Considering that we pretty much had no idea what we were doing, our first flights with kiddos went extremely well. With the holidays and snow and extra travelers and sickness (and morning sickness), there were a lot of factors working against us, but I have to say, Harrison and Raegan turned out to be top notch fliers!
Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to highlight this story. I’m kind of a Type A Nutter when it comes to following the rules, even when I’m not sure something is a rule. And seeing as I didn’t want some TSA official or flight attendant tackling me and taking my camera away, I kept it safely tucked away in my very large and very full shoulder bag (part of our success, I believe, was coming armed and ready for just about anything from snacks to toys to books to wipes to you name it, we were probably carrying it. I consider it my holiday gift to my chiropractor as I’m probably going to need an extra adjustment in my neck the next time I see him!). So please don’t laugh at me for not knowing/thinking cameras are taboo in airports or planes; it is entirely possible that I was also a wee bit too busy keeping track of one husband, two kids, two carry ons, one very large and very full shoulder bag, one diaper bag, and one Angry Birds backpack to snap any photos!
Plus, I have to say, I wanted to do nothing to anger the TSA Fates because we had such amazing luck getting through security at both Omaha and O’Hare. Seriously. Both times it was quick and painless and without question. And that’s even with me forgetting to take out our little plastic baggies of toiletries in Omaha and with my name being wrong on my tickets. Yes, that’s right. When Ben ordered our tickets (back in July when we were very, very, very sleep deprived), he put my ticket in my maiden name. What the what?! So when he called United Airlines earlier this month to ask about it, he was told we needed to bring our marriage license and an old ID of mine that showed my maiden name because there was no way to change the name on the ticket. Well, done and done with the marriage license business, but an old ID? I certainly don’t have a driver’s license with Jennifer Moore on it sitting around anymore, so I just tossed up a hope and a prayer that they wouldn’t actually ask for that. It didn’t occur to me until we were in Chicago that I could have brought my old passport, but seeing as it was never an issue, it was never an issue!
Our first flight, last Saturday, went really well. So well, in fact, that we were in Chicago 15 minutes ahead of schedule which turned out to be the only real downfall of that leg of the trip; Harrison was not real cool with being back on the ground but still stuck in his seat (I know most adults can relate) for that extra 15 minutes it took for our gate to open. But, he persevered and we eventually got off the plane. Our return flight on Wednesday was a little less smooth. First, when we got to our gate shortly before boarding for our flight that had been on time when we arrived at the airport, there was no plane. Not really a good sign for leaving on time, you know? So we sat and we waited and watched the departure time slowly creep back on the screen, three minutes at a time. Finally a teeny tiny little plane (OK, not like a five-seater or anything, but still, it only had 13 rows which is not my favorite size of plane!), pulled up, unloaded, and was then ready for us. We got on probably half an hour after our original departure time, which was OK, but then we had to sit and wait for the de-icer to come and then the push crew to come and so on and so on, and so it was probably well over 45 minutes on the plane before we got in the air (which was NOT a smooth ride going up, either!). Did I mention that all of this was taking place after 5 p.m. and that my children are usually fed and in bed by 7?!
Even with the little snafu on Wednesday, Harrison and Raegan were airport rockstars. You would think they did this all the time, Harrison especially. He was jazzed to arrive, ride the shuttle, and go through security. He helped put his items in a little basket for the x-ray machine and walked through the metal detector all by himself, no problem. Walking through the tunnel to board the plane, getting situated in his seat, and drinking orange juice in the air were also all highlights for HD. And you wouldn’t believe how happy he was that we got dropped off at the wrong terminal in Chicago which meant escalators (“eskalvators”, in his words) and a tram ride to get to the correct one! And our teeny tiny plane? Well that was pretty sweet in his world, too, because it meant we got to go down the “restricted” stairs, walk outside, and then climb up in the aircraft. Top all that off with plenty of Campfire time during the flights, and the kid was in seventh heaven!
Thankfully, neither HD nor RL had tummy or ear issues on either flight. Raegan got a little squirmy at times seeing as she didn’t have an actual seat to call her own, but she did an amazing job for a wiggly little one-year-old on her first plane ride. A bottle during take-offs helped with her ears, I think, and other than that it was snacks and books and whatever else we could think of to entertain her to pass the time. She did a fair amount of smiling and people watching, too, which probably helped all of us.
While we may have had a few people cringe when they saw us get on their flight or sit down behind them, we really did pretty well and I don’t think we ruined anyone else’s flight with crying or whining or what-have-yous. Our stay with family in Chicago went really well, too, so altogether, even though it has kicked us in the behind on our return, it was very worth all the hubbub to see how much our babies love to travel and explore.