So I just got back from a great big excursion – across the Atlantic to the US of A – just me and my 8 month old.
Crazy, you say? Kind of. But my little guy is pretty laid back – and we’ve flown solo before – so I figured what the hey. It’s October, it’s cheap, and I’ve got a bunch more months of maternity leave to get through.
I guess if I was going to give travel tips for infants, I would say – CHOOSE YOUR AIRLINE WISELY. I thought I might save a little change, stray from SAS who took such great care of us last time we flew solo from Copenhagen to NYC.
STUPID STUPID STUPID me.
I would not mind if Delta told me they hated babies before I bought my ticket – then I would not have bought it. But by the time I began to catch on to their feelings, it was too late. We were ‘non-refundably’ attached.
So here is how Delta showed me their true feelings – I don’t know how it is with other airlines, but SAS didn’t do any of the following:
1) No e-ticket available for infant. No, I needed to go to the ticket counter to pick up his ticket. The ticket counter closes 3 hours before the flight. My travel agent recommended going and getting the ticket a few days early – Delta didn’t want to give me my ticket early because they thought I might lose it – thankfully they cave.
2) Hand-written boarding card security fail – after the paper ticket I am handed a blank boarding card filled in with a ball point pen. I get to security and they won’t let me in. Why? Because there is no time of departure written on the boarding pass. I try to convince her to write the time herself on the pass – since it is on my pass and his is only good with mine. She won’t cave – I have to head back downstairs to check-in AGAIN
3) No booking or confirmation of baby bassinet. Despite the fact that my e-ticket says that I have a confirmed baby bassinet I am informed that this is impossible – there is no such thing. It is a first come first serve basis. After my security delay I am forced to sprint to the gate to be the first one to confirm said bassinet. I managed this one way, but no on the return flight.
4) No seat belt or flotation device for baby – I realize these are largely ornamental, but when I flew SAS they were very insistent that infant was belted in my lap, facing forward. There was no way to seatbelt my child to me on Delta. He sat on my lap
5) NO CHANGING TABLES ON A 9 HOUR FLIGHT: OK, this is my biggest beef with Delta. On the newly revamped (and by revamped I mean brought up to Virgin Air circa 1998 standards) jet we flew back from NYC on, there were videos in the headrests but NO CHANGING TABLES ON THE AIRCRAFT. Now I get the whole ‘don’t change baby in the seat’ bit, I think it is gross and unsanitary and wouldn’t want to do it. But you really want me to change my baby’s diaper on top of a toilet seat in a tiny bathroom? SAS changing tables seem huge in comparison.
So there were tons of other dramas involved, but they were mostly due to poor customer service of grown-ups. The only thing that made this trip enjoyable were the great flight attendants that saved the day.
So do some investigating before you fly solo with an infant or toddler! I know I will be next time