Adeline's first flight was a success!! We flew to Florida for a girls' beach trip with my two friends and each of their toddler daughters (you can read more about that here).
|with Daddy about to head in!|
We chose Southwest because of their family-friendly policies and "perks":
-under 2 can sit on a lap for free; just show copy of birth certificate when you check in (you don't have to do anything in advance)
-carseat can be checked for no charge (and load that carseat bag with as much as possible- no weight ?s- diapers, beach floats, books, toys, etc.)
-you can check a stroller at the gate (my tip would be to leave the child in the stroller once you get into line for boarding until you step onto plane--I took her out in like and she got SUPER antsy)
-southwest allows two free bags up to 50 lbs. so I had a suitcase for both of us together and her pack n play as my other checked bag
-I carried on a big Vera (our overnight bag) and put overhead plus a "personal" item (her small Vera diaper backpack bag to put at my feet)
-free 24 hr advance check in online (almost always you will get A boarding) if you don't, they let families board between A and B and there are still plenty of seats
-(all airports) snacks (within reason) and meds are okay for babes plus milk/juice that can be opened and smelled to check
-(all airports) babies can be carried through security and can keep shoes on
|play time before take-off|
Hubbies helped us get all the bags checked and then kissed us goodbye right before security. That was helpful to deal with all our luggage.
We headed into security where everyone was so nice to help us - folding up strollers, explaining why they had to check certain items a second time, etc.
We made it through only having to toss a few containers of horizon milk because they couldn't be opened and resealed to check to make sure it was what the container said. My friends let them toss the containers so they didn't have to get a pat down. ;)
We found our gate, took potty break turns, grabbed a snack, and let the girls run around like mad women before getting on the flight!
|eye-squinting "cheese" as we waited to board|
Adeline was a bit nervous with take-off but simply sucked on her paci and whined for a split second. Once we were in the air, she enjoyed stickers, a drawing app (my other 50 I DL- only sorta kidding- didn't make her happy at all), a play phone, a book, and SUCKERS (biggest hit of all) worked for her. The other backpack full of toys did nothing for her (of course ;) She also enjoyed the free beverage service - ginger ale with a mini straw and lid. I did download a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode from iTunes, extra new apps, and two children's music albums before we left to use her headphones with- none of which made her happy. ;) She did not scream and squeal or beg to get up- all of the things I was so nervous she would do in this toddler stage. Whew! ;) I would be lying if I didn't say I was sweating and nervous the entire flight- BUT- it was success and she was great. Her buds and her even got tons of compliments about how great they were! So many people were so nice to help and pick up pacis when they dropped, etc.
|in flight! (sucker in hand. of course. ;)|
When we got our strollers, we took a quick potty break and headed to baggage claim (praying hard! ;) We each had two bags and a carseat. That would be 9 pieces of luggage, plus our strollers (and babies ;) and a carry on and/or personal item. We made it to the baggage claim belts and stood at a loss for a minute. The carts to rent were teeny tiny and weren't going to help. All the sudden, we grabbed a random airport employee and explained our situation. It was our "airport angel" we decided looking back! This awesome guy walked got a HUGE cart, walked us to the correct belt, loaded all luggage on the cart, took us to our car rental counter (and waited while we got our car keys), crossed the road with us with our babes and luggage, walked to our rental van with us AND LOADED OUR VAN while we put the seats in. To say we thanked him and gave him a big tip would be an understatement!! ;)
Do I think it would be easier when she was younger or when she's older (and with Daddy coming also)? Probably ;)
But would I fly again with her at this stage? Of course! She was seriously a little angel and is ALWAYS up for an adventure!
The flight home was much more relaxing for me because we were "mommy with toddler" flying pros.
Mommy facing fear of flying without Daddy? Check.
Adeline's first flight? Check.
Crazy mommy/baby with friends adventure? Check.
Memories that will last a lifetime? Check.
Memories that will last a lifetime? Check.