This past June I decided to take advantage of my maternity leave and spend a month at home in the US. In theory this was a great idea, but I was quite nervous about the international trip with my four-month-old infant alone (my husband would be joining us later in the states and accompanying me on the trip back).
Part I: Booking the trip
I would be flying with Iberia, the only airline with direct flights to Boston (during certain months). It would already be enough of a traumatic experience without having to add a layover to it! (Note: tomorrow I will be taking a 15-hour trip home with a layover with my now 10-month old baby. That should be interesting…See (Surviving International Travel Alone with an Infant and a Layover). Since I was traveling with an infant and at the same time using accumulated frequent flyer miles, I decided it would be best to make the reservation over the phone to avoid any issues. The reservation process went very smoothly, and the agent helping me on the phone was very friendly. She assured me that I would have a seat with an infant bassinet in front of it. The entire reservation took about 40 minutes to complete due to all the details, but the service was great.
NOTE: I did not realize that the phone number on the Iberia web site was not toll-free! That is until I later received a 40€ charge for the phone call…(see Paying for customer service)
Part II: The trip
There’s no way around it. Flying with an infant is difficult. However, everything went quite smoothly, and the Iberia service was extremely helpful. One of the most difficult things is going through security at the airport because you have to fold up the stroller yourself, but a four-month-old baby can’t exactly be left alone. I ended up handing off the little man to an employee for 10 seconds while I folded up the stroller and took off the wheels so it would fit in the machine. Another complicated thing was finding a place to heat up water for his bottle. After waiting in line for about 10 minutes at a coffee place near our gate, I got to the front of the line only to find out that they don’t have a microwave. Finally I found water and made it to the gate after boarding had already started (oops).
We were quite comfortable with our seats (my seat really) and the baby bassinet. The crew was extremely helpful and attentive, and we were even given a little baby travel kit as a remembrance (bibs, baby cologne, diaper and wipes). This was an extra touch that was quite appreciated, but not necessary.
Thankfully my baby behaved quite well during the trip. We arrived in Boston without any problems and headed on our merry way.
Now the jetlag for the next two weeks is another story….
TIPS for international travel:
- Make sure the airline you’re calling won’t be charging you for the call! Check out the web site No Más 900 (http://www.nmn900.com) for a free equivalent phone number if the one you’re calling is 900 or 902.
- Arrive at the airport 3 hours ahead of time. I arrived a little under 2 ½ hours and ended up getting to the gate when boarding was already underway.
- Bring a thermos and fill it with very hot water whenever you get the chance to have them heat up a bottle that you purchase. Buy separate room temperature bottles. This way you’ll have the hot water for a while and can mix it with the room temperature water to make bottles during the trip.
- Be prepared to have to put everything (everything) through security. Practice folding up the stroller beforehand at home. (This was something I was dreading, but in the end I survived).
- Request the baby bassinet. It’s extremely helpful!
All in all, the trip over with Iberia was great. The trip back in general was just as good except for one MAJOR problem when arriving back in Spain (See Part II)