First Time Flying with Child Proves Challenging

October 31, 2012

in Baby & Kid Stories

My wife, our 14-month old son and I were flying from Baltimore to Los Angeles to visit my family for Christmas. Although we had been semi-frequent fliers, this was our first time flying with a child.

Things went wrong before we even left our house. My wife was worried about having everything we’d need with us during the flight; we had way too much carry-ons filled with baby supplies. We were also bringing the car seat with us on the flight so our son would have a seat to sit and nap on during the flight (buying a third ticket was about the only thing I did right). It was an afternoon flight so we planned not to let our son have his afternoon nap, hoping he would sleep through much of the flight. My mother-in-law was babysitting our son that day, and even though we told her not to let him a nap, she did anyway. I had bronchitis and was coughing frequently. I was tired from lack of sleep and my chest ached. Finally, while staging our luggage by the front door, I hit my toe on the edge of the sofa – hard. But there was no time to look at my foot because we had to leave for the airport. I would later find out I had a broken toe.

We arrived at the airport and got on the plane OK. My foot still hurt like hell, so I knew something was wrong. Even though the flight was full, we actually had some overhead storage space for much of our carry-on crap and got his car seat strapped into the airplane seat. My son didn’t want to sit in his car seat so I held him for takeoff so he wouldn’t cry and disturb the people around us. He was excited by all the activity, and was not going to sit still. We had brought some activity stuff for him – coloring books and videos on the laptop – but he was having none of that. He had to see the plane. To keep him from crying and disturbing the other passengers, my wife and I spent most of the flight taking turns walking him up and down the aisle. When it was my wife’s turn to walk our son, I would sit at my seat, coughing, exhausted, my foot throbbing, and wishing I was dead.

When his diaper had to be changed, my wife tried to change it herself. But he wouldn’t sit on the changing table in the lavatory. So all three of us squeezed into the lavatory and changed his diaper with him standing. Of course, once we had his diaper off, he peed on me.

We finally landed, and my son never did use the baby seat. By then the stewardesses were tired and a lot less understanding as I was the last passenger to leave the plane because of all our carry-ons and the baby seat.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Hack November 1, 2012 at 8:59 am

Thanks for sharing this- I would have been freaked if this happened to me.


Hackz November 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Don't worry I'm sure the chances of you multiplying are slim ::teasing grin::


Hack November 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm

As they say, you can’t argue with stupid.


blue peter November 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Please. Hackz, love the enthusiasm, but please don’t post this stuff- I want to read decent responses, not flame wars.


cecily November 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

You seemed to be vigilant about not letting your baby cry and disturb other passengers, and you bought your baby a ticket instead of burdening row mates with the consequences of a "lap baby", you were adversely affected more than other passengers. Thank you, and I'm sorry you had a rough time.


umrguy42 December 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Ouch. My wife and I had to travel with our (then 5+ month old) back to my parents in October, as my grandmother was passing away. Mercifully, he was pretty good (a little fussy start and end of the second leg, but not too bad). We did the lap thing, as buying a 3rd ticket at the last minute cost too much, but we were in a small plane, so got 2 seats next to each other (paid for an "economy plus" upgrade on one flight, talked to customer service on another), and we were the only ones on that side of the plane.


Bull Herman December 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm

You both deserve nomination for Parents Of The Year. May your kid live long & marry someone as dedicated as you both are. Congrats & Blessings.

Reminds me of having my seat bounced away on a Western Airlines 727-200 morning flight from LAX to VAN. Yep, a baby had a brown-out that needed changing as the plane was being backed out of its slot. Thankfully the FA's had the A/C on; between that and cig smoke I kept from gagging. We took off at MTOW; long climb out. A great flight, but bounced landing in cross winds and light shearing. The old Andre Champagne flights–in coach mind you!!


Amanda September 17, 2017 at 2:59 pm

That's what you get for flying with an infant.

Wait until it is old enough to bear the experience. Until then – Stay at home.


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