A Bumpy Ride Even Before Boarding
Aaaah…another flight with my 18-month-old son.
When he was a baby, it used to be an extremely easy way to travel. He would share my seat, gurgling and cooing his way through the flight.
Now, of course, it’s a different story.
He’s now bigger, more active, more curious, more expressive – more everything! He’s reaching a truly independent stage in his life, which can sometimes be a challenge, especially when it comes to flying.
That said, it was not my child who brought up my Kundalini fire recently – it was United Airlines.
Whether or not I have a child with me, it’s amazing how flying with some airlines has become so difficult overall, from the online “check in” to the actual boarding of the plane.
On this trip, I arrived at the airport carrying my child in a wraparound sling. There I was, pushing a heavy cart with one suitcase, one car seat, and two carry-on bags. The last thing I needed was to be told that I had to go from one counter to another, but that’s what happened because nobody had a clue where my check-in counter was. After the mounting frustration of being shooed from one counter to another, I finally got to a counter that would take me, my child, my luggage, my car seat, and my carry-on bags. Relief? Hardly. At the counter, I was told that my child couldn’t board the plane because I did not have an infant ticket.
I had arranged my son’s ticket the night before on the phone, but since someone didn’t enter it correctly, my son wasn’t even on my reservation.
Thankfully, he was very patient as I let him out of the sling to toddle around. It took me 25 minutes at the counter to sort everything out. Next was the line for security, which was horrific. Some very unsympathetic inspectors informed me that I wasn’t allowed carts in the area, so I had to put my son back into his sling again and struggle with our hand-carry bags. That wait at security took another 15 to 20 minutes. Wow, I thought to myself, considering all that’s happened so far, he’s doing great!
Of course, our gate was one of the furthest away, so I decided it would be a good opportunity to let my son run and exert some energy before the flight. I knew that he was already getting restless from being cooped up in the sling for so long, and sitting for another three hours was not a good idea. So out he came from the sling – ah, freedom!
We made it to the gate just as boarding started. I waited for them to announce infant boarding but then noticed that they were beginning to board others. So I dashed up to the counter to ask if they had called infant boarding already. Well, I was told by the ever so helpful attendants that I needed to request infant boarding ahead of time
– pardon me? When did this come to be? Never mind –
I decided to just grit my teeth and board the plane with my son.
But that wasn’t the final issue – there was more to come. Before I could board the plane, I was informed that the plane was too small for me to bring our wheeled hand-carry on board. So there I was, at the entrance to the plane, struggling to remove my computer and decide which of my child’s items to keep with me before the attendants whisked my hand-carry away from me!
Amazingly, we made it to our seats. By this time, my son was understandably tired, cranky and finicky, to say the least. So was I, for that matter. But I realized that I had to focus on calming my energies down in order to shift his. So I started chanting some very low “OMs” in order not to disturb the gentleman beside us. It was awesome how both my son and I began to relax in our seats and shortly after, he fell asleep and thankfully slept for most of the three-hour flight.
By calming my energies, I was not only able to write this blog but I was also able to stretch out my neck and arms during this wonderfully quiet time. I also took the opportunity to start a list of what and how to prepare for the next time we fly – anything to make it easier for him and me.
[tags]om, relaxation, frustration, stress, flight, energy, 18-month-old, trip[/tags]