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Another blog post from Mr. Deals…
I think I’ve found my new travel buddy. Her name is Baby Deals, she’s just past 18 months old, and wow, does she make getting through the airport a breeze. I’m not talking about for a domestic flight either, I’m talking about for an international jaunt. We even got through Global Entry with her no problem.
The Deals family just got back from a nice little family vacation to the happy island of Aruba. For those of you that haven’t been, we’ll whip up a trip report soon. It’s a nice little getaway for some pretty much guaranteed warm weather and attracts a huge number of vacationers from the northeastern part of the US, those trying to escape the beginning of winter. Our trip was nothing like our typical international trips, just a short 6 nights (Mrs. Deals likes 10 nights + when we go international) and this was Baby Deals first trip out of the U.S. and first stamp on her passport.
Now anytime you travel with a child under 2 you are pretty much flying blind. You have no idea how the kid will react to the pressure on the ears, the forced time in a seat, delays, and let’s not forget other travelers. Well, Baby Deals was pretty awesome on this trip. We were flying Southwest thanks to the companion pass so we did have the unfortunate luck of having a layover in both directions.
The flight there was New York to Baltimore and Baltimore on to Aruba. The day started around 4am and Baby Deals was up in her PJ’s and ready to go with her shoes in hand. Since she was flying as a lap child we were hoping to get her an extra seat if the flight wasn’t full and we lucked out on the NY to Baltimore leg (an hour) but not on the Baltimore to Aruba end (4 hours). That first leg, she passed right out in her carseat. The second leg, she was up the whole time, snacking, playing, watching an iPad and entertaining herself and our lucky seat mate at the end of the row (she was a former flight attendant and grandma and loved it). It was smooth sailing. We breezed through immigration in Aruba and we were in the pool in no time.
Now, the way home was a bit more complicated as you have to pass through customs in the Aruba airport which meant getting there 3+ hours early. We figured this was going to be a bit tricky. I’m going to give the credit here to Baby Deals being so damn cute, because this was easier than anytime Mrs. Deals and I have traveled overseas by ourselves. First off, the immigration line: For some reason we were escorted past everyone and right to a special line where we had literally no wait. I should mention we were NOT the only ones traveling with kids.
Next, we had to go get our previously checked bags and go clear customs before getting to our gate for the flight (in Aruba you clear customs in the airport before you leave so you don’t have to do it back in the US). Luckily, Mrs. Deals and I got Global Entry earlier this year, however Baby Deals did not have it. They simply made us fill out a customs form for her and she waltzed right through the Global Entry line with us. Mrs. Deals had a few issues with the machine though – she finally figured it out.
One more run through security after dropping our bags off and Baby Deals came to the rescue again. There were two lines and as soon as the TSA folks saw us coming the previously closed line was opened and we were put right through. We probably made it from the car to gate in about 25 minutes, with no delays.
From Aruba to Orlando, Baby Deals slept (as did Mr. Deals). And from Orlando to New York Baby Deals slept, (as did Mrs. Deals). We even had to change planes because of a mechanical issue in Orlando, which put us taking off way past Baby Deals bedtime.
The moral of this story is that I’m flying with Baby Deals more often. The annoying guy behind us from Orlando to New York didn’t even know there was a baby in front of him!
Safe travels this holiday season and Happy New Year!