I am happy to pre-board our flight because my husband and I are traveling with three children under the age of 6 and have three car seats, five carry on bags, my large purse and a stroller. We need the extra time to get the kids situated, attach the car seats and gate check the stroller.
The flight starts out bad from our first steps onto the plane. The flight attendant that is greeting people getting onto the plane loses her smile when she sees me struggling with all the kids and the bags we are carrying. “What row are you in?” She asks in a stone voice. (What? No Hello or Welcome?) “We have five seats in row 1,” I answer in a sweeter than usual voice. This time her voice exaggerates despair, “Oh-NO! That is the WORST row for families because there is no under the seat storage. The next time they ask you if you want row 1, you need to say NO THANK YOU!” I look at her pursed lips and say, “She didn’t ask me, she just gave us these seats. So do you mean that we won’t have access to our bags during the flight?” “No, they must be stowed and I will have to try and find room for everything overhead. There is limited space, you know.” Great. We have already irritated our flight attendant with all our carry-on baggage and I don’t have what I need to keep the kids busy. STRIKE ONE.
We are then informed that two of our three seats are not in compliance with airline regulations and may not be used. The flight attendant informs me that there is no room to store them overhead and they will need to be gate checked. Knowing that we need them for the car rental, I question if we will ever see them again in one piece. I tell our flight attendant, “I have had a car seat broken before through gate check. If there is not room overhead, I understand, but you must assure me that our seats will not get broken.” She must agree with my concerns because magically, she is able to find overhead storage for both seats. It is the nicest thing she does for us the entire flight but she is still not happy. STRIKE TWO.
Once the baby’s seat is securely fastened to the plane, I place him in it and sit next to him as I read him a book.