Musings of a Marfan Mom

Of "Fun" Flights and Other Things

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I have been terrible about keeping up on my posts recently. I blame it on conference! I finally have my speech written though, and I think everything is ready to go for the teen program so I can almost sit back and relax (I will after I finish some fundraising stuff for our local chapter, later this afternoon).

Right now I’m blogging live from Madison, WI. I think it looks a lot like Ohio, except that everyone here exercises and spends lots of time outdoors. I don’t think I was ever so glad to be off an airplane as I was yesterday! Mark found that if I flew out of and into non-local airports we could save some money and also get me a non-stop flight. This seemed like a great idea, since although this was going to be Menininho’s 4th flight, it was my first time traveling alone with him.

We made it through the airport easily (thanks to Mark helping me with the luggage) and quickly. TSA sure doesn’t make it easy to get an infant through security alone (dismantling the stroller/carseat contraption is tricky one handed; teething babies can and will eat your boarding pass!), but there was a very nice lady behind me who helped me, and a great TSA agent who made sure the stroller was OK. Thank you, thank you!!! They made my morning a lot easier :-)

Now, I’d read a lot of articles, recent articles, about traveling with ‘infants in lap” and they all suggest asking the airline agent if there are spare seats so that the child’s car seat can be brought along. I have, in fact, asked this before on other flights and had there ever been empty seats, we would have been accommodated. So, I waited patiently at the desk for the gate agent to arrived, asked her how she was doing, explained my situation, and asked if there were any empty seats. Our conversation went as follows:

Agent: Oh sure, we have quite a few empty seats on this flight. Let me see your ticket. Oh! Well, you’ve been assigned to the row before the exit row, so we have to move you. [Apparently babies aren’t allowed to be within a row of an exit row…who knew?]
Me: Well, great! Could you just switch me to a row with an already empty seat then, so I can bring the car seat?
Agent: No. The stewardesses won’t like it if they see that.
Me: Huh? I don’t understand. There are empty seats on the plane. I already have to move. People bring car seats on the plane all the time. Please, I’d really appreciate it if you could allow me to move to a row that already has an empty seat.
Agent: You should have thought about that before. You should have bought a ticket for the baby. There are lots of empty seats, but I’m not going to let you use one. Lap babies should have to stay on your lap.

CLEARLY this woman has never traveled alone with a teething 6 month old.

So, not only was I not allowed to bring the car seat on board or even just swap to a row with an already empty seat, I was put in the MIDDLE seat of two random MEN. I asked if I could at least have an aisle seat because I was going to be getting up frequently and also I have crazy long legs, but apparently seats were assigned ahead of time (I blame this on Orbtiz, which Mark said did not allow him to select a seat), and middle seats were the only ones left.

I really wish the agent had been made to sit next to me. I felt really bad for the two guys. I could tell the older man was put off by me breast feeding (I was wearing my snazzy cover, so it’s not like he could see anything) but Menininho had to eat, and I had to change his diaper twice during the flight. I needed to walk around more than that, but the man made SUCH a production out of letting me out to change the diaper that I didn’t dare trying walking Menininho around the plane. [This might be unpopular, but I’m going to say it. I feel like aisle seats should go first to those with kids, the pregnant, those with medical issues, and the really long-legged. Short, healthy, single people shouldn’t use them up!]

Anyhow, Menininho cried for at least half of the 4 hour flight. I tried everything to make him feel better, but he had a hard time going to sleep, even in his sling. I felt bad for him too :-( I was really grateful to the man on the other side of me though. He was closer to my age and told me he had a 9 month old daughter at home. He entertained Menininho with funny faces for a little bit and even let him pull on his jersey.

Mom flew into the same airport at the same time, coming from helping Matt get settled in New Orleans, so she was able to meet Menininho and me at the gate. We are SOOOOO happy to be visiting her and Gabriella!

Tomorrow’s mission: Buy a new nursing bra. This is going to border on TMI, but I wish someone had told me. Do NOT buy a “low cut” nursing bra, no matter how cute it may make look at the store. Also, do not fly when wearing a new bra for the first time, before you’ve had a chance to try it out. When you’re wearing that low cut bra and it’s feeding time, all of a sudden you won’t be in that bra anymore if you know what I mean, and it’s reeeeaaally awkward.

In the next few days: Post about playgroup and the last in the My Life With Marfan series

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  1. hey! sent you a message on facebook about this post!

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  2. Wow. I am really sorry Maya. That lady was clearly crazy. It sounds like she went out of her way to make the flight uncomfortable and difficult. Did you get her name? I would totally lodge a complaint! you are so brave to fly alone with a baby!!!

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