Our trip to Florida was great! We have turned it into an annual Easter vacation… It’s so nice to get away for a week and enjoy some warmer weather. It’s was Bea’s first time on an airplane and she did great. Our days of travel went way better than I anticipated – the kids took good naps and there were no major crying fits. Win!
I normally don’t have serious posts – but this experience has been weighing heavily on my mind and I want to let people know about it. It’s something I will never forget… And will probably make me anxious every time I step foot in an airport from now on.
This happened on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 in the Atlanta Airport on our way to Florida.
“RUN! RUN!” Everyone yelled as the train doors opened at Atlanta’s International Airport.
We (my husband, two kids, and myself) had just finished eating breakfast bagels in Terminal D before deciding it was time to head to Terminal B, where our next flight was boarding.
We rode the escalator downstairs to the train, which we had done many times before to catch a connecting flight. The train comes every 2 minutes, so you never have to wait long.
As it pulled up, we noticed it seemed extra full and I was hoping that some people would be getting off as we got on. Little did I know, in split seconds, we went from casually waiting to get on the train to mass panic.
“RUN, RUN!” People yelled as they exited. In the state of confusion, and the look of terror in their eyes, we decided to run with them.
Carrying a baby in my arms and a backpack, and my husband carrying our toddler, a backpack, and rolling the car seat, we rushed back down the hallway and up the escalator.
“Shooter! Shooter!” We heard people call out. Not knowing what was going on, but knowing there was potentially someone with a gun, was terrifying. I’ve never felt so scared for my family in my entire life.
We got back up to Terminal D and everyone huddled around the main hub of the terminal, not sure what to do next. Is there really a shooter out there? Are there people dead? Are all the flights canceled for the day?
The terminal was an interesting sight. Some of us are in shock from the recent events, some people are still at the restaurants, ordering food and drinks, probably unaware of what just went on.
We start searching online for any news about the airport. Reports of a suspicious package, but no details.
Finally, a TSA agent comes over to the main crowd and starts telling us what he knows. There’s no shooter, no one with a gun. There was a suspicious package, and that’s what created the chaos.
Unsure of how a package could cause such a panic, we later learn more from another traveler.
He said he had just gone through security, he didn’t even have his shoes on, and a TSA agent said “You’re going to want to run… Run!”
In today’s society, there’s only a few things we would run from at an airport. And the fact that everyone seemed to come up with the conclusion that it was an active shooter, wasn’t surprising.
The scary part is knowing the intense fear and chaos we felt in those minutes where we thought we may be in the path of someone with a gun, but no one else even knows that happened.
Even if you did hear it on the news, would it shock you? We have become so accustomed to hearing about mass shootings that in some ways, it goes in one ear and out the other. Of course you think about the victims, but we’re in a society where it’s not surprising or shocking. “Oh, another shooting today…”
In our case, people thought there was a shooter coming after them but there wasn’t. I know if I hadn’t lived it, I would have thought “Well, they’re safe, so I guess it’s all ok.”
But it’s not ok. I don’t ever want to feel that fear again.
It’s that time of the year again… Our annual family trip to Florida! We have been going the past few years for Easter, which has been nice. My parents have a winter home there, so we stay with them. The area they live has THEE BEST food… I will be writing about my favorites in an upcoming post.
Traveling with babies and toddlers is challenging, but do-able. It’s definitely worth the trouble once you get to where you’re going – the memories you create on trips are priceless.
WHAT YOU NEED //
* lots of snacks, even stuff that you don’t ‘normally’ give to them – for Finn that will be fruit snacks and maybe even some candy. We’re also packing the usuals – yogurt pouches, apple sauce packets, granola bars, etc. I’ll bring puffs and cheerios for Bea.
* activities to keep them busy. crayons, coloring books, stickers, books to read, etc.
* baby carrier depending on their age – for Bea’s age (9 months) I will be taking my Sakura Bloom ring sling – it’s easy to get her in and out for security, loading/unloading on the plane, and getting to the next gate.
* if you’re taking your car seat, which i would recommend for kiddos age 1+, this rolling cart is a lifesaver. They can even ride in their seat while you pull it! Although I haven’t actually tried it… Ha
* change of clothes for you + your kids. toddlers, not as much but definitely with babies. Pack little onesies and leggings that don’t take up much space in your bag.
*play mat – if you have a layover that’s longer than just running from one gate to another, you should bring a mat for baby to play on. These are great because they fold up really small and are easy to clean the airport grossness off.
* plenty of diapers and wipes – for young babies, more is always better. Toddlers usually don’t need as many, but always bring at least 2 extra on top of what you MAY need.
OTHER TIPS //
* make sure your ticket says that you have a lap infant traveling with you. if you need to, call the airline to add them. some say to travel with their birth certificate, but we’ve never needed ours on any flights.
* taking a carseat works well for kids age 1+ because it’s safer and also because they are used to sitting in it. It’s obviously more expensive to pay for an extra seat, but it was well worth it to us on our last trip.
* make sure your diaper bag is easy to carry and get stuff out of. While I love our diaper bag for day-to-day stuff, lugging it around the airport doesn’t sound appealing to me. We’ll be packing it in our luggage and carrying everything in a backpack similar to this.
*less is more. put everything in the diaper bag and skip your purse and other personal bags. believe me, you won’t have time to read a book or magazine. in the off chance you do, talk to your spouse or enjoy some quiet time!
* either nurse, give a pacifier, or a bottle during take-off and landing. The sucking will help so babies ears don’t pop as much, just like chewing gum for us. It’s also a good time to give your toddler a chewy snack.
* dress your kids in layers – some flights are super cold and others are hot. t-shirts/t-shirt onesies, pants and jackets typically work the best. it also makes it easier if your destination has a big temperature change – get your kids comfy right away!
* we find traveling right away in the morning to work the best. our first flight today leaves at 4:50 am (agh!) but it will allow both kids to sleep for a lot of it.
AT YOUR DESTINATION //
* if you are able to, skip packing ALL of the diapers and wipes you’ll need, and buy some once you get there. This saves a lot of room in your suitcase.
* make sure your baby/toddler will have the appropriate sleeping arrangements. if you’re going to a hotel, call them and let them know you’ll need a pack-n-play or crib.
* have kid snacks ready for your trip or buy them once you get there. you’ll probably be dining out more and need more distraction methods than you usually do at home.