Traveling alone with a baby, during a Hurricane

Sunday, October 15, 2017

We decided to make last minute plans for Maya and I to meet my husband in West Palm Beach, Florida, as he was there for 2.5 weeks for work. It was a whirlwind trying to get both of our passports within 6 days of our planned departure date, but we did it!
I was feeling pretty confident about everything up until the moment that my sister-in-law dropped us off and waved one last goodbye. I was suddenly on my own and felt a wave of emotions. I took a moment to compose myself, and we headed through customs. Thankfully, Pearson Airport (Toronto) has special check-in lines and U.S. customs for those traveling with small children, which made it much easier when traveling as a single parent. The staff was very patient as I nervously loaded my things onto the security belt, took off my shoes, and all while balancing a curious baby who was eating a sticker that she pulled off the check-in tag from her stroller.

I was glad I kept my packing to a minimum, because it made things a lot easier making my way through the airport. I brought one bag to check, my purse and a diaper bag. I could bring the stroller through security and all the way up the door of the plane, which was so helpful, so that I didn't have to carry everything on my own.

We booked our seats ahead of time and spent the extra money on priority seating for parents with children. I would highly recommend this for anyone traveling with kids as it gives you much more space to move around, and some airlines provide a bassinet for your baby to sleep. The priority boarding was great as it gave me time to settle in, and a flight attendant went over the safety and emergency procedures with me one-on-one since it was my first time flying with a baby.

The flight went really well and Maya did great! Even the other passengers around us commented on how well she did. I was relieved that we made it safely and we were able to spend some time with my husband.

As the days passed, the forecast for Hurricane Irma became more intense and we were worried about getting out on time before it Florida. Our flights were booked for Thursday evening, which they said would still be safe to leave, and my husband was able to leave early and get a flight out the same night from Miami. We figured we would be ok, but as the storm was approaching we were getting nervous that our flights might get cancelled. As we were checking in we were told that my flight was delayed 1.5 hours, but since my husband had to leave to catch his flight in Miami, we didn't have any other choice but to wait around at the airport. Time passed and I was getting eager to get home, and then an announcement was made that there was another delay, and our 7pm flight that was pushed to 9:30pm, would now not be leaving until 12:00am. I was nearly in tears when I walked up to the gate attendant to get some understanding as to why our flight kept getting delayed. Of course I knew there was nothing she could do to make the flight leave on time, but I was so frustrated and just wanted my baby to get some proper rest without getting woken up by the noise of a very busy terminal! I forgot to mention that the waiting area was packed with crying children, pets (large and small) barking at each other, and many tired and frustrated people trying to escape the Hurricane. I swear half of Ft. Lauderdale was waiting in that terminal!


The flight was delayed again until 1:00am, but I was still hopeful that we would make it out of Florida before the storm. Thankfully we did, but it was definitely a nerve wracking wait and not something I wish on anyone traveling alone with a baby.

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