Thursday, September 2, 2010

Traveling with Grandma

I have to admit that it's been awhile since I traveled with a baby.  A really long while.  But today, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel with Abby from Salt Lake City to Seattle.  It was - well - an adventure.

We intended to fly Triangle Airlines.  We really did.  Once upon a time, we referred to this airline as "God's airline" because their service was so stellar.  I remember once being late for a flight and having the gate agent drive me to my plane in a station wagon on the ramp.  No such service in Salt Lake today!

We arrived at the airport later than we planned, but surely with enough time to make the 11:30 flight.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of thinking I could get my boarding pass from one of the ticketing kiosks.  While I was attempting to do that, the agents were going ga-ga over my beautiful granddaughter.  Sadly, the kiosk did not recognize me.  Not realizing the seriousness of this mistake, I spent a few more moments basking in the glow of grandbaby admiration.  The delay meant that I was within some mysterious 30-minute window which meant that the evil desk agent would not give me a boarding pass on the 11:30 flight (notwithstanding the fact that I had been at the kiosk in plenty of time or that it was their employees who delayed us and didn't mention anything about a 30-minute window).   Evil gate agent even went so far as to leave a comment in the computer that I was not to board the 11:30 flight under any circumstances and proceeded to call the gate WHILE I WAS STANDING THERE to tell them so.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrr...

Totally frustrated with the lack of service, not to mention basic civility from our friends at Triangle Airlines, Beautiful Daughter #1 had the idea to check into the noon flight on Southwest.  Not only were there seats available, but the Southwest gate agents and flight attendants bent over backwards to make sure I made the flight and was situated as comfortably as one can be in a middle seat with an infant.  Kudos to  Southwest!!!

Security is an unpleasant fact of flying at any time, but never more so than with an infant.  Baby's milk, medicine and other liquids have to be unpacked and put in the bin, as do Grandma's liquid items.  Then the computer comes out, the shoes and sweater come off, and the baby has to come out of the stroller.  Then, standing barefoot on the dirty floor, and holding baby in one arm, Grandma tries to fold the unfamiliar stroller to place it on the conveyor belt.  Not successful.  Finally, a TSA employee takes pity on me and figures out how to fold the stroller.  Then through the scanner we go.  Oops, Grandma left her phone in her pocket.  Into a bowl it goes, and back through the scanner a second time.  No beeps.  Now we do the whole operation in reverse.  Unfold the stroller and place baby back in.  Find the bins with our stuff.  Put on the shoes and sweater, trying not to think about what the feet might have walked on while the shoes were being scanned.  Try to repack the liquid items (why is it they never fit like they did before???).  Head for the elevator.  Up and out and down the concourse.  Halfway to the gate, Grandma realizes that the computer is still at security.  No wonder the bag was so much lighter.  Back to security, and now you KNOW you're going to miss the flight.  Thankfully, the computer is still in its bin at security right where I left it.  Race back up the elevator, down the concourse and to the gate.  Is there a rule that it must be the furthest gate possible?  Probably.

Play with baby on the flight and try to keep her from kicking the rude young man in the window seat and his rude mother on the aisle.  Try to keep baby happy.  Works pretty well until about an hour into the flight.  The plane finally touches down in Seattle and Abby falls asleep as we taxi to the gate.  Figures...

We pick up the car seat at baggage claim and have lunch at Ivar's.  Yum!!  Abby loves French Fries.  Uncle Sean arrives at 3:00 and Aunt Lynda is there to meet us.  We are home free now!  Vacationnnnnnnn!!

Aunt Lynda has all the appropriate baby items.  She has a pack and play with a changing table and a mobile, a booster seat/high chair for mealtime, and lots of toys.  Life is good, and Abby shows her appreciation with smiles and giggles.  Oh, she is a cutie.

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