We got to the airport about an hour before we needed to board the plane, we simply had to go to the full service counter at Southwest and get a boarding document check for the 18 month old even though SW customer service said she was on the ticket.
For reference, you can show up with a baby, or have the baby on the ticket, but you still have to show up with a birth certificate or boarding document. Talking to customer service to get an infant in lap listed does nothing other than waste your time.
In a line with eight people we waited fiftysomething minutes because Southwest had two agents working the full service counter and a line of premiere customers who were served as they walked up. Stressed to the max and with 11 minutes before the plane was leaving we hit security.
They were nice, but the boogie wipes in Kim’s bag set off some sort of alert which delayed us past boarding time. We ran to get to the gate, hauling 3yo, toddler, and jogging as fast as we could. At one point I put 3yo down, told the other to come as fast as they could, I was going to attempt to run ahead and see if they’d let us board.
Got there about a minute before the rest caught up, couldn’t speak, was told by gate agent they were probably going to let us board but needed to talk to someone first. That done, we got on, sweating profusely due to the run in winter clothing.
Going out was pretty much OK. Baby had two short meltdowns that were quickly remedied by a nap, 3yo was good up until 20 minutes or so before destination. Coming back a week later, not so much.
Coming back was a fight of baby having too much energy, 3yo not wanting to be touched by baby, baby kicking like a mule, and Kim still recovering from an appendectomy. 3yo wanted out of plane at 36000 feet, refused to believe we weren’t on the ground, pissed that YouTube kids wouldn’t work and baby had managed to delete all her videos.
Baby was ticked, pacifier was gone, milk was not supplied (seriously Oakland, do none of your airport stores have milk?) and there was not a lot of food that would meet her slopping food about requirements for the trip so she was unable to sleep and hungry most of the way in.
We got back, I’d been fairly impressed with the 3yo, she’d handled with only a little whinging on the plane. We got back and settled everyone in and things seemed to be good until the meltdown the day after next.
Evidently 3yo had jet lag, was a bit exhausted from daycare, and otherwise was ready to blow and she did. Four hours of meltdown.
My ears still psychically recoil from the event.
But yeah, being stuck with people you love, getting hurt by them (seriously, take a toddler to the testes a couple of times on a plane and see what you’re feeling like,) and having to make sure they don’t harm each other, combine with claustrophobic (for me,) conditions, yeah, that’s torture.