By Megan Ulland, Guest Columnist
My almost three year old is more experienced than most business travelers in the security checkpoint at Logan Airport. She started flying at 5 months old and had flown across the country 8 times in the first year of her life. By 16 months, she knew to take her shoes off, never cried when her favorite puppy or doll went on a “trip” through the x-ray machine, and by 23 months, proudly wore her own backpack of snacks, toys and books for the plane and would walk by herself through the metal detector, holding her own boarding pass to proudly show the security personnel. I’ve taken her and her 15-month-old brother across the country by myself three times now. The security checkpoint, now, is a breeze. Each time we travel, I encounter at least one or two people who look at me as if I am crazy. I’m sorry to the people in the seats around us who have to endure the fifth reading of Curious George Takes a Train and Hooray for Thomas, but I count myself lucky to not have screaming children on the plane.
We travel non-stop from Logan to Seattle, Washington on the evening flight, which at least ensures that the kids are tired enough to want to sit and read and play quietly instead of causing havoc by running up and down the aisle while the seat belt sign is illuminated. The added bonus of that non-stop flight is that it’s on JetBlue, which has televisions for each seat. My kids don’t watch much TV, so the novelty is always worth at least 30 minutes or so, especially if there is a sporting event or a show about animals on ESPN or Animal Planet. My son, an avid fan of airplanes, also really enjoys watching the live map of the flight’s progress as a plane moves across the map of the United State.
That evening flight also helps the kids quickly adjust to the three-hour time change. The red-eye flight returning to Boston is a bit harder on them because the flight is only 4 1/2 hrs, but without any plans the next day, they readjust quickly back to their normal routines, with an extra nap the first day and some quiet time to play with all the toys they left behind for the trip.
Because our families are spread out across the mid-west and northwest, we have a vast experience of air travel and I have to commend JetBlue for their in-flight service. I can always count on the flight attendants not only to be helpful, but also to have good snacks and drinks that my kids will enjoy if they haven’t fallen asleep on take-off. Logan International Airport also offers many food options past security, so for those times that we arrive at the airport with extra time to spare, I can find a good latte at Starbucks while I satisfy the kids’ hunger for dinner with pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches.
With the quick non-stop flights, fabulous service by both Logan and JetBlue staff, and kids’ excitement about airplanes, why wouldn’t I take the kids back to see family by myself. After all, though it might not be ideal, the flight is only six hours, and the kids are trapped on board; how much trouble can they really cause? I hope I never find out; to ensure I don’t, I always bring a new toy and book to occupy them. So, after a few weeks of time back here in Boston, we’ll be heading to Logan again to visit family for a wedding. By the time the kids are school-aged, they’ll have flown more than I’d flown in my entire childhood! It’s a good thing they already have their frequent flier numbers.
Megan Ulland is the mother of two toddlers who lives in Newton.