We can fly, we can fly, we can fly!
A few days before turning 13 months old, we took Sweet Pea to Mexico for my sister’s wedding. What an awesome way to ring in the month of May! To me, this meant several things.
1: A Wedding (weeee!)
2: Mexico (Olé!)
3: All Inclusive (Unlimited noms that I don’t have to cook and not one dish that I have to clean)
4: No Diaper Laundry (Disposable diapers, but to even it out, I used cloth swim diapers 🙂
5: Sun! Beach! Pool! Warm weather! Swimming! (All cool things.)
6: FLYING WITH A BABY. (Umm…)
Over the past few months we finally got road trips down to an art, but air travel has not made an appearance in our repertoire. Off to google and my mommy group for advice on what I need to bring for this trip. Let me share my final packing list that I worked from while putting together our suitcases:
- Breastfeeding pillow
- Diaper bag
- Diaper covers
- Changing pad
- Tylenol, Benadryl
- Hydra sense
- Babiators/sun glasses
- Baby Sunblock
- Water Shirts
- Water shorts
- First aid kit
- Wrap, carrier
- Swaddle blankets
- Life jacket
- Oatmeal bars
- Sippy cup
- Nail cutters
- Diaper covers for water
- Swim diapers
- Wedding dress
- Baby robe
- Floaty thing
- Rain jacket
- Puma shoes
- white shoes
- Toys: beach toys
- TOYS: DISCUSS
- Manual pump
- Milk bags
- Beach blanket
The pillow, Padraigs, and beach blanket didn’t make the cut.
As you can see, this is a pretty big list.
For the baby.
Like, that’s all just for the baby, and doesn’t even begin to cover anything that my husband and I need.
Some of you might look at this and think we’ve over packed, but well, we’re over packers. We like to be prepared with options, and as much as I’d like to be one of those super savvy travellers who can turn 5 basic wardrobe pieces into like 15 different outfits, I just have too many tropical weather fashions that I don’t take advantage of in normal summer setting, ie: ALL my sun dresses. I’m on vacation, and I wanna look freaking glam! No yoga pants for this broad.
I started packing, and quickly, my husband realized that trying to keep both our checked luggage under 44 lbs a piece would be an ambitious feat. Me, being the optimistic one, kept saying “we’ll be fiiiiiiiine, I’ll just leave what I can’t bring.”
Dan is a frequent traveller, and he just knew we weren’t going to make it. Our luggage will inevitably end up with that accusatory “HEAVY” tag along with an excess weight charge. We hopped onto the Air Transat website and looked up what the charge would be, just for good measure.
$15 per kilogram.
That’s insane. I might as well pay for an extra bag at that point. Oh wait, that’s not an option. These charter flights and their wacky rules.
Air Transat has a program where you can pre-pay for an excess weight “voucher”, and spend the low, low price of $10/kg.
Um, eye roll. I’m not buying prosciutto here. That doesn’t fly with me. I’d be able to buy my suitcase twice over.
After a brief period of “what can we get rid of…” we discovered Air Transat’s Option Plus program. This is what’s included: (from AirTransat.com)
Yadda yadda yadda
Yadda yadda yadda
Yadda yadda yadda
Enjoy a supplementary checked baggage allowance of up to 10 kg per flight segment
Yadda yadda yadda
Yadda yadda yadda
Whoa, whoa, hey now. A checked baggage allowance of 10kg per segment, what does that mean, oh metric one? (I know I live in Canada where we use the metric system, but I still needed the pounds translation.)
“Well, Heather, it means that your luggage can weigh up to 66 lbs each way.”
Shut. The. Front. Door.
And how much does this upgrade cost?
“$89 round trip, per person.”
Once again, frugal me was thinking “enhhh… that’s $180 for both of us, it’s a bit much…” but my husband was already on the phone with our travel agent Sarah trying to get the upgrade.
Because it was Thursday afternoon, and our flight was leaving on Saturday morning, she said it would be a fluke at this point in the game if there were any seats left. I was slightly happy to hear, as this meant we would be saving almost $200.
While we were on a quick run to the store for some last minute items, Sarah called back and told Dan that the Option Plus upgrade was still available, and he immediately gave her the go-ahead.
So with the power vested in our credit card on file, we would each be heading to Mexico 22 lbs heavier. And yes, I used up every last pound. I packed everything I originally wanted to bring, without adding any extra items. I guess this was a good call.
We did the math, and even with Air Transat’s Kiloflex program, that extra 22 lbs would cost an extra $100 per way versus the $44.50 for the upgrade.
Alright, so far so good.
When we checked in at the airport, we received “priority” bag tags and were called to board after the brides (there were FOUR brides on our flight!), but before the regular “passengers with children” prompt. This gave us ample time to get settled in with Sweet Pea, and also first dibs at the overhead bins.
Our seat’s headrests were cloaked in an Options Plus bag to indicate that we were, you know …indecisive overpackers…
Once we were up in the air, they gave us each a little bottle of sparkling wine.
That bottle of sparkling wine was being sold for $8 on the flight, but “free” for Option Plus passengers.
Our steward then presented each of us with a Comfort Kit: an inflatable pillow, sleep mask, and blanket. They offered us earbuds but we declined since we had our own.
In-flight price: $15 for Comfort kit and earbuds.
Food service started, and we were told that we each had a $15 credit to spend on anything on the bistro menu. Holy schneikies, we really should have paid attention to all of the benefits of this upgrade.
I ordered a chicken wrap and some cheese + crackers to keep Sweet Pea occupied, who at this point only wanted to hang out with Grandma.
(Side note, Dan and I were sitting in the center section of the plane, and my parents were sitting on the left (port?) side. We were told that Sweet Pea *had* to stay with us in the middle because there were only extra oxygen masks in the center section. I understand the rule, but what would happen if we were at the back of the plane coming from the bathroom when we needed masks? It would take longer to run to a seat and get a mask at that point than to hike her across the aisle… Just saying. Food for thought. Nom nom nom.)
Then they gave us snacks, and we ended up with multiple packs of tiny cookies – not because we were Option Plus, but because Sweet Pea is hella cute and it’s apparently her life mission to charm almost everyone. Jokes on them, we don’t give Sweet Pea chocolate, so I ate them all. HA! 🙂
When we arrived in Mexico, our 66 pound bags made it onto the conveyor belt right away and unscathed. Sadly, Option Plus does not have a priority line for immigration, nor an escape for random luggage search (our 66 lbs suitcases were opened and searched, which was fine, except for the fact that packing that much involves some strategy, and takes a little bit more than a quick zip to get it all closed again).
Flying back to Toronto however was an equally enjoyable experience, as we were able to check in through the Option Plus counter – saving us about 20 minutes in line at the Cancun airport (may not seem like much, but with a 1 year old, it was worth it!) and the same priority boarding + perks.
In the end, Option Plus was an amazing value for what it was, let’s run by the savings one more time!
Alcoholic beverage: $8
Comfort kit: $15
In flight meal: $15
Total cost per way: $138
Actual cost per way: $44.50
Savings per way: $93.50
Time and stress saved: Priceless!
Next time we fly with Air Transat, we will definitely take the Option Plus upgrade again. The time saved, conveniences and perks are just worth it for us when travelling with a small child. For the ultimate balla package, Air Transat has their Club Class as well.
Say it with me: “88 pounds.”
Oh yeah. Not even joking. Check it out. And good luck with your chiro bill after you get home.
Special thanks to Sarah Buckler from TPI for getting us in there last minute! If you want a travel insider to help you make the most of your trip at no extra cost, she is your gal! Visit her site at www.sarahbuckler.ca.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts are my own honest opinion.