Like a lot of little kids, Ian is a huge fan of airplanes. He's loved our visits to the Air & Space Museum and the New England Air Museum, is always flying his toys around and/or pretending to be an airplane himself, and can spot a plane in the sky no matter how high up and tiny it is. I remember the look of disappointment on his face when we first went to the Air & Space Museum and he got to climb into the cockpit of a Cessna -- I thought he'd love it, but instead he looked crestfallen. "I thought we were REALLY going to fly!"
A couple of weeks ago, he finally got his wish. Jim had gone to DC for work for a week, and Ian and I flew down to meet him there.
Bradley Airport is pretty quiet at midmorning, and we were able to walk right up to the security checkpoint with no line whatsoever. (Interestingly, Ian was selected for TSA Pre-Check, according to his boarding pass. I was not.) He was a little nervous about all the police officers and big machines, but the TSA agent who checked us in was super-friendly and great with him, and I think that put him at ease, although he was a little scared of walking through the metal detector by himself. (We saw the same agent later, on the other side of security, and she waved to him. "IAN! My buddy! Are you having fun??")
We had gotten to the airport with plenty of time to spare, so we had a couple of hours to wait. We wandered around the terminal a bit, watched a couple of planes take off and land, and then went and sat at our gate. There weren't any chairs right by the window, so we just made ourselves comfortable on the floor.
While we were waiting and watching all of the ground crew activity, some of the ground crew guys waved at Ian, which he thought was exciting. "Are they waving at ME?!"
Not long after our plane landed and the people from the first leg got off, our flight crew arrived and Ian got to talk to the pilot. And before we knew it, it was time to board. I didn't think it was possible for Ian to be any more excited than he already was...but he was literally bouncing up and down and almost sprinted down the jetway.
While we waited to taxi to the runway (naturally, they discovered a mechanical problem AFTER we boarded), Ian familiarized himself with the aircraft's safety features and skimmed the in-flight magazine.
When we finally got to the runway and they fired up the engines for takeoff, Ian just started giggling. And giggling. And giggling some more. Even the people around us were laughing at him. :-)
Ian is low and the windows were too high for him to see out, as evidenced by this Ian's-eye photo...
...but that's just as well, since it was a cloudy day and there was nothing to see anyway. He did enjoy flying THROUGH the clouds, though, and getting to see sunshine and blue sky on the other side.
I'd brought along some M&Ms -- his favorite -- as a surprise snack, and our flight attendant slipped him some salty snacks (you know, the ones the rest of us pay $5 for) to go along with his apple juice. Boy, it pays to be 3 and cute.
When we were coming in to land, I told him that there would be a little bit of a bump when we hit the ground. When we landed and then slammed on the brakes, he started giggling uncontrollably again just as he did when we took off.
As we were getting off the plane, the pilot invited Ian to see the cockpit and have his picture taken, but he suddenly became Mr. Shy and didn't want to. And after all the time he spent in the cockpit at the Air Museum! Oh well, maybe next time.
All in all, I'd have to imagine that this ranks right up there with Ian's Top Three Days of All Time. He had SO much fun...and I did, too. The first time I was on a plane I was sixteen years old, so it was a ton of fun to see the whole thing through his eyes. And it doesn't hurt, of course, that he's a great traveler and we got lots of compliments. Mommies like that stuff. ;-)
Where to next???