The Lydster, Part 64: A Fly Girl

Lydia flew for the first time in June, as she and I went to Charlotte, NC for my niece Alex’s high school graduation.

Last time I flew to Charlotte, there were reasonably-priced direct flights from Albany to Charlotte and back. But the last time was in November 2007, on Delta, and that was before the Delta-Northwest merger that stifled competition.

So this time, my options were c. $370 for a direct flight or $230 for one that would stop at JFK, Cincinnati or, heaven forbid, Detroit. (That was not a knock on Detroit or its airport, only the idea of traveling that far west before going south.) I’m talking $370 or $230 EACH.

We got to the Albany International Airport – it’s “international” because one can fly into Canada from here – in plenty of time, but I was we were at the wrong gate, and we had to rush through the airport as we heard our names announced on the loudspeaker.

All of these short flights had limited storage, so the small suitcase, which met the carry-on regulations, was nevertheless stowed under the plane; had I realized that, I would have packed differently.

I know that due to circumstances, smaller children ravel by air. But I’ve BEEN on those flights with screaming children on the flight and I didn’t want my child to be one of them. To that end, Lydia, a few days before, got her first pieces of chewing gum ever. She liked it – though she hasn’t asked for more since a couple days since the return trip.

One of the smart things I was able to do was book the same pair of seats for all four legs of the trip. It made MY comfort level much greater. As I suspected, she wanted, and got, the window seat each time.

All the takeoffs and landings were uneventful – that’s a good thing. I was particularly vigilant in making sure that she did not hear the news about the plane that had crashed between Brazil and France before her first flight. Indeed, the followup news about the crash near Buffalo, and our plane was more that size, also got quickly changed if she happened to be in the room; thee’s lots of news she hasn’t seen yet, but she will in due time.

There were no snacks on the ALB-JFK part of the trip. But there were a couple choices from JFK to CLT. One was a pair of cookies and the other was peanuts. When the flight attendant asked if we wanted anything, I asked to see the packaging so I could read the label. I noted that my daughter had a peanut allergy. Horrified, she asked if she should retrieve the half dozen rows of peanuts she had already dispensed. I assured her that Lydia’s allergy is not airborne but tied only to actual consumption.

Lydia was very well behaved throughout, although she was slightly annoyed at one point that I had to put her tray in the upright and locked position until she realized that EVERYONE had to. It wasn’t Daddy’s rule, it was the airline’s and thus less onerous. On a later flight, she heard a signal and she prematurely put up her tray until I advised her otherwise.

Getting to the Charlotte airport…that’s a story for another day, but it’s not Lydia-specific in any case.

I must say that I was a little bit worried about the trip, especially four takeoffs and landings, but that Lydia provided to be a very pleasant traveling companion.


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