I’ll write more of an “advice on traveling with two” over at White as Milk when we get back from the US, but right now my advice can be summarized thusly–don’t think that traveling with two with other adults has any bearing on the experience of traveling with two on your own.
This was actually the smoothest of the flights. Rhi slept for almost the whole flight. Ellie was happy to watch the in-flight entertainment. I got to watch some. The biggest issue I had was that there were no kid sized headphones (Singapore Air has them, United does not), and even the earbuds I’d bought for Ellie were too big. She wanted to use them and kept needing me to re-insert them as they kept falling out. This was annoying enough that after the flight I told her I’d accidentally left them on the plane.
The only other hitch on this flight was the man sitting in front of us. He was clearly one of those children should be stowed with pets underneath the plane types. Rhi cried for maybe 5 minutes out of 7 hours. Ellie sat quietly and behaved the entire flight. But he kept looking at us…specifically Ellie…with the same expression one reserves for dog excrement on one’s shoe. Part of me spent part of the flight preparing comebacks should he have said anything to me…I was working on something invoking how my kids were slackers as they didn’t spring to life as fully formed adults like Athena from Zeus’s head. (yes, even my insults are nerdy.)
Now, had the childhater been on this flight he might have had a point to the dirty looks. E was (mostly) fine. Rhi screamed. Loudly. It was somewhat awful. In the end I figured out that she was fine while held and while in her carseat but not buckled in. Buckling her in was the cue to start screaming…and she can far outscream Ellie’s loudest baby scream.
The other issue with this flight was that after everyone boarding on time and pushing back from the gate on time….Narita closed a runway and used ours to land planes, delaying our takeoff. Knowing that, I anticipated that we’d end up missing our connection in DC. But I wasn’t too worried as there was another flight 4 hours later, and having a long break to run around the airport and stretch our legs sounded fine to me.
I was right. We missed our plane–we were still in line for security when it took off. So I went to the Lounge (frequent flier status has its perks) and arranged seats on the 10pm flight to Boston. We ran around the airport, got food, and generally had a nice time. We moved to the lounge to charge electronics and kill the last hour or so before boarding.
Then came the delay. Then the next delay and the information that they were “looking for a plane” and “weren’t sure” if the flight was going to get delayed further. It was not my proudest parenting moment to nod off, and wake up five minutes later to find Ellie grinding cracker into the rug and Rhi eating said cracker from the rug. I made E apologize and we vacuumed it up. Then I went to the desk and asked if we could just get on a flight the next day.
The layover ended up being awesome because we have family who live near Dulles. They’d never met the baby, so we went over to their home for a few hours. Then we went to the hotel and were asleep while the flight was still mid air. In the morning we breakfasted with cousins again, and then we were dropped at the airport.
Domestic first may suck in comparison to international business or international first, but that doesn’t mean I’d ever turn my nose up at it. However, there was more screaming from Rhi until I held her (so much for her seat). Because the seats are two on either side of the aisle, Ellie was sitting across from me, next to a grandmother who was delighted to color with her during take off at her request (to my relief).
We arrived on time in a different part of the airport than I’m used to. However, one of my favorite fast food chains (Panda Express) had an outlet there, so I happily got some orange chicken to scarf while we figured out if my luggage had ever made it to boston (it had) and where it was (another terminal).
By far not my favorite flights, but not as bad as it could’ve been. We made it in one piece after all.