I took my three-month-old son on his first airplane ride last weekend. What could have been an exhausting experience ended up being an uplifting one that reminded me there are still good people out there.
Last weekend, I took my three-month-old son to Southern California to meet his great-grandma and great-aunt. Prior to Kevin’s first flight, I was beyond nervous, anxious that he would scream for the entire early-morning flight. I’ve been on those flights before, the ones with crying or rowdy kids. The noise can grate on your nerves even while you feel badly for the exhausted parents. The whirlwind weekend, with two flights in three days, could have been a total disaster. But it ended up being the best airplane traveling experience I’ve ever had.
My husband took us to the airport early Saturday morning. Kevin and I were flying carry-on only, with a small rolling suitcase and the diaper bag. We had an infant car seat waiting for us on the other end, so I strapped Kevin in the Ergo carrier for our airport adventures. After we got our special boarding pass, Kevin and I tearfully said goodbye to Daddy at the security checkpoint. My stomach immediately tied in knots. “Ugh, here we go,” I thought, keeping my fingers crossed that all would go well. But from the moment my husband left, people started asking what they could do to help. The guy in front of us in the security line helped me wheel the suitcase through the weaving ropes, telling me about his 9-month-old son at home. Once through security, one of the TSA ladies helped me carry Kevin and our gear to a nearby bench and then assisted me in getting Kevin into the Ergo carrier strapped to my body. Getting on the plane, the guy we were sharing a row with helped us get situated, putting our suitcase into the overhead bin, and then patiently waiting as I got everything I needed out of the diaper bag. We had an empty middle seat in our row – which thrilled the guy sitting on the aisle as much as me – so I was able to stage the supplies I needed for the next for hours. Kevin was a bit fussy before take-off, but as soon as we got going, he sucked down a bottle and passed out until the last 30 minutes. After we landed, the couple in the row behind us looked over the seats and was surprised to see a baby. “He was so quiet! You have a great traveler on your hands,” they told us before they kindly took a picture for me to document the experience.
By the time of our return flight Monday evening, I was feeling pretty prepared. I was still nervous that Kevin would scream the whole flight, but at least I knew we had survived the first one and that people were overly helpful. When checking-in at the airport in Burbank, the guy at the ticket counter moved us to the back row of the plane so that we would have an empty seat next to us again (he said he has a 3 year-old and knows how helpful that space can be). We went through security with no problems; this time the TSA agent let me wear Kevin through metal detector instead of carrying him in my arms. While we were killing time, the guy from the ticket counter tracked us down at the gate, letting me know he accidentally forgot to put Kevin’s name on the boarding pass. He would have a new boarding pass waiting for us at check-in. Once on the plane, the stewardesses were oohing and aahing over Kevin as they helped me stow our suitcase. And our new seatmate didn’t even mind that Kevin was a bit fussy for the first half of the flight. He had just been visiting his 10-month-old grandson and knew how to interact with an infant. The guy even helped me do an emergency diaper change on the empty seat half-way through the flight.
I’m a seasoned air traveler, having flown cross-country and overseas numerous times. Not all of those trips were bad, but this was by far the most friendly experience I’ve had in my 30 years. Thank you, universe, for reminding me that there are still nice people out there.
Hi, I’m Kira. I joined Verity in early 2012 after a seven-year stint as a newspaper reporter. While I never thought my career path would veer off in this direction, I am loving my time at Verity. I recently moved from being a member services representative at the Alderwood Branch to being the marketing coordinator for the credit union.
I’m originally from Texas, but I have lived all over the country and the world, including Boston, Massachusetts, Anchorage, Alaska and Sydney, Australia. But in all my travels, the Pacific Northwest is the only place that has felt like home.
When not at work, I am usually home with playing with my son, husband, dog and three cats. During the rare times I don’t have a to-do list to plow through (and it’s not raining too hard), I can be found digging in the vegetable garden, training for a half-marathon, or grilling in the backyard.