This was originally meant to be posted before our trip back East for Christmas, but it got lost in the shuffle, so here’s a pre-trip and post-trip recap all in one.
We’ll be traveling back to the Northeast to see family this Christmas. With this being our second transcontinental flight with the girls, we are going to repeat some things and also change some things up.
The biggest factor we are changing is time of flight, taking a red eye hoping the girls will sleep through most of it. Flying to some regional airports this time around, we will be using our connections to feed and tire the girls out, hoping they stay calm during the flights. What we believe will be one of the larger problems will be their desire to move around instead of staying in our laps.
The red eye worked out quite well. The girls were very stimulated in the airport and when people were boarding the plane, so they were up about 3 hours past their normal bedtime. Once they finally caved, they slept hard on us. The other perk was that a nice man gave up his seat so Mary and I could sit in the same row with an empty middle seat. This gave us a bit more room to spread out and help each other while the girls fussed a bit during taxiing. Once we got to Newark, NJ, we had a 3 hours layover, which was long, but helpful as we put the girls in their new Citi Mini GT Double stroller and walked them around while they got some more sleep. The final leg to Albany was a small propeller plane holding 36 people. It was short and consisted of distractions of ten minutes with an empty cup, ten minutes with a plastic wrapper and ten minutes with a toy.
Our return flights were a bit more challenging. Taking off at 6a from Providence, we had an early start to the day. Our gate agent helped us get two seats in the back of the plane with an empty seat so we could again spread out and limit disturbances to others. A factor that we neglected was that planes on the east coast taxi longer because they need to get de-iced. Well, Quincy didn’t care much for that and wanted to eat. We stalled as much as we could, but she was an unhappy camper until takeoff. The final leg from Chicago to San Diego was a tough one. It was a 4 hour flight with both of us sitting across from each other in aisle seats with a full plane. We had no wiggle room and thank goodness, our neighbors were tolerant of the girls squirming. We also had another family of twins on board, ages 1.5 years, and saw that those parents bought a third seat, even though they were still eligible for infant in arms flying. They might have done it because the dad was 6’6” or because they knew the extra seat made things slightly easier, but this might be something we consider the next time we fly a significant distance with the girls.
We also will be going with a lean packing plan, knowing we have access to free laundry and that our families will gift outfits to the girls. What better way to show them how much you like it then by wearing it the next day. It also is needed because our luggage will most likely be heavier on the way home than on the way there.
This plan worked out pretty well. The girls traveled in pajamas and we brought one extra outfit. Grandma and Grandpa, Nanny and Saba, and other relatives had new gear waiting for them, making it much easier to pack. We also had a small duffel that we put in our big luggage for me to use as a carry-on on our return travel. It worked out quite nicely not having to check another bag while also bringing home some gifts from generous family.
We did check their car seats all the way through to our final destinations as well, so we only had the stroller and diaper bag for our outbound flights and then only added my duffel back for our return flights.
Using some of our lessons learned from our last flying adventure, we’ll hopefully build off of those.
Overall, our girls continue to amaze us with their adaptability. I’m also grateful when fellow passengers are tolerant and interactive with the girls. People who sat behind me made faces and “played” with the girls helping pass the time. In fact, during one transaction as Mary and I were getting organized, an older woman offered to hold Leona and did so for a good minute. Again, it takes a village, even if they are strangers.
We saw over 80 friends and family throughout our entire trip and the girls were so warm and welcoming to every person they met. We hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.