Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Flying with an Infant

We have encountered many people already who continue to say something along the lines of "I cannot believe you are traveling with an infant!" While, yes, traveling with a child is VERY different and more consuming than traveling solo or just with the two of us, it is part of why we loving living abroad so we would be silly to halt our explorations now. Besides, we hope that if we start traveling with Crosby at a young age she will learn to be a good little traveler as she grows up. At 6 months old, she has already logged over 16,000 miles in the air. I am not sure I logged that many miles in my first 10 years of life!

This past week we went to Barbados to attend the wedding of some (American) friends who live in London. They had a destination wedding and we thought it was a perfect excuse to make a vacation out of it! Since we were not able to just leave Crosby with Grandma & Grandpa near by due to the ocean in between us, she traveled with us. Plus, I am not sure either of us wanted to be away from her for a full week, so we knew she would come with us for this trip; she's still too little to be away from us for too long.

It was almost easier to get to Barbados from the UK than it would have been to get there from the US. We had a direct flight from London Gatwick straight to Barbados. The airline choices were either Virgin Atlantic or British Airways. Unfortunately, we are a United/Continental family, so we didn't have status on either of those airlines that flew to Barbados. We decided to give Virgin Atlantic a shot since we had heard good things about them.

Traveling with Crosby at 6 months old was more difficult than it was at 3 months. Of course I didn't realize how easy it was at 3 months until we flew at 6 months and realized in retrospect, it was a piece of cake at 3 months because she didn't do much at all! While I am sure 6 months is easier than it will be at say 1 year, she is starting to be interested in more things, so sitting still is not always as entertaining for her as it used to be. That being said, Crosby is a terrific traveler so far. She doesn't scream on the planes, she deals well with the pressure of the flights, and overall she is really a good baby. We are very lucky. We also travel with anything and everything we might possibly need in order to be prepared (or should I say I travel with it all since somehow my carry on ends up being Crosby's bag!), so I would like to think that part helps a bit too.

Overall, I am not sure about the hype around Virgin Airlines. We thought it was ok, but now find that having status on one airline carrier makes it difficult to fly any other airlines since the service levels are not as high as they are when you are a preferred customer. While Virgin did offer the complimentary bassinet for babies under 19 lbs, they would not confirm it in advance like Continental & United did for previous flights. Plus this bassinet was basically a cardboard box with plastic lining.
Virgin does offer these nice little welcome bags when you board the aircraft, similar to the business class kits that are offered on other airlines with eye masks, socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. so that touch was nice. Scott let Crosby play with it all and even dressed her in the gear before putting her in the bassinet!
As you can see, Crosby filled up the entire bassinet, so this was our last transatlantic flight to request and use one of these. She really didn't sleep on this flight because the straps that attached this bassinet to the tray that came down from the wall, were in her face when she was at the bottom of the bassinet. A different set up than the other bassinets we have had where they attach directly to the wall and do not have straps over the main parts.
So, most of the flight was spent on either Dad's lap or Mom's lap. Luckily, Crosby was entertained just by watching the images on Scott's tv screen.
And then when the flight attendants handed out pretzels, Crosby played with the bag for a long time. It made noise and crinkled so it appeared to be a fun toy for her.
The flight was not full on our way over so she even got to sit in her own seat for a while which she enjoyed. Her little stuffed lamb sat on her tray so he didn't get lost.
Finally after about 6 hours of being awake during the flight, she finally got some sleep on Dad's lap!
Let's hope Crosby's good flying record continues for a long time into her future.


Kris said...

Hey there, thanks so much for your comment on my blog. You give me hope that I might just survive my flight to America with my baby! I usually love flying with Virgin and British Air, but for this trip I'm taking Delta. They won't let me reserve a bulkhead seat until the day of at checkin at the airport.... I'm praying they will have one available for me.... fingers crossed. I love the photo of Crosby in the post above in her purple spotty jammies. Tess had those same ones. They were our favorite and I was super sad when she grew out of them!

Iota said...

That retrospect thing. It's so annoying. It happens all the time as a parent.