Catherine (not quite 16 months) and I flew from Baltimore (BWI) to Cincinnati (CVG) for a long weekend to visit my parents. We used Orbitz to score good airfare on a direct Delta flight. I was a little nervous, because it was going to be Catherine's first flight.
Online check-in was a breeze, once I arrived at the airport I just had to find the correct gate--which only took a minute. I had been dreading the security screening--I had my carry on bag, the diaper bag (with bottles of milk), the carseat and stroller travel system, and a curious toddler. I just wasn't sure how it would go. Would the TSA people hate me? Would other travelers hate me? Would I be holding up the line? Would Catherine be friendly or screaming? Would the milk have to go through extra testing? How was I going to get the stroller and carseat up on the conveyor belt without letting Catherine loose? The guy who did my screening at BWI was super nice. He patiently waited for me to get all the bags up and then said that he would hand check the stroller and carseat--which was much easier for me! Our hands were swabbed (for possible contraband?); and the milk went through without any issue. Once at the gate the Delta agent helped me "pink tag" the stroller, carseat, and my bag. He gave me the option of boarding first or last--I opted for first since I knew that I had the row to myself and that would give me time to get situated. He even helped me detach the carseat and fold up the stroller.
The flight itself was painless. The stewardess was very kind. I was extremely lucky and Catherine fell asleep before the plane even leveled off! (I didn't give her the bottle until we were seated on the plane and while we were waiting in the terminal we went for lots of walks.) She woke up as we landed.
The return flight experience was fairly similar. The TSA agent in CVG did want the stroller and carseat to go through the main machine, but he kindly helped to lift them onto the belt. They did do extra testing on the milk, but it only took a second and they did not need to open any of the bottles--they just swabbed the outside and put it in a machine. Catherine was a bit more fussy while waiting to board, and way more adventurous in wanting to explore the airport. The gate agent switched my seat so that no one was sitting next to me and helped me board first.
Once again, Catherine napped during the flight and the stewardess was very accommodating.
Overall, I had a very pleasant travel experience. The TSA and Delta employees did a few simple things that really helped me. The TSA people were patient and helpful--hand checking the stroller and carseat in BWI was much easier for me, and at CVG it was very helpful of the gentleman to get them onto the belt. The Delta folks getting me seats by myself was fantastic, assisting me with the valet tagging, getting me on board first, and their just general helpfulness made the whole trip easily manageable with a toddler.
No one person did anything major or surprising, but all of the small things added up to a great trip and I feel that I received top notch service, and for that I am very thankful.