Monday, January 7, 2013

Airport Travel

So it was requested (by several) that I blog about taking four children 6 and under through two airports two times.  It really wasn't that bad, I assure you.  But here's some things you have to know about me.
1)  I start packing for most family trips at least two weeks in advance, including detailed lists
2)  I plan.  And we practice.  
3)  I'm not perfect and no matter how carefully I pack, plan, and practice, things go wrong.  

Our good friend Kristin dropped us off at the airport on Dec. 6.  Here we are with all our luggage.  Not how I had planned it.  I had each of us taking a personal item and a carry-on.  When we did a practice we realized we couldn't carry that much plus carry kids.  So we ended up checking a bag.  BUT we did not have to check it on the way home as my mom gets a free checked bag when she comes to see us at the end of the month and all she'll need is a carry-on!  Another thing you should know about me...I'm cheap.  I HATE paying for checked baggage.  
I put the kids in long sleeved t-shirts and a fleece to keep them warm, but able to take off some clothes if they got too warm.  They also had to wear as much as possible so that we could take more stuff :o)
 This picture is really hard to see but it is a Delta agent talking to the kids.  She was really nice to them as I checked us all in.
 I didn't take a picture of TSA. TSA my friends was planned BIG time.  They opened a separate line for our family which I wasn't surprised about.  I have flown with everyone but LMM as babies and so I wasn't too worried about TSA.  #1...was worried.  Flying in general is not his forte.

Everything has to be folded and put up on the belt.  Including the kids jackets.  But not their shoes thankfully.  #1 would go through first after we had loaded everything on the belt.  I had made mental note of exactly where our liquids or other "questionable" items were so I could whip them out and have them back in without holding up the line.  If you are taking a baby you are allowed as much milk or baby food as is reasonable.  Define reasonable.  They didn't give me any trouble.  Her cup of milk was tested with a little strip of paper waved above it.  I froze all the breastmilk I took as it doesn't count as a liquid or have to be tested.  Nice, huh?  It also stays cold the entier flight.  Although she was still nursing (still is) I was planning on putting wheat back in my diet so she was just about weaned by the time we left.  (What little bit she's getting doesn't seem to be bothering her)

The kids would follow after #1 with me holding Sweet Pea in the very back.  As soon as they got through the boys had to sit on their booster seats (these went under the plane with the baby backpack and stroller at the gate-all are free).  Rosebud had to sit on her Trunki.  This kept everyone contained while #1 and I reorganized and re-packed everything that had gone through the scanner.  When we got done a TSA agent said "Wow.  You guys are like a military operation!"  I take that as a high compliment.
 Since this was his first flight LMM got his picture taken with the pilot.  I didn't get a great one, but even with pre-boarding we had a line of people behind us and a herd to get seated.  I took it quick.
 The big kids all flew really really well.  They were well behaved and enjoyed it immensely.
 Daddy doesn't fly well.  He did good too though I thought!
 I brought plenty of snacks and things to do.  Sweet Pea wasn't as wild as this picture would lead you to believe!
 We made it to Atlanta in one piece.  Sweet Pea cried a little during the first flight, but nothing terrible.  Our gate in Atlanta was DIRECTLY across from the one we got out of the plane on.  That's a blessing!  If you've ever maneuvered the Atlanta airport you can only imagine the six of us plus luggage/stroller/carseats getting across there/on the tram with merely an hour layover.
 So this is the true face of Sweet Pea on the plane.  She cried the ENTIRE second flight.  Nothing could make her happy except if #1 could stand in the aisle and jiggle her.  Then her screams would turn to wimpers.  At once point he had her quieted down and almost asleep.  This was about 10:30pm.  The guy in the seat next to him, a grown man for heavens sake, decided he needed to use the restroom.  As soon as #1 moved she was up and screaming again.  Lucky everyone on our plane.
 We made it to Ft. Myers where my brother picked us up.  If you could see Sweet Pea's eyes better in this picture they are red and swollen from her crying jag.  We got to his condo about midnight where we spent a sleepless night trying to calm down overstimulated kids.  Thankfully the next day was a very relaxed one-my brother had great foresight to not have plans beyond getting us settled into our house and lunch OUT with free food coupons.
 These pictures are from the flights home.  The second TSA inspection went as well as the first.  I dressed the kids in lighter clothing as it was 80 when we left Florida and supposed to be in the 60s at home.  We also were able to leave quite a bit of stuff with my parents that they'll either send with mom at the end of the month or bring to us in April.  LMM liked the emergency instructions and studied them for quite awhile.  That flight had #1 nervous as we had a ton of turbulence 
 This is approximately 15 minutes before we landed in Atlanta.  Both she and LMM fell asleep just before we landed.
 I don't know about your kids, but mine don't wake up happy when they've only gotten a short nap.  So we dragged she and LMM through the Atlanta airport in great moods.  Oh, and we were as OPPOSITE as we could get in that airport this time around.  Thankfully we had an hour and 10 minute layover and arrived at the gate a couple of minutes before boarding.

 Snug kept a journal of our trip as a homework assignment.  We had a couple of days to finish up on the plane.
 Sweet Pea did MUCH MUCH better on her last two flights.  I'm guessing because it wasn't the middle of the night.
 Everyone excited to be going home.

This was as we landed at home.  These are TIRED boys!  It was a great trip, even with airline travel.  I'll post actual Florida pictures someday.  But taking kids on a plane is do-able.  

A thank you to friends who dropped us off/picked us up at the airport.  It saved us over $100 in parking.  Thanks also to my parents who helped us quite a bit with airline tickets.  This wouldn't have been possible without so much help from so many people.  


Jenilee said...

awesome!!! this is a great post! And so glad you guys had a great time and made it home safely. :) cute pics too!

Liz K said...

Nice work!!! As one who knows a thing or two about airline travel with kiddos sounds like you did a great job!!!

Liz K said...

Nice work!!! As one who knows a thing or two about airline travel with kiddos sounds like you did a great job!!!

Aunt Cheryl said...

Great blog-I always say that organization is everything when travelling. Love