I was that parent, the one on the plane with the screaming child, yup, that was me. I consider myself a pretty seasoned parent, with three children, the oldest being 8, I have done many things by myself with my kids. Flying however, was not one of them. How I managed to get through my 8 years of parenting without taking a child on an airplane says two things. One, we don’t travel much, and when we do we drive; and two, we generally reserve air travel for infrequent get aways for my husband and I. Airfare for a family of four can break the budget, airfare for two is generally something we can work out.
This weekend I had to travel for work, I was flying from Myrtle Beach to Atlantic City, one coastal location to another I must point out, and I decided to bring the baby with me. My sister has not seen her since she was 5 days old, and I wanted to see my sister’s babies.
I also didn’t want to leave my husband as a single dad to three, so off on an adventure we went. I don’t normally get anxious, it’s not in my nature, but the thought of flying with a 9 month old infant was enough to make me vomit. Generaly she is a great baby, always happy, gives big toothy grins that can melt a strangers heart, but last night on Spirit Airs flight 350 there were no melting hearts.
The nightmare started when the plane was delayed for an hour, that had me pushing the stroller through the airport in a continuous loop. I couldn’t tell from the glances if I was getting…”aww look at the cute baby” or “what is that lady thinking flying at night with an infant” Quite frankly I didn’t care, we were on an adventure. The nightmare continued when we pulled away from the gate and the lady three rows back had a panic attack, they had to pull the plane back to the gate, and let her and her mother off the flight, then I got a little reprieve from my nightmare, but not for long.
They gave me a window seat. You actually get more space with the window seat because it is pushed out a little. Remember that one if you find yourself travelling with a baby. Some may say the aisle is better, but they told me the window was the best place for a lap infant, and given I don’t have anything to compare it to, I agree. The woman who checked me in was on team Baby Boo because she left the middle seat empty. Thank you Spirit Airlines Check In Person. The man in the aisle seat was 6’2 and on a last minute trip, he offered to buy me a drink, I think he was hoping I might let the baby sip a little, or he was hitting on me, (I doubt it), but I politely declined. Baby Boo did OK for the first half of the flight, eating puffs, playing with toys, playing peek-a-boo with the grandma behind us, babbling and fussing a little, then we started the descent from hell.
Ear Plugs Please. My poor baby started screaming, and I mean screaming like someone was hitting her with a hot poker, I could not get her calmed down, she refused her bottle, refused any of her comfort items, she contorted herself into positions I did not know were possible and screamed and screamed and screamed. I felt horrible. There are only few moments in my lifetime of parenting that I could not comfort my child, and this was one of them. Finally with about ten minutes left she exhausted herself and fell asleep.
My poor Boo. The good news: people are kind. I did not get a single look of annoyance, instead I was greeted by sympathetic looks that non-verbally said to me, “I am a mom, a dad, a grandmom or a granddad, and that was harder on you than any of us or the baby. Thank God for short flights, kind people, and the lady at the ticket counter who left the middle seat empty. Here’s to Tuesday morning when we fly back home.