Originally posted at Folinazzo.com – March 25, 2010
When United Airlines announced an awards travel sale last summer, and we realized it would cost us only 60,000 frequent flier miles for three round-trip tickets, we thought it a really good idea to book flights to Arizona for Mark, Lucia, and me. The regular “price” of one round-trip ticket from O’Hare to Phoenix usually is 50,000 miles. So 60,000 miles for three tickets? We couldn’t pass it up.
There is always a catch, though. Neither leg of the journey would be non-stop. We learned we’d have to stop twice on the way to Phoenix, and then once on the way back home to Chicago. Still not bad, though – right? It’s free, after all. Not costing us a dime.
Did I mention that Lucia (our daughter) would be one year old at the time of travel? Honestly, what were we thinking? We would have to strap in and then undo her car seat three times. Three flights, two layovers = a long day of travel. We would have to pack a small feast to make sure she was properly fed throughout the day.
Still, last July when we booked the flights, it all didn’t seem so bad. But as our departure date grew nearer, I became more and more anxious. Again, what were we thinking?
Turns out, Mark and I are awesome planners and Lucia is an exceptional traveler. Our extended day of travel could not have run more smoothly. Even the weather cooperated.
My greatest concern was that we would not be allowed to carry on a sufficient amount of food and milk for Lucia to last throughout the day. I checked the TSA’s website and found nothing helpful at first. Then I looked a bit more closely and found exactly what I needed to know; this link was extremely helpful. We breezed through security at O’Hare. The TSA did test the milk in the bottles we had prepared ahead of time, but that was the only “delay” we experienced.
Lucia was comfortable and relaxed throughout the day. We had enough food and bottles for her, and, equally important, enough snacks (especially her favorite, HappyMelts [highly recommended by this mom]). Of course, we had toys and books for her – enough to keep her occupied for hours. The flight times also worked well with Lucia’s nap times, so that was an added bonus.
Despite the long hours, it was a perfect day of traveling, and I am elated that my daughter is such a good little traveler. Actually, she’s a veteran now; this was her third airplane trip since she was born a year ago! She is – we are – on our way to what we hope is a long history of happy travel tales for this family.