Recently, I had the smoothest, most serene travel experience of my post- 9/11 life. No, I didn't walk, ride my bike or take the train- I flew.
No, I didn't cram all of my belongings into a carry on bag so I wouldn't have to wait on line to check luggage.
No, I didn't leave my laptop or kids at home, so that my hands would be free and I wouldn't have to fumble and bumble at the security checkpoint.
Here's what happened.
After navigating our way out of the JFK long term parking lot (an adventure in an of itself), my husband and I, along with a really large rolling suitcase, three carry on bags, a three year old on the verge of either breaking down or breaking for it (depending on the moment) and a crying infant, strapped in a carrier, stumbled onto the Delta check-in line. Our arrival was neither pretty or graceful, but that is neither here nor there, because we arrived with two golden tickets- our lovely children.
Immediately, the Delta employees swooped in. Since we didn't have a free hand to actually use the self check-in kiosk designed for convenience, an employee quickly took care of it for us, double checking to make sure or lap child seat was also secure (this can be a pain). My husband was led to an agent, so that our bag could be checked quickly and here are some of the other perks we enjoyed that fateful morning:
- We were ushered through to the front of the security line. If you're traveling with kids, you get to go through the line designated for the handicapped and people traveling with special needs. It's usually located to the left of the really long and winding regular person's security line. When you've got kids, you're VIP baby!
- After checking our tickets and passports, the security officer, suggested that we may want to enjoy the specialty checkpoint for TSA prechecked individuals. There should have been a red carpet. That's what it felt like. We didn't have to remove a single item from our carry on bags. No shoes had to come off of our feet. Even the apple juice my little guy was sipping on, that I forgot to throw away, before going through security (because I figured he'd have plenty of time to finish it on that crazy line) went right on through without a pause. The entire security line, plus check-point took maybe five minutes total. We're actually signing up for the TSA precheck service since we tend to fly a lot and not always with the kids.
- When we arrived at our departure gate (literally fifteen minutes after stepping into the airport), we were informed by the agent that we'd be bumped up from regular Economy to Economy Comfort since you know, we had the kids and all. Suddenly, it didn't matter that the man sitting in front of me decided to recline his seat all the way back as I held my sleeping two month old on my lap. We had plenty of room, and we were among the first people to depart the plane (I hate being stuck in the back while people toggle their luggage out of the overhead bins).
- Upon departing the plane, since we were one of the first five people to exit, we bumped right into the pilot, who saw our three year old point at the cockpit and he invited us in for a cockpit tour. He got to press buttons and touch levers. The experience was priceless!
As for the actual flight, after the excitement of the adventure subsided, both little ones passed right out. Not a peep was heard and mommy got to read a novel!
Thanks JFK and Delta for a quick and painless flight. There are definitely perks to flying with kiddos!