So we knew that when we booked the tickets and checked the box for "infant in arms" that we were taking a big chance. Nobody knows how their baby will do with the air pressure changes, tight environment, recycled air, strangers, airport security, whatever. The airport and traveling by plane is fast but definitely not convenient. I suppose its more convenient than driving which wasn't an option for Jon's cousin's June wedding in RI. We planned on extending the weekend to Wednesday so that Calvin could make the rounds in RI for his family and NY for my family. We were officially embarking on a "Tour de Calvin."
We read 2 books on traveling with children and I think that it really helped us get our priorities in line. I pride myself on being efficient in the security line because I hate waiting behind those people who move too slowly and fumble with their things. Take your shoes off and walk! It's really not that hard to do, you just need to plan ahead a little and THINK. Most people have checked out by the time they make it to the airport so slow movers are a pet peeve of mine.
I took Calvin to the airport in his carseat and snapngo via MARTA. This was quite easy and the only baggage I had was his diaper bag. We brought 2 large "gate check" bags for his car seat and snapngo stroller so that we could put him in that and wheel around the airport. The car seat was a must and who wants to lug a car seat by hand anyway? The bags were really to protect them from getting dirty but both made it through the process dent-free.
Jon had one large suitcase and one smaller bag with extra diapers and clothes for Calvin. Looking back on it, I packed every 3-6 mth onesie he has which was definitely overkill. The weather was supposed to be in the high 90s but ended up being in the 50s-60s so we didn't need as many as I had planned for. Calvin gets hot and sweaty in Atlanta so I knew bringing extras was the safe way to go. Fortunately he stayed swadled up for a lot of the trip to keep him warm as we don't have that many colder-weather clothes.
Ok, back to the airport. We checked the large suitcase and Calvin's small bag. Jon had his laptop case, I had the car seat, snapngo, diaper bag and Calvin. The security line went like this: we kept Calvin in his carseat as long as possible. We loaded up the bins and lined up all of our stuff so that the car seat and stroller would go in first. I took Calvin out at the last minute, Jon folded everything and pushed it through while I walked through the metal detector with baby in arms. On the other side, a TSA agent helped get the stroller unfolded and put the car seat in. I put Calvin in his seat and helped grab Jon's stuff as it came through. Doing this without Jon would've been infinitely harder and I was glad for the help.
We were relegated to taking the slow elevators everywhere once we were in the airport, which was a PAIN. The elevators are small and people who don't belong in them (without strollers or wheelchairs) were jumping the line and getting in front of us. It was annoying to say the least. As our gate check bags had straps, we should've just carried them and taken the escalator. I had my moby wrap and Calvin was all snugged against my chest. It would've been slightly awkward but would've saved time and some frustration.
At the gate, Calvin needed to eat and let everyone in a 5 mi radius know. I whipped out my bebe au lait (nursing cover) and nursed him at the gate. A woman behind me kept asking me questions and inquiring about Calvin. Nice lady and all but give me a minute please. We did a pre-boarding diaper change, some more nursing and we were good to go. We gate checked our car seat and stroller and kept Calvin in the moby wrap. We were set all flight long and I discovered that the nursing cover worked well even when he wasn't nursing. Calvin liked the darkness and comfort it provided and he was asleep/quiet for the 2 hour flight. Our parents installed car seat bases in their cars so getting in and out of the car was a snap.
Overall, the flight was very positive and we had a similar experience in Albany when we were headed back. TSA agents seemed helpful when they see a baby coming through and fellow passengers that initially had a look of fear when we boarded the plane, left the plane with smiles saying, "what a great baby!" Mission accomplished (plus a little luck!)