What's the Daddy Types secret for getting your kid to sleep the entire flight, even a 12-hour stretch from Osaka to O'hare? Get her to puke right after takeoff. (Of course, self-induced vomiting will come in handy when she starts modeling, too.)
Anyway, on our trip back, it was the airline, not the kid, who was causing all the fuss. Never mind that we confirmed half a dozen times beforehand that it was alright for the kid to sit with mommy in business class, (where it turns out there was plenty of guaranteed room for her car seat).
The surliest check-in crew I've ever encountered--United at Kansai Int'l Airport--were having none of it. Osakans may pride themselves on being brusque and rude, but when push comes to shove, no one's gonna walk over a family of New Yorkers. Net net: the kid got her seat.
And we got no stroller. In another example of "Our skies are friendly, as long as you don't have a kid with you," Our gate-checked Bugaboo base didn't show up in Chicago.
I sat on the floor, outlining the pitch for Kill Bill Vol. 3 in my head ("A sadistic Japanese airport gang takes revenge on an uppity new dad by 'losing' his so-expensive-would-we-really-get-it-twice? stroller"), while the gate agent assured me she "had the plane swept. Standard operating procedure." Uh-huh.
They swept, we schlepped. When we got off our connecting flight, we found out the rig had come off our Osaka plane into the odd-sized baggage claim in Chicago almost two hours after the flight landed. United forwarded it, and it'll supposedly be delivered this morning. The moral: if you're going to gate-check an unusual looking stroller, cover it with giant "This is a stroller. REALLY." stickers or something.
Related: DT reader John has his own car seat story from the kid-unfriendly skies. Two's a trend, folks.