Posts Tagged 'Delta'

Flying Kids, Part II

We are revising our strategy for boarding a plane with our two kids, both under the age of three. While we used to stand poised by the gate, ready to be the first to leap onto the gangway as soon as boarding began — or even before boarding began (after all, we are “passengers who need extra assistance”) — we will now hang back a bit.

This is not just because we often find ourselves assisting our nearly three-year-old with lengthy potty trips in the run up to boarding time. Nor is it because we want one last Starbucks trip before getting onto the plane (although that has happened at least once).

We finally realized that as thrilling as it is to have first dibs on the overhead bins, the less time you can spend on a plane, the better. This is especially true on a Friday evening in August, when you’re flying from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport to New York’s LaGuardia. We are now veterans of this route, and it seems to be plagued by delays.

When our flight was pushed back by about an hour and a half this past weekend, we wished we had savored a few more minutes in the terminal, where our son was toddling between travelers’ suitcases and legs, and our daughter didn’t have to contend with illuminated seatbelt signs when she wanted to hit the potty.

So now, we will take our time walking to the gate. We will not panic when we hear the announcement that our flight is boarding. The hour-plus we spent stuck on the tarmac with two crying kids was a cruel reminder that kids do not like to be strapped into a seat. Next time, we’ll have to think about driving…

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Flying kids

We are mulling the idea of a long weekend at the beach, but are wary of driving six hours with a nearly three-year-old and a 15-month-old.

Business class fun
But then it occurred to us that we have schlepped them both on six transatlantic flights this year, ranging in length from six to nine hours. The drive should be a cake walk.

But I suppose it’s what you’re used to. At first, we were surprised to hear that my one-year-old needed to take off his shoes and put them through the x-ray machine. The soles of the shoes are only two-inches long, so they seemed to be an unlikely place to store explosives.

Now, we know what to expect. We invented a game out of putting my daughter’s stuffed bunny through the x-ray. She enjoyed it so much that she explained to her little brother that there was no need to cry — horsey would emerge intact from the other side of the machine, too.

Airport fun
In the terminal, we kill hours hiding behind chairs; playing “chase me” through the throngs of other travelers; chatting with other toddlers; and taking numerous trips to the potty.

Many airlines let us, and other families with small children, board first. But not all do (ahem. Delta!). After a five hour delay for our flight from New York to Atlanta this past Christmas, we were disappointed that the check-in staff insisted that we wait until our zone number was called to get on the plane.

Luckily, our compassionate fellow travelers let us cut the line. It is key to get on the plane early, and secure scarce overhead space for car seats, etc., and to get the kids into the seats without battling the crowds in those tiny aisles.

Once on the flight, my husband and I take turns walking up and down the aisle with our one year old. Our two-year-old, now a seasoned traveler, is content to watch the in-flight entertainment, and to gorge on snacks that the kind British Airways flight attendants give us.

By hour seven, we are ready to “de-plane,” as they say in the captain’s announcement. Those last two hours are the toughest. Hats off to anyone who flies longer than nine hours with kids.