First Flight Ever And New Upgrade Dilemma


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This weekend marked a major milestone in The Weekly Flyer’s and Baby Weekly Flyer’s travel record. It was the first flight for Baby Flyer and my first time traveling with a baby. I have new respect for families that travel with kids and learned a lot in the process.

Pre Departure

We gave plenty of time before departure (left 3 hours before departure) in case anything went wrong. And we fully anticipated the time it would take to park, check a bag, go through security, and prep Baby Flyer for the first flight.

Gone are the days of leaving the house only 1 hour before departure and timing the boarding process right when we clear security. Traveling with a baby takes time.

Getting to the gate meant we first had to park the car. Taking a taxi or car service with a car seat just didn’t feel right for the first trip, so we drove to the airport and parked in our secret close long term parking spot at the Atlanta airport.

There is no more using the escalators due to the stroller. Instead, we waited in line for the many elevator trips throughout the journey.

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We had to check bags for the first time in years. Since Mrs Weekly Flyer is not an elite member, and has no Delta credit card, we had to pay for one of our THREE checked bags for a long weekend wedding trip. Baby Flyer brought some extra stuff (clothes, chair, stroller, etc) along for the trip which required us to pack heavy. We used the Platinum Amex Mrs Weekly Flyer got through the 100k sign up bonus to pay for the third non-elite bag. The card will credit the statement for the bag fee making it free. On the return we learned the third bag would be free due to my Platinum status.

One great thing we learned is there is a dedicated security line for strollers. We jumped to the front of the security line since we had a baby. What a time saver.

After security we headed to the SkyClub to prep Baby Flyer for the first flight. We’ve read that feeding a baby before a flight works well. So we timed the schedule right and Baby Flyer was fast asleep on the way to the gate.

New Upgrade Dilemma

We’ve had upgrade dilemmas in the past. They’ve always resulted in Mrs Weekly Flyer taking the upgrade and me being stuck back in coach. But with three of us traveling, this presented a new problem. No way would both of us clear the upgrade list on a Thursday afternoon to West Palm Beach. And we wanted the first test run to be short and in coach in case the baby didn’t do well on the plane. So I took the upgrade requests off each of our reservations. This way we ensured we’d sit next to each other back in coach.

We headed to the gate and boarded before first class. I put the stroller in the bag, plane side checked it, and headed inside the plane with Mrs and Baby Flyer. We were the first people on the plane.

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Our seats were the economy comfort seats on the MD80 two seater side. So we had plenty of leg room and the entire row to ourselves.

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Later this year we are taking a longer journey with Baby Weekly Flyer and we’ve secured three seats together in economy comfort. The three seat economy comfort row looks huge and plenty of space for a small family.

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The first flight went great. Baby Weekly Flyer caught a 1.5 hour nap to South Florida and we even got compliments that people didn’t realize there was a baby in our seat. Talk about making a father proud.

Return Trip From PBI

On the return trip we went through the same pre boarding routine and ended up in the West Palm Beach Delta SkyClub.

The SkyClub was small but very functional. The usual assortment of snacks were out for all to enjoy.

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We met the bartender and he was proud of his Bloody Mary Mix, so we fired one up to test it out for all our readers. It certainly lived up to the hype. It was garnished with a pickle, celery, lime, and olives.

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After a quick visit to the SkyClub we headed back to the gate for pre boarding. I have to admit, traveling with a baby is more difficult than I expected, but the small things like pre boarding really help. We packed up the stroller and headed to our economy comfort seats for the 1.5 hour trip back north.

Bottom Line

Thanks to all of you for sharing tips on how to travel with an infant in arms. Special thanks to Mommy Points for all the great information. Baby Flyer’s first trip was a success. No crying and a nap the entire trip made it an easy adventure.

The next flight for Baby Flyer isn’t until the late fall, so I doubt Baby will earn elite status this year:).

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

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Comments

  1. Congratulations on your first flight with your baby. As your baby gets older it actually gets tougher as they get curious and want to play though out the flight. My son wanted to talk and play with the folks in the rows around us.

    However as a weekly flyer and a travel blogger you earned two strikes towards being a kettle.

    1) You should have known that checked bags are free for up to 9 (I think but certainly more than you) passengers on the same itinerary as you.
    2) You could have left the upgrade requests and if your wife did not get the upgrade, you can always exchange your seat with whoever is sitting next to your wife.

    I gifted my wife DL GM status and she got upgraded on a 4 segment itinerary to SJU which included a transcon portions. Overall the experience has been a pleasure. He did not cry at all but he wanted to play and walk around to every one through out the flight instead of sleeping.

  2. Hi Debbie – Thank you.

    Hi iKonos – They were actually balls not strikes. (1) We booked separate PNRs at different times. I called two Delta Plat agents to try and merge the PNRs but they wouldn’t do it. When we arrived the sky caps wouldn’t comp the free bag so we just rolled with it since we were more concerned about baby. (2) That was the strategy but on te day of departure the Mrs was in the stratosphere on the upgrade list so we took our selves out of play so a true elite would get the upgrade instead of the lucky person who would have ended up next to us. Looking back I should have gifted silver status to Mrs, but will likely hit plat again so can gift her status at that point. Thanks for the comments though, always good to keep peopleon our toes.

  3. Congrats on the first trip! It gets both easier and harder as they get older. Mostly it just continues to be different each time. Family travel is a whole new ball game. You may now find yourself going out of your way to help other families when you fly by yourself in the future. ;). Glad it went well!

  4. Congrats on a successful first trip! It is easier when they’re babies and not mobile (took 2 trips in BizFirst with my son to Hawaii from the East Coast when he was <1) but does get more challenging when they're 2 and want to walk around and explore everything and can't sit in the seat for long periods. It's a lot easier now that my son is 4 and can be absorbed "reading" to himself, coloring, doing puzzles, etc.

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