One of my biggest fears regarding the trip was how my daughter would react to a plane trip. We have done numerous long car trips with her since she was a baby (5-7 hours). In theory, I had nothing to worry about. Not worrying is not, however, the way my brain operates.
It didn’t help that most parenting blogs were talking, not a week prior to my trip, about the family who was kicked off a flight because they could not get their 3-year-old to sit in her seat.
I did not sleep well the night before.
Thank goodness for adrenaline…
Oh, behaviour was just part of my fear. I worried about the air pressure (we brought lollipops), I worried about having to change her, I worried about getting on the plane (we were flying SouthWest), etc.
Air pressure turned out not to be a problem. Despite our talking about using lollipops to help relieve the air pressure effect on her ears, neither Ms. Kaz nor I bothered to get lollipops before going to the airport. Oh, the diaper bag had one lollipop… one that had been in there for probably a year or so. None of the airport shops had lollipops. Finally, Ms. Kaz asked one of the newstands, and they had some behind the counter — you know, the kind they give out to kids. Of course, not once did my daughter complain that her ears were bothering her.
We chose to fly Southwest because it was the only airline at our airport which had (a) a direct flight, which we wanted to avoid lugging her, and her carseat, around many airports, and (b) flew this direct flight at a decent time (11:30am), which we wanted because we didn’t want to have to try to get her ready and out of the house before 6am.
I don’t know if you’ve ever flown Southwest, but they do not have assigned seating. Instead, you board in three groups – A first, then B, then C. It is a free-for-all. Your letter is determined by when you check in. To assure yourself of a “A” ticket, you can check-in on-line no more than 24 hrs before your flight. No problem — at work the day before, I got us some “A” tickets. But what about the flight back…? With no internet access..? A co-worker of mine had gone to Orlando in November… flying Southwest… They got to the airport on the way back 3 hrs before their flight to check in. They got a “C” pass. Despite being there 3 hrs before the flight, 140 people had checked in (most on-line, I would guess) before them.
Thank goodness for pre-boarding! After they got the wheelchair-bound people aboard, it was time for people with children under 5 to pre-board.
We chose to take our daughter’s car seat for two reasons: First, safety. We wanted to make sure she was as secure as possible, should there be violent turbulence. Here’s a tip — when you are walking down the aisle of the airplane, sit on your right if using a carseat. Sitting on the right makes it easier to pull on the strap to tighten the belt, because you are pulling toward a seat, not toward the wall. I didn’t know this on the flight there. The second reason was that we wanted to make sure our daughter would not get out of her seat. We had been prepping her for months before hand about having to “wear her seatbelt.” She even told toy Mickey Mouses this – “Hi, Mickey. Comin’ to see you at Disneyworld. Gonna go on airplane. Gotta wear seatbelt”.
Next post, we’ll cover the airplane trip (including changing a diaper in an airplane), and the rest of the first day…