July 21, 2004

How to Fly the Daddy Types Way (v1.0)

1. Check everything but the onplane essentials (and your laptop, which won't fit in the diaper bag, so you stuff the emptied diaper bag into your checked luggage and use a camo duckhunting tote from LLBean.

2. Take the stroller with the carseat on it, get ready to gatecheck both pieces.

3. Fully acknowledge to the gate agent that you're using your cute kid to manipulate her into giving you space for the carseat. She will appreciate your candor, while still being unable to resist your kid's charms.

4. Curse Newark airport for not having a changing table in the mens room. Thank them for leaving enough grimy lint on the carpet that you're able to remember which side of the blanket was down and which was up.

5. Score extra seat for the kid. Wish gate agent a good, early weekend on a Tuesday.

6. Put carseat against window. The one time you want the middle seat.

7. Surprise yourself by turning your seats into a little nest, unpacking and getting all kinds of stuff ready. It's the exact opposite of the road warrior behavior you knew. You are SO ready, though, you can feel it.

8. Change kid into pajamas, pull down shades. Night now begins at 5pm.

9. Get bottle ready, time it so you know the kid'll be eating during takeoff/ascent.

10. Watch kid have a serious meltdown just as the door closes. Early shrieking helps build suspense for surrounding passengers.

11. Get kid to take bottle while laying on your lap. Let her calm down immediately, thereby demonstrating your parenting prowess. Start feeling a little cocky, cuz she's going to sleep, too.

12. Cover her with the blanket, GOOD SIDE OUT, when the icy cold AC kicks in.

13. Sit back and relax after takeoff, because your kid is asleep, fed, warm, and your neighbors can only be impressed.

14. React with polite alarm when the old NJ Shore-baked grandma in front leans her seat back onto your kid's head. Return to calm state.

15. Watch as the kid spews a geyser of formula straight into the air, covering herself and your lap. Grab her quickly and sit her up, facing you, so that the second shot lands only on the blanket and your shirt. Calmly reach up and hit the call button while your kid smiles meekly.

16. Get a garbage bag, and every towel you can, wet and dry. Dump blanket, shirt. clean self. dump pj bottoms. Break out backup Onesie (R).

17. Play with kid for a few minutes. She'll be very happy, calm, playful. Then she'll sleep for the rest of the flight, not waking up until you get her to the baggage claim.

18. Remember to slip the pacifier in before landing.

That's it! 5 hours of good behavior in exchange for 2 vomit-soaked outfits. Sounds like a fair trade to me.

7 Comments

Ah, that does sound like a "smooth" ride. Now comes the fun part. Only ~14hours across the ocean to Tokyo. That'll be the clincher as the kid probably wants to move around a bit more than just sit in the car-seat for that long.
Best of luck is all I can say and I am looking forward to your report.

Hey! You forgot to mention how to change a diaper at 40,000ft. Donít make the mistake of using the lavatory, itís too small and you canít get to your diaper bag. Instead take your blanket and go to the emergency exit. Itís the one plane on a plane you can spread out the little miss. So what if the smell offends those lucky enough to have the extra leg room, youíre a dad changing a diaper they should be impressed.

One other piece of advice, take along Ziploc Freezer bags to put the poop into. They seal nicely so the flight attendants donít hate you for the smell.

When our daughter was 3 months old, we flew to Seattle for the holidays. No car seat. I used a sling for most of the trip and walked the aisles when she needed a change of scenery. We had a row of 3 seats to oursleves, so I just used the tray tables as my changing table. A little cramped, but fine for a little one. We visited family out there that had all of the baby gear already, so we could pack lightly.

you scored an extra seat? dude you're the man.

Flying with our daughter's been a mixed bag. We flew from Dulles to Orlando when she was three months old and it was a breeze. She just slept in her carseat the whole way, staying awake long enough and waking to feed during ascent and decent. When we flew from Dulles to Tucson (via Denver) at a little over a year, things were different. Lots of fidgeting/whining between Dulles and Denver, but topped off with a nice, powerful, one-shot vomit over her seat, on the seat in front of her, and the floor right before take-off from Denver. Lovely smell that is. :( The return trip we a bit better (she slept for an hour or so and there was no vomiting), but not much.

BTW, the United plane we were on from Dulles to Denver was pretty old and had no changing table in the restroom, so we changed her on the back of the toilet lid. Just bring the clean diaper and some wipes -- no diaper bag. It was kind of iffy, but worked. The newer planes we were on on the other legs had changing tables that folded out from the walls.

We've since flown with her two other times (once from Dulles to Columbia, SC, and once from BWI to Albany) and both were not too bad. Some sleeping, some fussing, but we're getting the hang of it now. Still, going through security with the carseat, stroller, etc, and no changing tables really chaps me.

would love to hear the update on the flights to tokyo. have taken short flights with the little man but will be taking him back to New Zealand to meet the rellies in Jan. He will be 5 months then. flying Chicago to LA to Tahiti (a few days to unwind) and on to Auckland. Any words of wisdom appreciated!

You kidding? Our little nipper is a pro at flying, these days. He's 20 months and already he's logged about 130,000 miles (only recently did he start getting frequent flier miles though -- something to do with age discrimination).

We've had good flights and bad flights.

The best piece of advice I can give is not to go on the plane expecting to do anything other than monitor and entertain the baby. And when they sleep, you sleep. No exceptions (the movie isn't worth it anyway).

Also, alternate meals if you're travelling as a couple. If you both try to eat at the same time, you're guaranteed a tray on the floor.

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