I missed my connection in Madrid as I mentioned in my last post. They have opened a new international terminal there and I was not prepared to do the following when I got off the plane: Walk 10 minutes to passport control, wait 20 minutes for passport control, take 22 minute train ride to new terminal baggage claim (you did read that right, it is 22 minutes) wait 30 minutes for luggage, get on bus to Terminal 2 which is 10 minutes away. Total time, more than it takes to get to the next plane. Cost of new ticket for short two hour connecting flight- $500. Ouch......
March 28, 2008
So the delay in my blogs was due to all the traveling the baby and I were doing this month. Eight flights in three weeks, two overseas. After writing this blog, I actually get a kick out of putting the words to practice and seeing what works. And I always break some of my own rules and regret it later- this trip was no different. Here are a few of my small sins committed that did not make life any easier while traveling alone with the baby...
- Carried a big book with me, yes everywhere and just so you know, I didn't read one word. Just in case I didn't have enough crap with me.
- Wore a belt and tough to remove shoes thru security, because baby, diaper bag, computer, carseat, stroller, and boarding passes in my hand were not enough work for me?
- Cut my connection to short, and consequently I missed my flight- and I paid $$$$ dearly!
-Didn't bring an extra shirt for myself. Actually I lucked out this time but my time is coming and I am going to be screwed!
After all the psychiatric care and back doctor care and dry cleaning maybe I will start to learn to optimize the travel system for once and for all- probably not.
So I needed a new lightweight stroller, I did my research (obviously not good enough) and decided on the MacLaren Triumph. It gets great reviews so I went for it- and now I have to admit that I am not that happy with it. Here's why-
1) the seat does recline but not really that far
2) there is no foot rest which isn't a big deal
3) I don't find the break that easy although again not a big deal
4) The adjustable clip used to set the recline already fell off
5) I cant leave my relatively small diaper bag on the back or the whole thing topples over
6) The sun shade is short
7) And the basket, although large, doesn't really have a big open to put things in
I am being overly princess-ey here but I just expected a little more with all the hype. It is a good stroller- the wheels turn well (although no suspension) and it folds well. Most of the problems that I mention above are actually valid in an effort to make the stroller so lightweight, but basically I have to say that I wish I would have looked a little harder to find something that really fit my needs. The buzz is the Baby Jogger City is definitely worth checking out....
March 14, 2008
On this past trip it was time to upgrade the little tyke from the infant carseat to the toddler carseat. I did my normal obsessive research and decided on the Grace Platinum Car Go seat. http://www.gracobaby.com It has everything that I need: it's lightweight, easy to move, FAA approved and safe in a car. Don't get me wrong, there seem to be some amazing carseats out there for toddlers but if you are going to be flying alot - this one is worth checking out. It only weighs 8 lbs and fits great on the plane. I had no problems carrying it myself in the airport (with the stroller, carryon, and oh yes, the kid.) and so far its been easy to install in 5 different vehicles (yes this baby has been on the move)
It's tough to pick a carseat that fits all of your needs, especially if you are moving around a lot. I suggest doing your research and picking one that works best for your needs- but if you are flying a lot, then definitely check this one out.
March 5, 2008
Here is a great article written by Richard Goore of Goore's baby store in Sacramento, CA. (Goore' is a great store www.goores.com if you need any baby gear). He addresses the issue of what to do when your baby gear is damaged when flying....
I received a call from one of my friends the other day telling me how frustrated he was with the airline they flew on for their recent summer trip. He went on to tell me that their new stroller they just got from Goore's is now damaged. It is still usable but the frame has a dent and the seat is dirtier than before. I was tempted to say I told you so (which I actually had done in the past) but I refrained. When they go on their next trip during the holiday season they will be using both a car seat and a stroller bag to protect their purchases.
The airline restrictions are not cut and dry. Most airlines have you sign a form stating that they are not liable for any damage they may cause to your stroller or car seat when it is checked (at the curb, counter or gate). Some do and some don't. Some simply forget for various reasons. Using travel bags for car seats and strollers will not only protect your purchases but also, in some cases, allow these items to be checked without signing a waiver. I am not sure if you will have a reliable argument should the airlines damage your merchandise but it certainly can't hurt. I just completed an extensive search to find what many of the leading airlines state on their websites regarding . For many there is not a clear cut and dry answer. The information is difficult to find if it is there at all. My suggestion is to call and find out where you can get it in writing. Here are a few of the websites I looked at.
