This is often the question any traveler may ask themselves, never mind a traveling family. Going through an airport check-in as a family a huge ordeal, especially if there are no accomodations for travelers with strollers – like PHX, so once you and your family actually make it past the TSA check your timing could be unpredictable.
As I already wrote here not only were our hotel plans impacted but we also had to re-plan our return flight as the flight that we originally planned on taking got cancelled and we needed to fly out of Boston instead. Our Boston flight was scheduled for 10:40AM so we had to leave early, really early, as we had to drive through at least 3 fairly large metro areas during morning rush hour traffic and that would not even account for any additional accidents that could happen due to the “weather”. So we grabbed a very quick breakfast, actually my parents helped feed the baby as I packed and got the car ready, and left. We actually made better than expected timing and got to to the airport at around 9AM. In addition, we both got TSA-Pre and BOS did have a stroller-accessible lane so we were through check-in and at the terminal a good hour prior to our flight and around 25 minutes prior to boarding.
This I consider to be the sweet spot that you want to hit when you’re traveling with a baby, as that gives you enough buffer if you’re running late but also limits your exposure of how long you’re needlessly hanging out at the airport with a child as every minute of peace counts during traveling. Still, it’s 25 minutes that you have to do something with, and we were somewhat tired and hungry by now. Typically if you have to eat at the airport and buy a drink, be it alcoholic or non, you’re easily looking at $10-15 per person and you’re eating and drinking very modestly on that budget. On top of that, you have to eat your food probably in a crowded foodcourt/restaurant or even worse if you have to eat it at the gate, as depending on which terminal you’re at it could be swamped with people. So, in my opinion, there are both tangible and intangible costs of overstaying at the airport that you and your family will quantify for yourselves – for us, for about 6 years now (going on two with a kid) we’ve made a decision that having access to lounges at worldwide locations is a benefit that was more than worth it for us.
BOS Delta Lounge by Gate A18
We’ve been to this lounge a few times now and just like the last time we were pleasantly that the lounge was nearly empty and we found a very nice corner all to ourselves:
The spot actually had views of our gate, A14, and the aircraft. Baby L had a blast stretching his legs after being in a car for 2+ hours and was amazed by all the sights of airport, including take-offs:
The lounge is very clean and friendly, and another intangible benefit that I appreciate is clean bathrooms, especially when you have a baby that you need to change. While Baby L was getting his diaper change I made the arounds for drinks & food:
Typically lounges do not have excessive food selection available, but for us it was enough of a quick 2nd breakfast, I grabbed a Bagel with PBJ, Chocolate chip muffins, Water, Milk and two Vodka drinks for the adults. A quick drink was a nice break of going non-stop pace since 6AM and calmed our nerves a little before boarding the flight. Baby L didn’t seem to complain about the muffins & milk either:
Even though we only spent about 20 minutes in the lounge it was well worth it in every sense and having a clean and comfortable space in the airport prior to boarding a plane is not only welcomed but something that we have come to rely on, and now that we’re traveling with a baby it’s worth it even more.
There will be a separate post that I’ll write about that details the best way to obtain lounge access without even actually having status with an airline, but for the purpose of this post I do not want to digress onto something that it’s a subject on its own.