Airports are not kid friendly. Airports are SO not kid friendly.
The kids and I are out visiting my parents in CA for a few weeks and we all flew out with my mom the day of my last exam. John and I had taken Izzy out to CA last fall and from that trip we figured out a few things, most notably don't try to carry a walking toddler and her infant carrier through an airport. Izzy had just turned one but was still small enough to fit in her ridiculously huge infant carrier... barely. We also didn't check any bags. Big mistake.
So my mom and I remedied these snafus this time around. We checked one large bag and my mom's rolling bag, took Izzy's toddler carseat attached to this thingamajig, I wore Johnny in his carrier, and my mom and I each carried a backpack. The Travelmate was wonderful -- Izzy loved being able to be wheeled around the airport in her own carseat. It even served as her own perfect little seat when we were waiting at the gate. Downside: we couldn't wheel it down the aisle of the aircraft, so when it came time to board my mom had to lug the carseat down the aisle spewing "I'm sorry" and "Excuse me" at every passenger already seated on the aisle while I lugged the Travelmate and tried to herd Izzy who was obscured from my sight by Johnny into the correct row.
Okay... so really not so bad thus far. What really bothered me were the mundane silly things. I was traveling with two kids in diapers, which meant diaper changes were plentiful. For some reason many airports have adopted the noveau version of the fold down diaper changer: a counter top, often without a lip, and sometimes next to a sink! Danger Will Robinson! At least in the womens' restroom in ATL this was set apart from the sinks. In one of the airports we had a layover in last fall it was not. Gross. Next was the lack of kids' meals. There was a Moe's in ATL near our terminal so we decided to eat there for dinner. I tried to order Izzy a Moo Moo Mr. Cow. "What's that?" Seriously? They don't do kids' meals. McDonalds' and Chick fil a might, but fast food gives her the shits, not to mention it should be the food of last resort. So Izzy ate all the black beans out of my quesadilla. Yum. Finally, there is the sheer volume of random people all crammed into one place. There were people running, walking, and dilly-dallying to and fro, all a very bad scenario for a toddler that wants to run around completely ignorant of whose legs she might be running in to. Hello stress migraine. Hello Starbucks. Nom.
All in all we survived. We got to CA safely and without major incident, although Johnny managed to completely blow out his diaper, all the way up his back while my mom was holding him. He took a little bath in the family restroom. And wore his sister's pants. Yes, they fit -- kind of.
PS: AirTran doesn't have preferential boarding for families with small children. Hence my mom smacking many a passenger in the head with our carseat and the both of us holding up everyone else who was boarding while we installed Izzy's carseat. Boo. Not traveling AirTran again until they resolve this. With the exception of the trip back. Grr.
Edit: E-mailed AirTran about the boarding issue. It sounds like they have no intention of changing their boarding policies and suggested we check the car seat for our not even 2 year old at the gate next time. Right. -.- BTW, FAA and AAP recommend children under 4 yoa or 40lbs ride in a car seat. Great advice.