Our first leg of the trip to the States was London to Washington, D.C, direct. I wrote about it here. Our next stop after DC to see family was Florida, where my mother and step-father now live.
Our tickets were cheapest if we flew roundtrip London to Washington and then Florida to London with a short layover in Washington with United Airlines, buying a one way ticket from Washington to Florida separately with another airline. We decided flying out of Reagan Airport with Jet Blue had the best timing and location, since we were staying about 15 minutes away from the Airport and I didn’t want to see Dulles again until we were heading home (no offence, Dulles).
Getting our bags checked in – with a pram and a car seat – was a bit of scrum since we had to first wait in line to get the baggage tags and then take all the luggage over to the screening area. I had hurt my back a couple of nights before getting Freddy into his travel cot (pro-tip: bend at the knees, not at the waist) so I was pretty useless managing the bags.
Security was difficult, and it took us nearly a half an hour to get through with the queuing, anxious tourists cutting the line so they wouldn’t miss their flight, getting all of our kit and bags through the machines, and then the extra screening we had to go through because we were bringing ready-to-feed formula through.
I didn’t know this, but if you are taking ready-to-feed formula through security at a U.S. airport, you have to undergo a very thorough pat down from TSA and extra screening of your belongings because they can’t open the bottles of formula to test them for dangerous substances. Like, a very thorough pat down.
Can I tell you a little secret? In general, don’t mind pat downs. I see them as something clinical that has to be done, and I’ve never had a bad experience with a TSA agent bungling it up. Usually it just feels like a weird massage! I feel worse for the agent who has to touch so many random strangers who probably don’t wear as nice of perfume as I do.
Once we were on the plane, Freddy was a little agitated. In the best of times he doesn’t like to sit still on my lap for very long, so we pulled out all our tricks to keep him calm – bottle, pacifier/dummy, toys, even Peppa Pig. Happy to report that he didn’t (really) cry!
A lot of people brought car seats onto the plane for their babies, but I prefered to have Freddy on our lap. Plus, our EU-made car seat doesn’t have that all critical FAA approved sticker, so I’m not sure if they would have let us take it on. I kind of think they would have, but I just don’t know.
Smooth sailing to Florida. The flight back to London…for another post.