In the next two months I will be taking Annabelle on two plane flights. The first, which I am calling our “practice run,” is a short, direct flight from Houston to West Virginia to visit relatives. The only things that worry me at all about this trip are (1) it is her first trip EVER by car or plane longer than one hour, and (2) Daddy will not be with us to help carry luggage and hold the baby if she gets restless. However, my mom traveled with three kids many times, so I’m sure between the two of us we will be fine.
The second trip, which DOES make me a little more nervous is to the Bahamas for my sister’s wedding. The first leg of the trip is again a direct flight, from Houston to Nassau. However, the wedding is not on the big island. No, my sister selected a remote, private beach resort on tiny outlying Cat Island. Absolutely stunning in photos, but requiring a second flight on a completely separate Bahamian airline. From what I’ve been told, a 30-seat turbo-prop (eek!!!)
I made the decision for both trips to buy Annabelle her own seat so she can ride in her carseat. Honestly, to me there really was no decision to make. Even rough turbulence could toss a lap baby out of a parent’s arms, and a preventable injury was not worth saving a few hundred dollars. I know this is a hot-button issue among parents, but this is my opinion. We waited so long to have Annabelle and went through such heartache the year prior, that I could never forgive myself if anything happened because she was not properly restrained. (Stepping off soapbox now.)
I’ve already booked our international flight, but last night my sister texted to encourage me to go ahead and book the Bahamian leg of the trip, as these small planes fill up quickly. I got my credit card handy (no American Express– dang, there goes a thousand dollars in potential points!) However, when I entered in the ages of all our passengers, Annabelle was not given the option of buying a seat. The website simply stated that no seats are allocated for infant passengers. WHOA. I feel much safer in the big commercial jet from Houston, and she has a seat on that trip. But the little puddle-jumper crossing ocean waters to a remote island doesn’t think she warrants a safe place to be strapped in? Not cool. I cancelled my booking so I could call the airline in the morning.
Lively, loud island music blared in my ear as I waited to speak to the airline representative. I suppose it is a nice departure from the usual elevator music that I have become so accustomed to in my MANY calls to insurance, doctors offices, the healthcare marketplace, etc. Fortunately, the wait was brief.
“Hi, I was trying to book an upcoming flight from Nassau to Cat Island with my one year old daughter, but the website wouldn’t let me buy her own seat.”
“Oh no, infants are not charged to fly.”
“Right, but I WANT to pay so she can have her own seat.”
“Oh but she can sit in your lap for free.”
“I’m not comfortable with that at all.”
“No?” Pause. “You’re not?” The confusion was obvious in her voice. Apparently no one has ever expressed this concern before. “Um, do you mind holding for a minute while I speak to a supervisor?” Apparently permission is needed for me to pay for a child that would otherwise be riding free. After a few minutes, “Ok, you can go ahead and buy her a ticket. Just check the box that says she is over two years old.”
“And the computer will let me do that if her birthday doesn’t match?” Silence. “Ok, well I’ll give it a try. Thanks for your help.”
So, I’m about to attempt to purchase a ticket for my “two year old” daughter and hope that we don’t have any problems when we show up in a foreign country with a passport that very obviously states a different age.
This adventure is definitely TO BE CONTINUED…