Sunday, January 20, 2013

AR's First Flight!!!

...last Friday, AR and I left on a jet plane to go see Nana at her winter home in Florida. It was AR's first flight and to say I was nervous was a bit of an understatement. I was mainly worried that her ears would pop and stressed about how in the world I was going to entertain an 8 month old for a 2 hour flight (let's not mention the 2 hours at the airport before but at least I could walk around). Turns out, I stressed for girl did GREAT!

We flew Southwest and to say I was less than impressed with their customer service was a bit of an understatement. It started when I checked in with her, the stroller, diaper bag, purse, pump, suitcase and carseat. I had it all worked out so I could carry everything. I got checked in, no problem, took the carseat off the stroller, got it wrapped in plastic and then the agent gives me BACK the suitcase AND carseat and says walk over there (about 50 yards) and check your bags there. Seriously? So with no help and bumping a few things along the way, I finally made it there.

Then the line for security took almost 20 minutes. I was hoping to nurse her in the airport and save the bottle for the plane but due to the long line and sparing everyone hungry baby screams, I gave her the bottle. Once we got through security, no problem (so grateful for the stroller so I didn't have to juggle her, putting shoes back on and getting everything else).

Then we waited...and waited...and waited. We walked from one end of the terminal to the other. Luckily, we found a wing that no flights were going out of so we hung out there. It was great because mommy was able to dance around and act a fool. We found a family bathroom that hadn't been used so I wasn't as creeped out by germies. Then we took a bunch of pictures and text them to our family during that time.
Of course our flight was late and we were WAY past naptime so she was starting to get cranky as we waited in line to board. We were about 35-40 to board and I picked the window seat in the very last row. I sat her down and tried to get settled. This was probably the hardest part with a mobile baby because she did NOT want to sit still, therefore, making it impossible to get her toy bag out of the diaper bag, purse in the diaper bag, pump stored overhead and, of course, it would be crazy for the flight attendant to offer any help, right? Here's a pic of her pulling up on the armrest and not looking at me to commerate her first flight.

Luckily, we had the NICEST couple sit next to us. It wasn't really their choice, it was the only 2 seats together left on the plane. They smiled and waved to her, talked to her and helped to entertain. Then the plane took off, I whipped out the boob and the girl conked out. I tried to move her once we leveled out in the air but she'd start to cry so I feel like she was on the boob the whole flight (in reality it was maybe 30 minutes). The guy sitting next to me was so nice because AR was kicking him but he kept saying not to worry about it. Then he got my drink for me and let me share his tray table. I seriously couldn't have asked for better people to sit next to.

She slept majority of the trip. She woke up the last 30 or so minutes. Luckily, crazy mommy was mainly enough entertainment but the people beside us entertained her too as well as a book and toy to chew on. I was so excited that we'd made it with no tears! The time of our flight was perfect because it was an hour past nap time but there was enough at the airport and boarding to keep her curious from napping early.

When we landed, I got in no hurry to get off the plane. We watched our luggage come out and I was so excited to see the carseat had made it! As everyone exited, I once again began the battle of getting my bag out from under my seat, getting the pump down and holding on to my wiggly baby. The flight attendant FINALLY acknowledged us after I asked him to hand me my pump. One lady that was unloading luggage on the crowd popped in the plane and said she saw AR smiling at her from the plane and she had to come see her.

As I ever so carefully made my way down the aisle thinking skinny skinny skinny. We got to the front of the plane and I asked if we could get a picture with the pilot. He came out of the cockpit and asked if we wanted to go in. I said, "Sure! I'm not going to accidentally roll us into the airport, am I?" He promised me I wouldn't so he snapped our pic and then we got one of him and AR. He was great and next to the awesome couple that sat beside us, he was the best part of the flight.


After we got our picture, we turned to go and were stuck because they were boarding a girl traveling by herself with her father. They didn't take the 2 steps back to let us off so we had to squeeze into tiny space, pick up our bags and squeeze out. We finally got off the plane into the walkway and once again, I had to regroup since we had the stroller and I had a brief moment of panic when I couldn't find my Note. FYI-it was in the stroller but I couldn't find it in my hurried, panicked state. As I'm trying to find it and start movig forward, the gate agent looks down the walkway and asks if I'm coming or going. I say going and she tells me, are you ready for this? hurry up. Seriously? I find the Note and go as fast as I can to get the heck out of there. Oh and did I mention that my nursing bra wasn't hooked back so I this entire time I have the girls out. Once I get into the airport, I see that they were waiting on me to start boarding for the next flight.
I had recently attended a conference about companies that give customer service above and beyond and Southwest was one of the companies covered. So maybe my hopes were just too high going into the flight but I was very disappointed by the customer service all around (except for the nice pilot). They didn't even offer her that just a thing of the past? I sent Southwest an email so we'll see what they have to say.
Bottom line though, baby girl did a-ma-zing!!! I couldn't have asked her to be better. I definitely will consolidate on the trip home so I don't have as much to carry but hey, I didn't know the first time around! 


Julie said...

I was just going to comment and ask if she earned her wings and no that's not a thing of the past, sounds like your crew wasn't very exciting (except for the pilot). We leave Tuesday morning via Southwest for Denver and fly them back on Saturday night (when you back in town, maybe we'll see you at the airport) so I will give you a full report on my flight crew!

Cecilia said...

Such a big girl! You're much braver than me to fly solo with a bebe. I hope she does as well on the flight home. I flew United in October. I felt the attendants were rude on both of my flights.

Joanna said...

I'm surprised she didn't get wings. Especially since you talked to the pilot! Maybe on the way home? What a thing to juggle by yourself but you DID IT!! So glad AR was a good baby for you :)

Kyla @ The Simpsons said...

I'm curious to hear what they say when they respond to your e-mail!

Slamdunk said...

Ha, with that performance I think you two will be frequent flyer buddies. Way to AR!

We always fly Southwest as well so I hope they take note of your email.

Hilary said...

Aww, glad she did so well!

Sara said...

So glad to hear Miss AR did so well on the plane. And that sucks that the SW agents were jerks. Have so much fun in Florida!