American Airlines states"American is not responsible for damage to any stroller not properly packed in original packaging." That tells me unless it is in a box the hasn't been opened they are not responsible. They have info on car seats as well. For more precise information from American Airlines, Click here then scroll down to Infant Seat or Child Restraint Devices.
Southwest Airlines does not say anything specific on their website about waiving responsibility for damage but I know 1st hand they have you sign their waiver releasing them of responsibility for damage when checking your car seat or stroller. For information on these items when flying Southwest click here.
Continental does have a pretty clear explanation of responsibility when checking strollers, "Continental is not liable for damage to strollers." They do not mention that for car seats though. They count strollers and car seats as regular baggage which falls into the same size and weight restrictions. For more detailed information on Continental's guidelines click here.
These are just a few examples. It is advised to take the time to check the airline you are flying to completely understand their terms and conditions when checking car seats and strollers.
As recommended earlier, you should get a travel bag for your car seats and strollers when you check them. A number of stroller and car seat companies have their own versions that fit their specific products perfectly such as - Bob Joggers, Phil & Ted's E3 Sport Buggy, Bugaboo (Bee, Cameleon/Frog), Stokke Xplory, Sunshine Kids Radian & Compass Booster. If your stroller or car seat does not have a specifically designed bag don't worry. We have many great options for you. Here is a list of our favorites:
- JL Childress Ultimate Car Seat Bag - fits practically every seat on the market. Heavily padded backpack shoulder straps for carrying. I think this is the best option as it frees up your hands.
- JL Childress Wheely Car Seat Bag - Same as above with a single shoulder strap that you can pull behind you as it's on wheels.
- Graco Car Seat Travel bag - Similar to the JL Childress bags but only has one shoulder strap.
- JL Childress Padded Umbrella Stroller Bag - Fits all umbrella style strollers from your inexpensive $20 umbrella up to the more expensive Peg Perego Pliko type strollers.
- JL Childress Standard/Dual Stroller Travel Bag - This is the big one! Will fit all single strollers and even many double strollers. The extra large size measures 42"x21"x13". This one is also great for beach chairs, sports equipment camping gear and more!
There are other options as well but these are the best sellers. You may be done with your Summer travel but the holidays will creep up on you quickly. Make sure you protect your investments so you can continue to use them well into the future.
March 1, 2008
Every trip with our little girl is a learning experience. As my previous post mentioned- I was nervous about this one, especially since the little one is now walking. So here is the basic lowdown.
We had two flights, a 2 hour flight on Sunday night, spent the night in a Madrid hotel, and then a 10 hour day flight on Monday. Someone was looking out for me on the 10 hour flight because I got three seats in a row (I had not bought a seat for the baby) , they let me put the carseat on, and the baby was relatively calm. So as my kiwi husband would say- "I had a blinder" (that means a good thing.) As always I learned a lot and here are the latest revelations:
- Madrid airport: My international flight required a 22 minute train ride from security to the gate, so two hours just got me there with no time to spare and no time for the baby to run around.
- They made me take the Baby Bjorn off thru security. This has never happened before and was my slam dunk method of getting thru security alone. The rules change not only from airport to airport, but from person to person.
- Carseat on board: 3 people said I couldn't take it on board (and on the first flight they didnt allow it), and then the flight attendent at the last minute said, "no problem", although the pursor did check it to make sure it was FAA approved. My suggestion is to carry it to the plane and if they won't let it on then check it at the door. I found that it was better than the bassinet (they let me chose between an aisle seat with the carseat next to me or a middle seat and the bassinet) because the little one was locked in. Having an aisle seat was key now that she was walking.
- Iberia was really nice about warming bottles, food, etc. The spanish are always so nice to babies!
- I used some of the suggested items that our readers sent in, including giving the baby a bag of new toys and that definitely helped. So if you need some tips, check out some of the previous posts from "On The Plane"
We have 6 more flights to go on this trip alone so I am sure there is more to learn and I will keep you posted....