My mom, sister, and my mom’s friend Leslie dropped Ava and me off at the Orlando International Airport on Wednesday evening. It was very hard leaving them, but I was excited for the adventure. I knew that traveling alone with an infant was going to be interesting, to say the least.
Left to right: Susie, Ava, Mom, Me
Security was the first challenge. I knew I was short on hands, seeing as I only have two, and tried not to bring too much on the plane with us. We brought Ava’s heavy-duty umbrella stroller that has a few storage compartments on it. This was nice because it wasn’t so big that it was hard to manage by myself, but it also had a little space for me to pack a few things on it. I also had our laptop, which fit snugly in the pouch behind Ava, my coat, and our one carry-on bag. Our carry-on contained all the necessary items from my purse and Ava’s diaper bag, plus some extra toys and snacks.
When we got up to security I had to get all of our stuff into the bins, take the laptop out of its bag, take off my shoes, and fold up the stroller, all while holding a baby. I somehow managed this while not holding up the line too much. We went through the metal detectors and then I was selected to have my hands swabbed. I’m not really sure what they were swabbing for, but I was cleared. The man in line in front of us asked if I could bring bottles on the plane. I explained that we breastfeed and that it was not a concern for us, so I really couldn’t answer his question.
I made sure to change Ava’s diaper right before we boarded the plane. We boarded the plane and stepped into first class and you could see the horror sweeping across everyone’s face. I know they were thinking, “please don’t let the lady with the baby sit next to me.” Our seat was next to an empty seat, but I knew it wouldn’t stay empty for long. Eventually, a middle-aged business man sat next to us.
I was hoping for a friendly female flight attendant who would be understanding of my situation. Alas, all of the flight attendants were men. I will have to say, they were all surprisingly very friendly and helpful. Good job gentlemen!
Ava was surprisingly well-behaved on the plane. She only had 2 or 3 little outburst, which I quickly shut down with a nursing session. I made sure to nurse her during takeoff to help with the elevation change. We were served dinner on the plane to Salt Lake City. This proved to be interesting. I had a choice of gnocchi with Bolognese sauce or grilled chicken with grits. Bolognese sauce would be a messy option, so chicken it was. 45 minutes later, there was bread on the floor and Ava and I were both wearing grits. Thankfully, she fell asleep shortly after that.
Our flight landed late in Salt Lake City (my first time in Utah) and we had to run to our next flight. I was the last passenger to board. So much for getting Starbucks. Ava was even better during the second flight. She didn’t cry AT ALL. After we had our “snack” (a chicken sandwich, chips, fruit, and a really good brownie from Dancing Deer), Ava and I attempted to get some sleep. Our flight wouldn’t land in Anchorage until almost 5am Florida time.
We finally landed in Anchorage and got off the plane. Tony was waiting right outside the terminal for us. It was really wonderful reuniting with him. Ava was very excited to see her Daddy!
So here are a few things I learned about flying first class with an infant:
- The laminated safety brochure is better than any toy you will bring.
- The seats in first class don’t recline as much as they should.
- The only people who fly first class are older couples and middle-aged business men. (Okay, not entirely true, but that was it on both of my flights.)
- Flying first class was worth not paying $455 for my three suitcases.
- Less is more when it comes to your carry-ons while traveling with a baby.
Have you ever been on a flight with a small child?