Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Safety tips for flying with a baby on American Airlines

Dr. Egon Spengler: Don't cross the streams.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?
Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.
Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean,
Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping
instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of
Dr Ray Stantz: Total protonic reversal.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip.
Thanks, Egon.

In general, our flights home to Mom's burial and memorial went well, from my many phone calls to shuffle our flights, which were a confusing mix of credit card points award fares and discount fares that weren't booked together and therefore not linked. Plus, we had 3B along for the ride, so we were more picky than usual about seat assignments. Fortunately, we had one great gate agent in D.C., who hooked us up with excellent seats for our flights to San Francisco, including a three-seat bulkhead row with the center seat blocked for 3B for the long leg between O'Hare and SFO. I wish I could have flown back and kissed him. I can't say the same about the gate agent at SFO for our return flights. For her, I wish a lifetime of ice cold lattes. And with that, I present my safety tips for parents flying with babies on American:

Safety Tips for American Airlines Staff:

  • Don't lose parents' Pack N' Play. Especially on the trip to their destination, which lacks any crib, playpen, or bassinet that was constructed in the last 40 years.
  • Don't ask passengers to get to airport two hours early if the security checkpoint--or Starbucks--won't be open at that time. Especially if that time is 4 a.m.
  • Don't lie to parents and tell them that you've put them in a bulkhead row with a seat blocked between them for their baby's car seat when they aren't in a bulkhead row and when they're going to have to gate-check their car seat and hold their baby for the whole flight. Especially if you do this at 4 a.m./b.c. (before coffee). Then again, as a gate agent, what do you care? By the time the parents figure it out, they're locked in the plane, while you're sipping your latte.
  • Don't attempt to deliver a lost bag at 4 a.m., even when you're trying to make up for losing two bags in one trip. The only calls that are acceptable at that hour are to announce that someone has died, and even though it wasn't at an ungodly hour, I've already had one more of those calls this year than I need.

Safety Tips for Parents:

  • Do nurse your baby for takeoff and landing. The milk coma is your friend.
  • Do indelibly label your Pack N' Play.
  • Don't get the huevos rancheros and only two hours of sleep the night before you fly.

At the end of the day, however, if your baby is happy when you fly, and if the plane goes up and comes down safely--even if it doesn't have all your bags on it--count your blessings.


  1. Excellent tips.

    Too bad you can't spray paint them on AA airplanes ...

  2. Sounds like you had more than your share of travel woes. Though as you say, the important thing is everyone made it home safely. And 3B looks remarkably untraumatized.

  3. Sounds like you had more than your share of travel woes, though as you said, the important thing is that you're home safe and sound. And 3B looks remarkably untraumatized.

  4. Excellent tips.
    I'm so afraid to fly with our baby.

    and the "milk coma"...loved it.
    I called it "milk drunk".