Trips with a baby can be a frightening prospect. Since babies are unpredictable and prone to crying, there’s a good chance that you’ll be confined to a small area for a lengthy period of time with a inconsolable, screaming child.
Taking a car trip can be trying enough, but in a car you at least have the option of pulling over and stopping for a bit. For our trip to Long Island this past weekend, we went by airplane. Having never flown with the Cutlet before, we weren’t sure exactly what to expect. All we knew was that pulling over and getting out wouldn’t be an option for us if she started to cry.
Flying to Long Island used to be a relatively easy process. I could pretty much pack my belongings in a duffel bag that I would carry on the plane. We’d head up to BWI, breeze through security, and board our Southwest plane for the 55 minute flight.
Things would be more difficult this time around. Despite only going for a weekend, we seemed to be packing enough for a month-long cross-country trip. This is nothing new for us, as we’ve learned that when you bring a baby anywhere, you need to prepare for just about any contingency. Even a quick trip out to dinner with the Cutlet seems to require a disproportionate amount of supplies.
Fortunately, as Southwest likes to tell you, they have no extra charge for checking bags. If they’re going to base their ad campaign around this policy, then we are going to take advantage. We loaded up two suitcases with everything we could possibly need, and let their baggage handlers worry about it.
We made it up to BWI rather easily, and I dropped Mrs. Cutter, the Cutlet, and one of our large suitcases off at curbside so that she could check in while I parked the car. To check in with a baby, you must declare that you will have a baby sitting on your lap, and provide a copy of their birth certificate.
Getting through security is also more difficult. You are allowed to pack milk and formula in a carry-on bag, but it must be declared and inspected. You are also allowed to bring a stroller to the gate, but you must take the baby out and carry her through separately. Since I was still waiting in the check-in line after parking, Mrs. Cutter decided to try and handle this herself, since we figured it might take some additional time.
Thanks to some assistance by some helpful fellow passengers, she was able to get through relatively easily. Not as easily as if she had chosen the much shorter security line, but picking the wrong line is one of Mrs. Cutter’s specialties.
We had A seating numbers so we were able to get ideal seats relatively near the front of the plane. We found an empty row, where Mrs. Cutter sat in the window seat and I stayed in the aisle. Since it wasn’t a full flight, I figured that most people would only choose a seat next to a baby as an absolute last resort. As expected, people avoided us, and we had the row to ourselves.
We were concerned that the Cutlet might have a problem during takeoff as the air pressure can cause a good deal of pain in a baby’s ears. We have heard that the best thing to do is feed her as soon as possible. This worked fairly well, as she ate for a bit, and then we were able to keep her relatively content by reading and singing to her. Before we knew it, we were on the ground.
After a short stay in Long Island, we were back at the airport less than 48 hours later. We had an early morning flight, so we had to get the Cutlet up before her usual wake up time. This worked in our favor, as she was able to go back to sleep despite being moved around quite a bit. She actually slept through most of the flight, which was nice.
So I’m happy to report that the Cutlet handled her first airplane trip quite well. We’re hoping that all future flights go as well. And I’m sure the people sitting around us feel the same.