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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Toddler plane ride to Paris or Fearing for my Sanity

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Note Conrad's super short haircut to last the 2 months in Paris

My first concern about going to Paris with a 3 year old was of course the plane ride. I had flown with Conrad alone on a trip to California and all went well. But 9 ½ hours with a busy boy stuck in the same seat was an entirely different story. I went back and forth with Air France trying to book an extra empty seat for you know, play room and to avoid bothering a stranger. It was booked over the phone, cancelled without telling me, I booked it again, and again Air France cancelled it without giving me notice and crazy enough that scenario happened again a third time! I should mention I wasn’t the crazy one, each time someone booked it they assured me it wouldn’t be cancelled. Yes, I really do need to file a complaint. Finally I was able to speak to someone that knew what was going on. Turns out you are not allowed to buy an empty seat unless you are a “high body mass” person. I even asked “what if I say I am?” The agent assured me I would lose my seat without refund upon arrival of me not being so. In short I spent at least 3 plus hours on the phone finally to find this out. The extra seat idea had helped my sanity but at this point I just wanted to book tickets that weren’t going to get cancelled!

I should also mention I never call and book or buy anything, I always do it online. So of course this irritated me further in that I could have booked online and chosen my seats. At this point I had tickets but no seats, so of course I was stressed. Delta who’s affiliated with Air France, says Air France doesn’t open seats until right before the flight. Randomly about a month or so before our flight I logged on and took the only 2 remaining economy seats. They were the very last two seats at the back left of the plane and even better there were just two so no one would be seated next to us! I later learned that you should never select these as the reclining is supposed to be limited. But ours weren’t, we had the same as the people in front of us. And for gosh sakes I am sitting in economy for 9 ½ hours, with a 3 year old . . . I am supposed to be uncomfortable!

So these seats turned out to be perfect for us and I would do it again. Of course I had horrible back pain but Conrad could yell, no one could hear us, we could get up and go to bathroom as we pleased, it was perfect! I had contemplated upgrading to the extra room economy but reviews said it wasn’t worth it so I didn’t. Yes I would have loved business class but I couldn’t fathom spending almost $9k of Paris shopping money for what was sure to be 9 hours of misery either way, again back to my fear of flying with my wild 3 year old.

But Conrad was amazing! I packed his backpack with new toys like Mr. Potato Head, a few Cars Movie cars, some crayons shaped like rocks, coloring and sticker books etc. And we had an IPad and Computer for movies. As soon as we boarded the plane he changed into pajamas and slippers. And even though we left at ideal napping time, Conrad did not nap, EVER on this flight! I definitely felt like I entertained him most of the time. I tried to get him to rest by laying him across his seat on a pillow, which we brought, scratching his back but I guess he was too excited to see the Eiffel Tower.

My BIG warning to parents about Charles De Gaulle, if you gate check your stroller it WILL NOT be at the gate when you get off the plane. I repeat it WILL NOT BE AT THE GATE! It ends up at the carousel with your luggage. There were a lot of displeased parents on this flight. So I am an only parent to an exhausted child who didn’t sleep on the plane, we have a large carry-on, Conrad’s back pack, a large personal bag and a pillow, all needed to get through customs and somehow to our luggage. I should also mention we took two different trams to get through the airport so no, we were not close to where we needed to be! Ugh!

Tune in soon for that nightmare story! But to summarize, Conrad was the best I could have hoped on the plane, not sleeping wasn’t too bad and the worst seats on the plane turned out to be the best for us!


Here’s Conrad showing his Jess Brown doll named Oscar. While preparing for our trip we read a lot of great books. One of our favorites was Kiki and Coco in Paris about a girl named Kiki and her rag doll Coco exploring Paris together. The book inspired Conrad to ask for Oscar. What we liked best about the book was the beautiful photographs of Paris and for Conrad I think it was knowing he would soon be in the same places. He definitely asked where Kiki and Coco were when we arrived to Paris!


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