We went on our first big family trip last week! Seth’s firm had their partner retreat in Chicago and, after missing it last year because my foolish husband thought I’d be bored, I wasn’t about to let having a baby get in the way. It’s hard to get bored in a swanky hotel that is surrounded by all sorts of shopping, I explained. Many thanks to The Firm for our long weekend at The Peninsula!
Of course, getting to Chicago was another matter. We had taken a practice flight to Mammoth for some marriage therapy. Avery slept the entire way, so we were crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. Other than the diaper change, during which Avery’s $#& almost hit the aircraft ceiling, it was smooth sailing, er, flying.
She spent almost the entire flight asleep here:
Overall, it was pretty easy with a little baby who isn’t crawling yet. Thank goodness, because I’ve learned that people are very opinionated about children on planes. After telling a friend about a family flying with a baby and toddler in first-class, he sent me this article from The Wall Street Journal – Flying With Little Children? Go to the Back of the Plane. I was returning from our “babymoon” in Maui and Seth had upgraded me to First Class to give me some relief with my ever-growing belly. On the front-row aisle adjacent to me was a grandpa sitting next to an older baby in a forward-facing car seat. The flight attendants noticed me eyeing the boy nervously when he started fussing. “We were wondering if you were dreading what you were in for?” she laughed. Yes, as a matter of fact, that is exactly what I was worried about! But, when the mom came and got the baby from a few rows back and sat her toddler in the car seat, I realized they were geniuses! There was plenty of space in the front row for a kid in a car seat and ample space for mom and dad to handle a long flight with 2 little ones and grandpa.
In that particular case, having a car seat was no problem because it was in the front row. However, I’ve realized that this whole car seat on planes thing is a bit of an issue. A friend’s acquaintance on Facebook posted something along the lines of not being able to help the fact that her toddler was kicking the reclined seat in-front of him. “Reclining your seat is a privilege!,” she declared. Over 50 comments later, you had everyone debating everything from kids on airplanes, to using car seats, to how rude it is to recline your seat in Economy no matter who is sitting behind you. My favorite comment came from a guy who said that when he and his wife have kids, they will surely not take them on a plane until they are 100% certain that they will behave! Oh, I love non-parents and all their idyllic notions about how their kids will be different. I guess this guy isn’t going on a plane the following decade after his kids are born; because, if I’ve learned one thing in 4 months, it’s that kids are unpredictable. The end. A more useful comment came from a reader who said he apologized ahead of time and bought the person sitting in-front of his kid a drink!
Of course, there are airlines like Air New Zealand that go so far as providing bassinets on their international flights. The same is true of some European airlines. I know a flight from California to Chicago is not international, but it’s longer than a flight from London to Barcelona or Rome. However, it’s probably not worth hoping US airlines will follow suit, what with all the additional bag charges that they have been implementing. So, given the reality of flying with kids, what are your suggestions for proper etiquette? Because, I absolutely looooved Chicago and plan on going back with Avery for many years to come!