Last month I wrote about preparing for my young son’s first plane ride. I wouldn’t quite classify vacationing with a five-month-old as relaxing, but everything went pretty well! I heeded the advice from many and had a bottle prepared in the event baby’s ears bothered him during take-off and landing. He didn’t seem to need it for either trip, but I was happy to be prepared! I definitely over-packed but can’t quite decide which items I could have left behind. Here are some things I learned from Gary’s first plane ride:
First Plane Ride Aftermath
· It turns out that my child is a much better flier than I am. Our morning started out chaotic as we almost missed his first plane ride due to getting a later start and hitting the usual Chicago traffic. I, of course, was in a panic, but thankfully my seasoned traveler husband (who prides himself on running late and making all of his flights anyway) knew all the tricks to make it happen. We unfortunately boarded so late that not only did our car seat not find a spot on the plane, but we couldn’t sit next to each other. He sat in front of me and held the little guy while I dealt with my fear of his first plane ride and attempted to act like a normal person. After take-off the kind stewardess asked a passenger to move so we could sit together – much to the displeasure of one grumpy flier who ironically was annoyed to be sitting next to an infant anyway. Go figure …
· Bringing the stroller was key! We debated up until the last minute if we would bring it with us. We had one to use while on vacation, but a friend suggested we bring it just to help us through the airport. That was wonderful advice. Running through the airport to catch a flight is much easier when you can push the baby and car seat. It also made for a nice luggage cart once we landed in California.
· And speaking of running through the airport, GET THERE EARLY. This advice was lost on my husband, who swore there is never traffic heading to the airport on a weekday morning in Chicago (really?!). So we cut it as close as possible, and we made it, but the stress level rose significantly. Did I mention that baby G ruined his first travel outfit with a diaper explosion on the way to the airport? We didn’t have time to change him until after the plane had taken off. Plan for these all-too-common baby events and give yourself more time than you would ever think you need.
· Bring more bibs/extra outfits and fewer toys. I always have an extra change of clothes for my small fry, but I wasn’t expecting outfit number one to be ruined by a number two before we even got out of the cab. By the time we reached our hotel he was ready for a fourth wardrobe change. And as much as I like to refer to certain toys as his “favorite,” I am pretty sure if he can chew on it he will love it. I didn’t need the five toys I had, one would have probably been sufficient.
· If you can get the car seat on the plane, do it. Even if you didn’t pay for a seat and are traveling with a lap child, most airlines will allow you to bring the car seat if the plane isn’t full. We almost exclusively travel Southwest Airlines for various reasons, and since seats aren’t assigned it’s easy to do. On the way home we got there before the entire plane was boarded (imagine that!), and we had all three seats. We managed okay without it on the first flight, but having the car seat for him was a wonderful bonus. It doesn’t hurt to ask before you check the seat at the door.
We will be flying again in about a month. This time I will be traveling with the baby on my own. I am glad to have gotten his first plane ride under our belts and am hopeful that he will enjoy the next one, too!
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