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In-flight entertainment

Ashlynn and Grandpa on the way home from Florida
Flying home on Spirit Airlines.

Flying with my kids was a lot easier than expected. As it turns out, they didn’t inherit my fear of flying…and I appear to be getting over it.

We arrived at the airport really early because I had car seats and a bag to check, then there was a security, and moving two preschoolers through the airport to our gate. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about.

My parents books all of our tickets together and had the option of doing my bags at the same time (they weren’t checking anything). They signed me up for Spirit Airlines express bag drop. When we got to the airport, I saw the line for baggage check was so long and I said “and this is why we are here early!” Then my dad pointed out that there was a separate line for express bag drop.

We walked right up to the counter with my ticket and my bag, the customer service agent (who was dedicated to the express drop line) tagged it and then reached for the car seats. I read online that my car seats would be free, but I wanted to verify.

“Those are free, right?” I said.

“No, $50 each,” the agent said.

“Really?” I replied.

“No, I’m just kidding with you,” said the agent.

“You almost gave me a heart attack,” I said.

We laughed, but I died a little inside from the stress of thinking it might cost me $100 to get my car seats to Florida. Ouch.

Once the bags were dropped, we headed through security. Things to note:

  • Kids under 12 do not have to take their shoes off. This saves so much time.
  • Kids under 12 do not have to go through the X-ray machine. While you can’t hold their hand, you can go in front of behind them as well.
  • Fold up your stroller before you get to security. If you have an umbrella stroller, it has to go through the X-ray machine as well. That is not the time to figure out how to fold it up. Or, try to remember in your “I’m afraid of flying so I took a Xanax on the way here” haze. What? I’m just saying.
  • While they say put each iPad in a separate bin, you don’t have to.

We got through security, found our gate and then got some food for everyone. My kids really enjoyed sitting by the window and eating their chicken nuggets and watching the other planes take off. They were watching another plane get loaded up with luggage when the cockpit window opened and the pilot waved at them. They were in all their glory.

I performed my pre-flight ritual of introducing myself to the pilot, who looked at me like I was crazy, but I guess they can’t all be like the pilots I had on my way to New Hampshire aboard that Southwest flight.

We boarded the flight and it was PACKED.

Madison on the plane with Grandma
My daughter and my mom enjoying the flight.

I can’t complain about the flight too much. The flight attendants were nice, the ride was pleasant and there was a dog on the plane and that was pretty fun. The thing that is annoying? The price of food on the flight. Are you kidding me? On Delta, I got cookies. On Spirit, I can’t get anything. Not even a mini-bag of pretzels. I was so happy I had picked up a few cookies from McDonald’s and had filled my kids’ cups with juice before we got on the plane.

I did end up buying one $3 can of juice. Yes, $3! My daughter drank all her juice on the way down and I wanted to have something in her cup when we landed in case her ears bugged her.

My kids did great on their first flight. Aside from asking me constantly if they could use their iPads at the beginning of the flight, they seemed to enjoy the ride. My youngest even had a good time looking out the window with my dad. Mostly they just watched movies and played games on their iPads and then talked to us.

By the end of the 2.5 hour flight, they were ready to get off the plane. But so was I. Apparently the baby a few rows up was really bored with sitting in his mother’s lap and I was pretty much over his screaming.

The flight back was a bit more uneventful.

We got to the Fort Lauderdale airport with plenty of time, only to find out there was an insanely and completely abnormal line at security. We made it through security with a few minutes to spare, just not enough time to get breakfast. We had a 6:20 a.m. flight, so I knew my kids would be clamoring for food once we got in the air.

We were able to get on board and get settled.

The ascent was a little bit bumpy this time, but once we were in the air at 39,000 feet, things were smooth sailing. My older daughter had wrangled the window seat away from my dad, but he switched with her after we took off and she just wanted to watch a movie on her iPad. My younger daughter sat across the aisle from me, with my mom. She giggled all through take-off and then wanted to color.

We got out her supplies and then I spent a whopping $12 on two juices, one water, two muffins and one bag of animal crackers.

Sky-way robbery I tell you.

Our flight attendants were great. I started to get sort of antsy mid-flight and kept asking the time and they were good with it. They let several of the commuting passengers stretch out on the empty seat in the back and take a rest.

This is also when I signed up for the Spirit Airline credit card. Flying is expensive, but totally worth it when we are traveling a distance. We want to be able to visit my grandparents again next year. We’ll see if this helps.

After we landed in Detroit, the kids and I went up to the cockpit in the hopes of meeting the pilot. They wanted to see the person who flew the plane. We headed up front when it was our turn to exit the plane. I asked it we could talk to them and were told we could. We stepped in and said hi, but one was on the phone and the other had an accent so thick my children couldn’t understand his questions. I was hoping they could get some wings like I did on our Delta flight, but I guess they don’t do that.

We went to baggage claim to get our bags and immediately I wanted to be back in Florida. It was cold and dreary out. And then I saw our car seat. It was sitting in the middle of the baggage carrosel and there was no way to get it. How did it get trapped there you ask? Good question. It appears the car seat wasn’t put into a giant bin and sent up the conveyor. A strap came lose and got caught in the conveyor belt. A fellow passenger flipped it up on the center island when it started blocking other bags from getting through. The maintenance crew had to come out, turn off the carrosel and completely unwedge our carseat, which was still stuck in the belt.

Needless to say, the car seat suffered some damage. As a result, I recommend covering your car seats or putting them in a car seat travel bag. There wasn’t much I could do about the damage, but I am happy it wasn’t damaged so much it couldn’t be used.

We had a pretty decent experience. Overall the flights were good, the staff was helpful and we left with all of our luggage.

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