Decisions, decisions

I have a dilemma.  Our little family is planning to fly from California to Maryland to see my sister in May.  I’ve looked at various flight options and I’m struggling to make a decision.  I’d love any input from my readers…

  • Do we fly direct so that we don’t have to change planes?  If we do, it will be a 5 hour flight and will actually go to DC, which is about an hour’s drive from my sister’s house.  The 3.5 hour direct flight to Wisconsin was not bad, but we were going stir crazy by the end of it.
  • Do we pick a flight with a layover so that we can grab some food and allow the boy to walk around between flights?  This will make our travel last about 8 hours but will take us directly to Maryland.  The layovers are only about an hour, so I worry that we won’t make it to our connecting flight on time.
  • Do we get Jack his own seat (he is still under 2) and drag along his carseat?  This will increase the cost of our trip by at least $300, and I’m doubtful that he will even sit in his seat and make it worth it.
  • Do we forego the seat and the extra cargo and rent one in Maryland?
  • Which airlines are more kid-friendly?  I believe our options are Southwest, Continental, Delta, Virgin America, and JetBlue.

When I asked Joe his opinion, he replied, “It’s going to suck no matter what.”  Very helpful.  😛

This is the last big travel we are doing for quite some time, I swear.  It just keeps getting more expensive and more complicated as Jack gets older!

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Comments

  1. I loved having layovers when we traveled to Kentucky with Sam in November. But I am not sure that an hour wouldn’t just add stress, trying to get from one flight to another. For me, the two options are about even so I’d base my decision on the airport, and I would definitely go with the one that’s closer to your destination! After a day of travel the last thing you need is a long car ride!

    For us, it was great for Sam to have his own seat. We strapped it onto one of our suitcases during the layovers.

    Continental is the WORST airline I have EVER flown on. Never again. (It was a pre-Sam experience so I have no idea how they are with kids.) Southwest is fine, no complaints. Jet Blue is AWESOME and very kid-friendly.

  2. I’ve heard great things about both Jet Blue and Virgin for kids. My BIL will only fly Virgin, even if it means a longer drive from airport to final destination.

    For me, the stress of trying to make a connection -with toddler- would mean I’d go direct. But I’m also used to thinking an hour isn’t that long of a car ride; it’s the norm where I live to get around in general.

    The seat is an awesome question. Depends on whether he’s a great lap sitter or not. Cuz $300 is a chunk of change if you feel he won’t use it. I totally see that.

    Yeah, that was helpful.
    🙂

  3. I’m definitely for breaking the trip up. It does make the overall travel longer, but when we do it everyone is so much happier to have time to run around and stretch. Just make sure that your connection isn’t too tight. We’ve had to run to the gate several times and that is *not* relaxing!

    We flew with my son as a lap child for as long as we could, for the reasons you describe – he was going to be in our laps anyway, and I couldn’t justify the $300-$400 for an empty seat. It’s always been easy for us to check the car seat.

    Hope you have a great trip!

    – Tanya

  4. This completely surprised us, but when we took our red-eye out for Thanksgiving the boys slept the whole way and I would totally do a red-eye with our small children again! For us, the layover in Atlanta was fine, but a nuisance (since we were going to Detroit, it wasn’t exactly on the way!) and I always prefer a direct flight.

    Have a bag of new toys so that whenever you think things are going downhill — surprise! look! a new toy!!! We’ve done it with every trip and it works wonders. (We also have a bag of toys he’s already played with that he only gets when we travel, a small magna-doodle, silly putty, special crayons, etc…)

    GOOD LUCK! I know you’ll figure out just the right thing for you.

  5. gonzopants says:

    I’d get him his own seat. You’ll need a car seat on the other end & this way he’ll be familiar with it. Child seats are discounted, so it won’t be $300. Don’t fly southwest – they don’t prioritize for people traveling with kids anymore. We’ve had GREAT experiences both with Delta & Frontier, and though I haven’t used them since pre-Andy days, I’ve never had a good experience with United.

    If you go with a layover, don’t go through Chicago-O’Hare. Worst. Airport. Ever. Seriously, they’re in the top 3 for late/delayed/canceled flights. Awful.

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