I couldn't sleep the night before my first flight with Silas. I laid there in the dark, imagining all of the hatred I would see in people's eyes when Silas started bawling the moment we sat on the plane and didn't stop until we got back on the ground. Hearing the snide comments people would say when they saw a baby at the gate for the flight they were going to be going on. I don't particularly enjoy people I don't know not liking me. I'm weird like that.
Luckily, my experience traveling with Silas was nothing like that. I can't say enough how nice people were towards us. To be self-sufficient, I had brought my carry on luggage in the form of a backpack and messenger bag and had a baby carrier to keep Silas close to me. But even still, people offered to help me stow my bag and retrieve it for me after the flight was over. I was very thankful to them.
And, I did get lucky that Silas does not seem to be affected by the change in pressure during take off or landing. I nursed him and/or he was asleep for most of my flights, but he was wide awake for the last flight and didn't even fuss during take off. That's not to say he didn't fuss and cry at points throughout the flights, but the reaction of people around me was not at all what I had feared.
On my first flight, I had a row of two seats to myself and Silas slept for nearly the whole thing. No problem. My next flight, I was kind of squished into my seat area by a gentleman who took up almost every square inch of his seating area. I had to twist sideways to nurse Silas so that his legs were pointing completely forward in order to avoid Silas kicking my seatmate. But when Silas started fussing some, my seatmate was quick to smile at him and Silas quieted down quickly.
My return flight started to get me nervous. At first, it was fine. I got onto the plane with Silas and stowed my backpack. The people next to me asked me how old he was and the flight attendant told me about his seven month old granddaughter. A man in the row behind and across the aisle from us smiled and waved as Silas stared at him.
Then the captain announced a flight delay due to a mechanical problem. The maintenance team was on another plane, so we had to sit tight for a little while, he said over the intercom. Silas was still being happy and content, but inside I worried a bit, because I knew that it would be soon time for him to nurse and nap and if he started that while we were still on the ground, there would be more time awake in the air.
Time passed, about fifteen minutes, and Silas started fussing to nurse, so I fed him while we all waited. More time passed and Silas fell asleep on my lap. Still more time passed and then the maintenance team arrived and started working on the problem. Silas woke up from his nap and I started to think of ways I could entertain him for the nearly two hour flight. Silas is a baby who enjoys being walked around and I was picturing a flight of frustrated cries.
Then came the announcement that we had to deplane for a pressurized test of our aircraft. It had been just over an hour since we all boarded the plane. I found myself somewhat happy to have a chance to take Silas out of the plane and have a bit of a change of scenery, but I had no clue what this meant in terms of my connecting flight. Honestly, I thought almost immediately that I would just ask to fly out tomorrow.
And that did work out. I ended up with a first class ticket for a flight out the next morning. I was happy to spend more time with my family but frustrated to have spent most of the day at the airport and on a plane.
My first class flight was amazing. There was so much leg room. I'm not insanely tall by any means, but a lot of my height comes from my legs and so airplane seats in coach are not very comfortable. In first class, I could almost stretch my legs out completely. And the seat was wider, so that I could comfortably nurse Silas without having to twist around. And the people were just as nice, even in first class. My seatmate smiled at Silas and the man across the aisle played peek-a-boo with his book when he noticed Silas looking his way.
At the near end of the flight, another man came up and congratulated me on having such a great traveler. A woman told Silas "you have a great mother." I couldn't stop smiling. I had been so nervous about how people would react and came to find out that it wasn't bad at all. Even when he did cry for a short while, no one glared at me as I calmly rocked him and patted his back.
My last flight was another short one, and Silas slept for most of that. Overall, I know it could have been worse, especially if the air pressure had made Silas uncomfortable. I know that is luck, as much as I wish I could claim that it was my "being awesome." I do plan to visit my parents again as soon as possible and I will be much less nervous about flying with an infant. I realized quickly that Silas is at a great age to fly and it will only be harder as he grows more and doesn't sleep as often. But I will worry about that later.