Friday, February 20, 2009

Travel Planning

When planning for a 5 hour plane ride with a very active toddler:

1) Pick the flight time that best suits her schedule so that she will have gotten her afternoon nap and will not *need* to sleep until you arrive.
2) Hide some of her favorite toys and books for several days prior so that she will be very excited to see them when she's forced to sit on your lap for longer than the average person can go between bathroom breaks.
3) Plan your carry-ons carefully, making sure that every potentially necessary item can be at your fingertips at a moment's notice to minimize ugly stares of your fellow passengers when said toddler saves messy diaper for take-off.
4) Make sure to arrive at airport in plenty of time for toddler to run around before flight.
5) Discuss lap-child holding arrangement with spouse ahead of time to eliminate (or at least minimize) bitterness about being stuck with messy/screaming/squirmy child the entire way.

6) Disregard ALL plans when the security line causes you to MISS YOUR FLIGHT.

We arrived at the gate, along with about 8 other people AFTER they had secured the doors. Translation: We were stuck. in the airport. with said toddler and infant. for 4 hours until next flight. that was scheduled for 10 pm EST. which is past all of these travellers' bedtimes.
The downsides were many - overtired family, not arriving in California until 12:15am West coast time, which is 3:15am EST was at the top of the list.
Coping mechanism: let toddler run free entire time and buy a beer.
Major Positive outcomes: The customer service lady was incredible helpful, blocking out a whole row for us on that next non-stop flight so we had an extra seat between us, as well as giving us vouchers toward our next United flight!

In the end, of course, everything worked out just fine. We made it to LAX in the frickin middle of the night, but we had our family waiting for us, a little girl who was VERY excited to see her Gram and Papa-Joe, and the rental car place was still open. In a few weeks I might even be willing to face the planning of our next trip.