Some people wait for years before flying with their kids. As an expat though, that first trip by plane comes sooner rather than later if you want to introduce your baby to family and friends back in your home country. In my case, this meant that my first flight with Henrik was to Switzerland. It takes about an hour to get from Amsterdam to Zurich this way. The alternatives being a night train that takes 12 hours or going by car which takes about 10 hours, flying was pretty much a no brainer.
During my 2 year long distance relationship, I have flown this route dozens of times. Nevertheless, this first flight on my own with then 3 months old Henrik made me super nervous. On one hand, there’s of course the time on the plane itself (will he cry the whole time?). But on the other hand, the trip as a whole also meant bus, train, queues at the airport.. (again: will he cry the whole time??).
When we arrived at the airport, my first fear was confirmed: a long queue at the check in counter. When you travel with a baby, you can’t use online check in and just drop your luggage off. You depend on the check in counter. Unlike other airports that we have flown from, Schiphol/Amsterdam airport doesn’t give you priority in queues when traveling with a small child. While I was standing in line and hoping Henrik wouldn’t wake up and need to be fed while we still had quite some queue to go, he continued to sleep peacefully.
And then something happened that took my mind off the first time flying worries for a bit: I spotted the guys from Editors, one of my favorite bands. I had actually been to their concert in Amsterdam the night before with husband (one of our first date nights). All nervous as I was, I did something very atypical for me: I talked to the band. I guess all the worries you get with becoming a mother make you less prone to embarassment haha. I don’t remember what I said exactly, but I for sure complimented them on the great show (groupy me). I got a big thank you and smile and made it through check in.
Zurich is a destination that’s frequented more by business than leisure travelers, so I got an extra portion of attention from the staff. I was lucky enough to have a free seat next to me, which meant I could keep Henrik in his Maxi Cosi next to me, rather than waking him up for take off and landing and having him on my lap. He was never a big dummy-fan, but I made sure he’d keep one in his mouth for the take off so he wouldn’t feel the air pressure as much. He slept for most of the flight, it was better than I could have wished for. Of course I continued to anxiously stare at him and keeping my fingers crossed that he’d continue to sleep.
I was one relieved and proud mom when I left that plane! And the happy faces of my family who welcomed us at the airport made up for my moments of fear up in the air 🙂