After talking to a few people recently who strongly suggested I call Air France to confirm their travel restrictions/allowances, even though I had scanned and read and re-read the page on their website about travel with infants, I decided to go ahead ad call just to be safe... and good thing, too. I had been planning on bringing our stroller with the snap-in car seat, use that (and the Snugli carrier) for porting Donovan around in the airports, and just gate-checking them for the actual flights.
I found out that the car seat, if brought, would need to be regular-checked with our baggage (D does not have his own seat to hook it into on the plane). So if we bring the stroller, it needs to be with its proper seat if we want D to sit in it. And that while we can gate-check it, we may or may not actually see it again once we get off the plane-- that often big strollers like this one (as opposed to the umbrella variety) get put in the underbelly of the plane and don't come back out till you get your bags at your final destination.
Hm. Bummer. Kinda throws a wrench into our plans.
The closest thing I have to a cover bag for the car seat is a plastic bag. Which probably won't hold up too well in transit. So right now we're trying to coordinate having people take us to and from the airport on this side, using our car seat(s) here (kinda glad we have 2 of them now, for more flexibility) so we don't have to illegally hold D in a car to get to and from the airport, and then we could use my step-sister's old car seat once we get to the US. Although as of this morning I'm also thinking about how to install it, will it be easily changeable from one car to the other, etc. As I researched car seats while pregnant I kept hearing all these horror stories of how it would take people hours of poring through detailed and complex instructions to install their car seats, and even then a whopping 80% of US car seats are estimated to not be installed properly (which is why I was a bit shocked when we bought ours here, and it was a 5 second seatbelt installation). This car seat is 5 years old, I have no idea if the instruction manual is still around. As far as the stroller, I figure we'll still take it, as it would be nice to have during lay-overs, but if we don't get it back till the end of our trip it won't be the end of the world, I guess.
Zach's been trying to help me not freak out about all this stuff. I guess he has a point, that there's only so much we have control over and the biggest wild card of this whole trip will be D's mood, and that will determine, more than anything, whether it's an "easy" (hah) trip, or not so much. But man am I glad I called as I'd much rather find this stuff out now than when we arrive at the airport Sunday morning.
In other news, CHECK OUT DONOVAN'S SHIRT:
This was one of the many (many, many) gifts that D's Auntie Jenny and Abuelito brought for him at Christmas, and it is possibly one of my favorites. The shirt's actually sized 12 months, and you can kinda see it in the shoulders-- they hunch up to make him look like a football player. But it mostly fits, and I'm planning on getting as much wear out of this shirt as I possibly can b/c I love it so much. I'm bringing it with us (along with some of his also-too-big UT stuff) b/c I figure he HAS to wear it while in Austin. And before you remind me that it's currently summer and therefore probably 90-100F-plus outside in Texas, well, I'm also bringing him a couple sweaters b/c if it's scorchingly hot outdoors, you know it's going to be arctic-ice-cold indoors, and he'll need long sleeves and a hat and possibly a goose down parka to keep him warm enough when we go inside any building with air conditioning.