Three Monkeys, Three Typewriters, Two Days

March 4, 2008

Traveling... with children

The last several plane trips Emma and I have taken all looked like this:

  1. Arrive at the airport with sleeping baby in car seat (he always falls asleep in a moving car.
  2. Check in.
  3. Go pour the water out from our water bottles and Arlan's water bottle.
  4. Get in security line.
  5. Pull the laptop and small bag with little bottles of liquid out.
  6. Take off shoes.
  7. Place the following items in gray plastic bins:
    1. Laptop (has to go in its own bin, for some reason)
    2. Baggie with liquids
    3. Two pairs of shoes
    4. Two jackets
    5. Change
    6. Keys
  8. Take Arlan out of the car seat, since the car seat had to go through the scanner. This always wakes him up.
  9. Detach the car seat from the car seat base, since the scanner isn't big enough to send through the car seat without detaching it from the base
  10. Place the following items on the belt:
    1. Three gray plastic bins (sometimes four, depending on whether the nice TSA folks demand that the shoes be separate from the other stuff).
    2. Stroller
    3. Car seat base
    4. Car seat
    5. Carry-on bag
    6. Diaper bag
  11. Go through the metal detector, making sure that Arlan is carried by the parent whose name appears on his pseudo-boarding-pass. Which one this will be seems to be somewhat random.
  12. While one parent holds the baby, the other takes all the abovementioned items off the belt, puts the laptop and liquids back in the carry-on bag, puts on shoes, replaces keys. Then trade off. Both try not to block the way while doing all this, because if you do the TSA folks get upset (somewhat understandably).

I suppose it could be worse. It could be just one parent and a baby. That said, it could be so much better. The laptop and liquids things are silly. Having to wake up a sleeping baby to go through security is questionable. The need to take off shoes is just insane. Baggage handling could be improved such that we'd be OK with just checking the car seat and maybe the carry-on bag. Ah, well. We're looking forward to being in Boston; at that point something like half our trips to visit family could be reasonably done by train instead.

Posted by bzbarsky at March 4, 2008 1:20 PM