Well, that went swimmingly. We had an uneventful and relatively stress-free flight from Boston Logan Airport to Reagan National (DCA). Hooray! I’m sure not every flight will be like this, but none of the things I feared came to fruition. Every flight is different, but I’ll recount how we handled this flight with baby M in case there are any other first time flying parents out there who are interested.
Waking up before we went went
We decided not to try “timing” baby M’s feeding to coincide with takeoff because as my mom correctly noted, if she’s starving at takeoff she will be inconsolable until she eats. So she ended up eating around 2 AM and then we got about an hour more sleep before getting up at 4 AM. Everything had been packed the night before; we decided to fill one suitcase with all the baby stuff and our clothes for the wedding we were in D.C. for and to check a second bag.
The first thing I was worried about was getting her from being swaddled to her carseat. There is usually a 70% chance she wakes up during the exchange. Thankfully, I think she has day-night down, so she didn’t really wake up during the transfer outside of some light stirring. It did require some light bouncing first though.
We took multiple trips to get all the luggage/baby into the car, which is one lesson I have learned as a parent: everything takes longer with a baby. Longer than you might think!
Checking In and Security
I had checked in online the night before and printed out tickets for myself, my wife, and baby M. One thing to note about infant travel, the baby must have a ticket even if s/he doesn’t have a seat. I printed it up online so we didn’t need to check in at the airport.
We had planned to check one bag, but we transitioned so smoothly from the parking garage to the terminal that we decided to carry on all our bags. That meant not waiting in line at any counters (although we had the right to the priority lane with the US Airways Mastercard). There was a huge line in Logan Airport Terminal B main security, but I saw in the distance that there was a “US Airways Shuttle” security area. We walked over there and there was absolutely no line. Also, after passing through security you can double back to the main gates in Terminal B so I think I might try to go through security down there from now on (or at least remember that it’s a viable option). If you’re looking for it, if you are facing the main security area, the secondary security check is to your left.
Anyway, at security, we were asked to take out baby M’s milk and had to put the pieces of her stroller onto the conveyor belt. We should have taken the toys that hang off the handle off first because they got dirty. I had heard that some airlines allow a diaper bag for an infant in arms and TSA didn’t say anything so we managed to carry on 5 bags – two suitcases, a messenger bag, a diaper bag, and my backpack. It did take awhile to get through security and put everything back together. If I had to do it again, I’d:
– get the baby out of the stroller earlier
– take the toys off of the car seat so it could break down faster
– have milk or any other fluids out and ready to be examined
Also, I’d seriously consider checking in a bag just so we wouldn’t have so much luggage to deal with at security!
US Airways still allows families to preboard, so we were the first ones on the plane. Since it was a small Embraer 190, overhead bin space was at a premium so it was great to get on first. The toughest part about not checking any bags was getting on the plane – since I had baby M in the K’tan my wife had to drag both suitcases through the aisle herself. Baby M slept through it all.
Now our doctor had told us that the baby should be sucking and swallowing (either feeding, a bottle, or pacifier) for take off and landing to help with the pressure changes. We started getting a little worried on the way up, we obviously didn’t want to wake the baby up. I tried to give her the pacifier but she was knocked out. Ultimately, I figured she’d wake up if the pressure was bothering her and we could feed/pacify her then. Didn’t happen, so we lucked out!
Other than that, the flight was uneventful, baby M didn’t so much as move on the flight. They did make us take her out of the carrier for take-off and landing, citing government regulations. So I guess that’s a thing to be aware of.
Before we knew it, we were on the ground in DC. All in all, a great first flight!