Saturday, 13 April 2013

Flying In Planes With Babies

Airplane travel with an infant.


Am I right about what? And why have I started using hashtags? I'm in the early throes of jet-lag, so I'll use that as the excuse as to why I'm not making any sense.  I've got to milk that excuse as long as possible....

Anyhow, flying in planes with babies.

It's not the easiest thing I've ever done, which makes me sound like a twit who can't even open a jar of tomato sauce. I mean, what's so hard about sitting in a plane? With a baby? It's not like I had to, say, fly the plane. Or dish out the moderately hot meals. Or converse with the lady in seat 35B who didn't want to put her seatbelt on. I didn't have to do any of those things. I just had to sit in my seat with my seven month old.

Look at that face!
How challenging could she be?
I'm not going to be sharing anything ground breaking in the world of airplane travel and babies, just the same ol' story that everyone has probably been through.
So, when we got to the Zurich airport on the 21st our sweet LB had her first "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?" breakdown as we tried to check-in.
Stress? Check.
As she was crying and I was scoping out the area for a place to feed her, the check-in agent offered us 600 Euros to fly the next day. I'm sure it had nothing to do with LB's crying...right? Anyhow, Dan and I looked at each other then turned around and refused the offer.  I KNOW. Who turns down 600 Euros? People who just want to get the flight over with already, that's who!
(Also, Dan had a lunch meeting the next day he didn't want to miss, and I was looking forward to being on Canadian soil. I had big plans that when we got to Vancouver I'd lie down next to the baggage carousel and roll around because Canadian soil, whee! That was a Thursday plan, not a Friday plan! Keep your money Air Canada, and put it towards free snacks on domestic flights.)
So we boarded our Zurich-Toronto flight. The best thing about the boarding process was that our LB was our ticket to getting on the plane FIRST. The only people ahead of us were those smug bastards in executive class who already had their champagne fluted so that they could arch their eyebrows and sneer 'neener-neener-neener' when the rest of the cattle filed past them.
Clearly I'm not bitter that I didn't get a pod all to myself.
As we sat in our less-than executive seating and waited for everyone else to board, Dan and I scrolled through the movies and excitedly picked out what we wanted to watch for the day. It's an eight and a half hour flight to Toronto peeps, so that's at least three movies with two hours reserved for napping. Plus the four and a half hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver is one more movie, with the rest of the time spent slumped in your seat and drooling all over yourself as you fall into a deep slumber for no other reason then you've been awake for awhile at that point.
Except, wow.  Did you know that over the course of twelve plus hours of flying it's only possible to watch one movie between two people? And that movie was...I'm blushing...the last in the Twilight saga.  The horror! We only managed one movie, shared headphones between us, and that's what we watched!
Flying in planes with babies is super hard and causes you to make bad choices!
First, you have to keep them from screaming. Then you have to keep them from crying. Then you have to change their diapers in tiny little toilet cubicles where if you bend too far backwards you bang your elbow on the mirror. Then you have to mask your look of horror when the flight attendant confirms, "We don't have your order for a baby food meal. I hope to god you brought something."
Then you have to fake smile and say, "Oh yes, definitely."  Because what sort of parent would you be if you confirmed that you were counting on Air Canada to feed your baby solids? What sort of parent relies on Air Canada?
A novice, that's who!
Because Internet, I was totally counting on them to get it right. Totally.
So then you have to mix up bottle after bottle of milk to keep her full, and you find yourself, in a moment of desperation, putting her teething biscuits in a Styrofoam cup and adding hot water to make this horrid concoction of mushy teething biscuits that you will then feed to the baby with a tiny spoon used to stir coffee.
Low point.
But possibly the lowest point was when we got to Toronto we had to get to our gate for our Vancouver flight, and found ourselves clearing security again wherein the baby threw-up all over me. Like...everywhere.
At moments like these you will remember the conversation you had with your husband the night before when he asked, "Should we bring a change of clothes for ourselves?"
And you replied, "I'm confident we won't need anything."
Because the one thing I learnt about that Switzerland-Canada flying day is I had no realistic clue about flying in planes with babies. I clearly remember a Vancouver-Toronto flight I took a few years ago where a lady and her husband were flying with their five month old. You could see everyone was apprehensive about a baby being in their vicinity, but I'll be damned if that kid didn't utter a peep the whole time we were in the air.  As we were deboarding, the flight attendants approached the couple and just gushed over how lovely and quiet their little guy was.
I watched the exchange and thought, "Whatever, that'll totally be me one day." I mean, the ego of me! What sort of childless person thinks, "I will know everything there is to know about babies and planes. It can't be that hard."
The sort of person who ordered a baby puree meal when they booked their flight and just assumed Air Canada would get that right. No back-up plan needed.
The sort of person who didn't think their baby would cry on the plane.
The sort of person who didn't think their baby would freak the eff out while we sat on the Toronto tarmac for forty minutes while they de-iced the plane.
The sort of person who assumed their baby wouldn't have jet-lag in Vancouver because I never have jet-lag flying in that direction.
In short, a very naive person.
By the time we hit Vancouver I was so exhausted I didn't have the energy to roll around on the ground by the baggage carousel.  Plus our friends were already there to pick us up, so I didn't want to embarrass them.
The moral of this story, Internet friends, is that flying in planes with babies can be hard but if you learn from your mistakes the flight back will be a breeze.
You will even be able to watch THREE movies.
(None of which are about teen vampires, so your dignity will be in tact, too.)

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