Flying With Kids...Drink Please!
We recently took our first trip, via plane, as a family of six. We have traveled since my daughter has been born but we've always driven. We have never had a problem flying with our 3 sons before but something about bringing 4 young children on an airplane, that had other people on it, together, at the same time, scared the heck out of me! I was so nervous we were going to get "neighbors" in surrounding seats that hated children or even worse, I was worried we were going to get flight attendants that weren't all soft and fuzzy. I'm happy to report we got nothing of the sort!
On the flight there, we felt like we drew the short straw as far as seat assignments. The airline had changed our flight and since doing so, our seats changed. We were put in the very last row of the plane. That's right...they sat us in rows that not only contained stationary seats but seats that were one wall away from the restrooms. As my husband and I began thinking about it, we realized the joke was on them. We didn't have to get up to escort our boys to the bathroom one time. They gladly went alone and actually had no problem using the buddy system which quickly put my mind at ease. Although there are six members of our family, the baby is a lap child so she sat on my husbands lap. Due to that pesky, before mentioned seating change, we were only given 1 window seat. Originally we had ourselves sitting in 2 rows(in front of and in back of each other). We figured this way, 2/3 of the boys could have a window. When we got on the plane we realized we were seated window, middle, aisle, aisle, middle. My two older sons very generously, and surprisingly without any bribery needed, told my youngest son he could have the window since he's never had it before and they would both take a window on the way home. That meant I was on the aisle with 2 of the boys and my husband was stuck in the middle, with my daughter on his lap, and our other son on the aisle. Part of their generosity was that they both wanted to sit next to me.
Here's a side note about my husband. He's 6 foot 4 inches and hates sitting in the middle on an airplane. As the plane started to fill he kept giving me the eye each time he spotted an equally tall person. He, not so nicely, would mouth to me "He's sitting here for sure!". I jokingly told him that with his luck, he'd get a nice old woman who thought the baby was so cute and would spend the whole flight playing with her. Point for me cause I was spot on! Point for him because she happened to be from Kearny and knew lots of fireman that my husband knew. The baby fell asleep shortly after we took off, the boys all plugged in and watched The Lego Batman Movie, and everyone enjoyed our two and a half hour flight to Orlando. All of my worries were for nothing. We managed to survive our flight. That meant on our flight home I was less worried and stressed. I guess that was my first mistake.
While our flight there was nothing less than great, our flight home was a different story. We did, however, hit the jackpot with extremely empathetic people sitting in the surrounding seats as well as extremely sympathetic flight attendants. Now at this point of my little story, you're all probably wondering why we would need such sympathetic and empathetic people on our flight considering how well the first round went. The answer is this...
About 20 minutes into our flight I hear my husband, from the row behind me, yelling that he needs my help. My daughter had, once again, fallen asleep right before take off. Unfortunately, her milk didn't agree with the turbulence the plane encountered while taking off through a storm. Yep, you guessed it, she got sick. When I say she got sick I'm not just talking about a small amount of vomit. I'm talking about an amount that resulted in my husband borrowing a shirt from the flight attendant that was 2 sizes too small, him sitting the whole rest of the flight on a water proof United Airlines blanket, me bringing my daughter to the bathroom, throwing out her outfit, blanket, and binky, then washing her hair with baby wipes and her body with the water from the sink. It was also an amount that forced the flight attendants to place large bags of non brewed coffee on all of the seat tops in our row and the 2 rows next to, in front of, and behind us to mask the terrible smell that my very innocent daughter had caused there to be in the cabin of the plane. When I tell you we felt terrible, we felt terrible. My daughter, of course, stayed awake the whole rest of the flight with a huge smile on her face. She was fine yet my husband and I couldn't stop apologizing to the flight attendants and fellow fliers. Not one of them made us feel badly and as a matter of fact the flight attendant kept walking by and out of the blue saying to us, "don't you worry about a thing...believe it or not, it happens all of the time". The men and woman flying with us kept "googoo-ing" and "gahgah-ing" to the baby and she was loving it. My boys never even flinched and acted as though nothing ever happened, even as the mayhem was taking place.
I guess you can say, besides that one hiccup, we survived our first flight as a family of 6 pretty darn well. So much so, we're doing it again for a family cruise in 2 weeks! I know United has gotten a lot of flack lately, but it must be said that we have nothing but great things to say about the staff we encountered and the people we flew with. Moral of the story...maybe next time, we wait a bit before I let my daughter down a bottle of milk!