We made it. We are in the U.S for the summer! Wow that was one hell of a trip. Before I had Beck, I had a pretty great routine, I would do errands and pack a day before travelling and would have the last day just lounging and dreaming of my destination. I would get to the airport early check in, do some well deserved shopping then go to the gate and listen to some music until our flight was ready. Upon embarking the flight I would immediately crash, wake up at meal times then watch flight movies and doze off here and there.
Post Beck……. hmmmmmmmmm! Everything I just wrote above did not happen! I had to work on an edit for STAY ep 7 way later in the day, didn’t manage to do much of my errands. I packed for both Beck and I literally 45 MINUTES before we left for the airport. One can imagine how badly I packed. I packed so well for Beck but myself (Jesus took the wheel on that one). We had to go to an American embassy event at the Serena so that trumped my plans to wear comfy pajamas on the flight. Man, the traffic was insane but we made it right on time.
The boys wanted Chinese so we had some dinner RORO – CHINA at JKIA airport lounge.
This flight was luckily during Beck’s sleeping time 10pm and so once we were on the plane he slept. We were convieniently seated and they gave us a bulk bed for Beck. He was a bit tall for it but we otherwise pulled it off. I loved the service on this plane, they were very friendly and kept on checking on us constantly making sure we had everything we needed.
I want to move to Europe, I have read that they have great laws that support mothers and I felt every bit appreciated on this flight, I can only imagine living in one of their countries.
Baba Beck arrives with our chariot, the stroller which is such a life saver. Jason and I couldn’t agree on whether we should carry the stroller additionally to our 9 pieces of luggage and I am happy we did, because the airports were huge and the gates so far apart, I couldn’t have imagined carrying Beck and I’s 2 pieces of hand luggage and Beck in my arms. The stroller gave me ample space to carry one piece under it while Xan helped with Beck’s bag of stuffed toys while I pushed Beck. I lost an important piece of the stroller on the 1st trip but it’s okay, well no my heart cringes each time I push him on the stroller. I don’t have a place to put my phone, wallet and drink while pushing him.
The one thing we had perfectly synchronized was our flights and checking in at each destination so that went well. We took it on like champions and had great team work. Jason was the navigator of the trip. He led the way and made sure we were where we needed to be on time.
Xan and Jason had breakfast at Dutch Kitchen.
Aden and I had some McDonalds. I liked the display at the bottom of the counter at McDonalds, I should have asked what was inside the bottles, but because I went to the baby lounge twice while the boys ate, I didn’t get anything as we had to rush to our gate and check in.
The beautiful baby lounge at the Schipol Amsterdam Airport. I was in love with this space. It had ample space and as much as it wasn’t supervised I felt very welcome. There were cribs to put your baby in once they napped and cushy chairsaroumd them for the adults shaded with cute colorful nets for privacy.
Hands up little man you have the right to have your diaper changed 😉
2nd Flight from Amsterdam to Detroit – 8hours on Air Delta.
Flying on Delta was an extremely different experience. We didn’t get the seats we asked for. We were squeezed in a space that wouldn’t have worked with Beck. Jason asked for better seats and the best they could do was put us right at the back next to the kitchen. We didn’t have a bulk bed but we had an extra seat between us for Beck to rest on. They weren’t also lenient on having us secure Beck at all times which was a different experience from KLM. On the KLM flight I felt like Beck’s safety was of the utmost importance at all times.
Anyway Beck was now awake as he would be in Nairobi and it was tough trying to keep him in one place and give him room to roam. He also couldn’t be as loud as he wanted because people were sleeping and had their blinds on. This was a difficut flight but wine and a lot of patience saved my day umm night,no day ;). I also managed to watch at least half of Ben Stiller’s “When We’re Young.”
What striked me as odd also was how old our flight attendants were, like it was middle aged attendants as seen in 2nd picture. I guess in some countries this is actually a career as opposed to Africa where at some age it is really not a viable job.
We arrive Detroit. Yay we are Stateside!
Wow! Finally we made it, I was so exhausted and hungry and over plane food at this point. I was also nervous about the queue at immigration as all the boys have American passports (we got Beck’s passport and CFDA when he was 2 months) and I was travelling on my Kenyan passport. Jason was incessant on keeping us together as a family so when we got there he explained and the lady forwarded us to the foreigner line. This part was funny. Jason was excited, “Oh we made it to the foreigner line” and I was just like SHIT. KILL ME NOW! I have been through this before and know how long it takes. We saw Americans just passing through on automated machines while our line had about 200 people ahead of us.
We had also on a few minutes to connect our flight to Phoenix as well as check out then check in our luggage again. Jason was the savior again and he went and spoke to the lady again at which MAGIC! they opened just a new line just for us. Advantages of travelling with a baby I tell you. Totally loved Mr. Starks who processed our documents and I loved how he said “Welcome Home” when he gave them their passports back. It was a scene off a movie to be honest.
We arrive Phoenix 😉 How cute are my boys 😉 Detroit – Phoenix 3hours on Air Delta.Again this flight was during Beck sleeping time and as soon as we were on board Beck crashed. The plane was just like the one you take from Nairobi to Mombasa so that was comforting, not so many people and familiar. We were also just 2 mothers on the flight, coincidentally we are both black, I mean she’s Black American you know, hahahahaha, and she had a beautiful little boy about 1 month old.
The food was also cash bar which I have just recently experience flying to Lamu on Jambojet back home.
OMG! Just remembered the Air Delta in flight safety video, it was just too cheesy, I couldn’t deal. Please google it on youtube. I guess its kid friendly with the animals and everything but I thought of it to be stupid for a safety video. A safety video to be should short, precise and to the point. Anyway I think at that point I was filthy, tired and just wanted to get to a bed. But again I’m writing this 4 days later so……..
Overall, our trip was one out of the box. I don’t know if I would take 3 long haul flights with Beck again until he is older. We have to go back to Nairobi but I figure for the future, we would have to plan better or take closer trips. I think if Jason’s family and us meet somewhere central that would be great. Because this jetlag, Yesu!
My tips for mothers travelling with infants
-Preparation for the trip is key. Check in online at home, know your gate names and be aware of everything needed for the trip. Also pack early in advance.
-Pack light, plastic money is lighter than all those clothes, you can buy some at your destination.
-Use your baby to your utmost advantage, I know its sounds bad but come on you already know the perks you got while you were pregnant with your little one. Families with kids get priority most of the time.
-Do not crimp on carrying a stroller, it can help with having your baby sleep and just shuffling him/her through places. You can always check it in at the plane’s door right before you get into the plane and to your seat.
-Always look for a play area or lounge for you baby to enjoy when in trnasit.
– Give your baby something to chew on or a bottle when taking off and landing.
-Have a light carry on for your baby with a change of clothes, diapers, a tin of formula, (don’t put them in packets, it’s easier for security) some light soft toys. Don’t carry music activated toys, you don’t want to be that annoying parent when another passenger is trying to sleep.
– Most of all keep positive energy, smile, hug, cuddle your baby as often as you can. Always look them in their eyes and make them feel relaxed regardless of the situation.
I hope I didn’t forget anything, this is what stood to me the most. I hope all my Cashmremoms can feel confident about travelling with their little tots once they read this.
I’m going to be posting weekly on our trip and I can’t wait to share Beck and I’s experiences.
Have a nice week 🙂