the flight attended gleefully smiled when we said yes. I’m kicking myself for not getting her name, but she was determined to make his flight memorable and enjoyable. After talking for a few minutes, she left and then doubled back to check the spelling of his name, much to our interest. About an hour later she returned with a very nice gesture to mark his first flight.
He got his first pair of wings (who knew they still handed those out?) and this flight plan weather map signifying his trip and signed by the Captain & First Officer. It was a simple yet much appreciated gesture that made us appreciate her and the crew that worked hard to make his (and more importantly our) trip easier. Thank you to that United flight crew for going the extra step, it will be a nice keepsake and has been a nice story to share with family.
Traveling with children is an award worthy endeavor. Even with just one child we felt like we ran the travel marathon and survived to celebrate a great Christmas with family. It’s a victory worth the competition of TSA lines, ear pressure crying, and over planning. Let’s just hope next time is just as medal worthy.