When we were first married we traveled a lot, going to see my relatives in California or going to see my husband’s relatives in Conneticut and Florida. It was on these flights that we got to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of airline travel you may know them as children.
Yes, I was one of those judgemental types that would groan every time I saw a mother and child get on the airplane, sending up a quick prayer that they weren’t anywhere near me, vowing in my infinite wisdom to never travel with children and subject others to the screaming that no doubt ensues when taking off and landing not to mention the kicking, poking and peek-a-boo that happens if they are sitting anywhere near you. Locked inside a big metal flying tube with no escape for hours.
To top it off the mom when she gets to her destination looks like she went through ten rounds in a boxing ring trying to defend her title of champ. You know the look, her hair which was all in place when she boarded now looks like a bird tried to make a nest in it, her makeup has run all down her face as she struggles with her bags and the now sleeping angel that had spent the whole flight fighting to stay awake. After witnessing this on more than one occasion I said to myself I will NEVER travel with my children. I would eat my words…
Once our own little angel was born, we wanted to travel to see grandpa. Our angel was two and a handful, inquisitive about everything. Knowing what I was up against and knowing what I didn’t want to have happen we booked a red eye flight to Florida. I kept the baby up all day, yes it was hard she really wanted her nap and let me know it. She was cranky all day but I won in the end she was up which meant she would sleep n the flight, right? I packed a carry on for her, her favorite blanket, toy, books, crayons. I delayed her feeding until the flight was taking off so that she would swallow and pop her ears naturally. Upon landing I had crackers and juice for her, but she was so tired she slept through it. I however, still got off the plane tired, makeup running, but satisfied that I did all I could so that those around us could be in comfort. All my hard work did not go unnoticed though, the woman who upon seeing us seated in front of her asked to be moved but was informed that it was a full flight and there was nowhere she could move; leaned over to say that I had a very well behaved baby and it was a joy to travel with her on the flight. I smiled and thanked her, yes all my hard work was worth it and I would sleep when we got to grandpas house.
As the years went by and we continued to travel I was told on numerous occasions how well my girls traveled, but really it was planning. When they got older and they could entertain themselves I packed an entertainment bag for them, they knew to be quiet and respectful because there were other people on the plane. My children are well traveled, we have been to all fifty states, they know how to navigate through the airport and security, how to interact with respect with other people on the plane and what to do if we get separated in the airport.
Traveling with children, it’s all in the planning.