We have been eagerly counting down the days for our trip to Copenhagen and baby’s first flight however, it turned out to be a day of mixed emotions.
We thought we were completely prepared for Harry’s first flight. I had referred back to my essential packing list for flying with a baby and packed lots of snacks and toys to keep both boys entertained throughout the flight. We were particularly excited as his Uncle Chris, my brother-in-law, was going to be our pilot.
Nothing however could have prepared us for the terrible and shocking news we woke up to on Saturday morning. The media coverage of the Friday night attacks in Paris was heart breaking and unimaginable.
Shortly before setting off from home for our journey to Gatwick airport, we also heard that north terminal had been evacuated due to a suspicious package. Understandably, this made us feel very apprehensive and we questioned whether it was still safe to fly. After much deliberation we decided that we would still travel, although it sounds harsh, life has to continue. We were of course concerned but felt reassured that airports would have heightened security.
After meeting with my sister-in-law Helen, we heard from Chris who informed us that south terminal was operating as normal and there was no need to worry. The easyJet website also confirmed that all south terminal flights were going ahead as planned.
We agreed to travel on the condition that we quickly make our way through to security and the x-ray machines. This was easier said than done. With north terminal still closed, south terminal was busy with travellers whose flights had been delayed. When we finally got through the crowds and to security I forgot to take baby’s bottle of milk from my hand luggage and it had to be searched. The security staff could tell I was nervous about travelling with everything that was going on and I was kindly asked to calm down.
Once through security it was clear that the media was correct and some travellers had decided not to fly as the south terminal departure lounges were very quiet. Whilst watching my boys play alone in the soft play area I saw from checking on my phone that they had reopened the north terminal after confirming they had found a firearm. This made me feel uneasy.
I have only once before been a nervous flyer, after getting caught in New York on September 11th 2001. On my return journey to the UK, after a year of working in Orlando, I had stopped off for what was supposed to be a few days to spend time with a friend in New York city. On Monday 10th September, we had explored the city and stopped at all the main attractions including the Twin Towers. My flight home on the 11th September was of course cancelled and I eventually returned to the UK a week later. Those feelings of being suspicious of every fellow flyer returned to me this Saturday. It is a horrible feeling especially when flying with your family.
Once we met with Chris by the gate I felt ok, my nervous jitters faded. Chris was looking bemused as we nearly missed the flight and had run to the gate, only just managing to arrive before boarding was announced. He said his hello’s and quickly made his way to the cockpit to prepare for our flight.
As I alluded to in the title of this article, baby’s first flight was a day of mixed emotions. Shock and terror at the awful events which took place in Paris, fear at the consequences of the evacuation of north terminal at Gatwick airport and finally, absolute pride in experiencing my brother-in-law fly us for the first time.
My boys fortunately only experienced the fun and excitement of flying with their Uncle Chris. The highlights of baby’s first flight was hearing their names over the PA system when Chris announced his nephews were travelling onboard. When he brought the plane down to land and parked it at a gate in Copenhagen airport he invited them to sit with him in the cockpit which they also thoroughly enjoyed.
Are you planning on flying with your baby? You may find this essential packing list for flying with a baby or young child useful:)
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