Brett and Samantha Kellgren weren’t looking forward to taking their infant son on his first plane ride, an early-morning Southwest Airlines flight from their hometown of Chicago to Boston.
“I felt like if it wasn’t a family wedding, we probably wouldn’t have done it,” said Samantha Kellgren, 33. “I didn’t know how it would go. Would he be awake the whole time and still be in a good mood?”
So, like any good parents, they turned to bribery.
Traveling with an infant, they were among the early boarders on the June 7 flight with unassigned seats. They chose a middle and an aisle seat roughly 10 rows back, with Brett on the aisle and Samantha in the middle holding Owen.
When the seats around them were filled, Brett passed out about a dozen goody bags to nearby passengerss. Inside were ear plugs, gum, some snacks and a note with a picture of the baby and this message: “Hi there, my name is Owen and I just turned 4 months old! This is my first flight and I’ll try my best to be on good behavior but just in case I get fussy this morning here are some goodies that I hope will help out. Enjoy your flight!”
The gesture went over well, Samantha said, with some people even saying the care packages weren’t necessary. One woman in front of them stood up just to get a good look at the baby.
Turns out the Kellgrens didn’t need the bags. Owen wasn’t bothered by the takeoff and landing, and he didn’t cry or get fussy during the flight. Instead, he smiled at the lady next to him in the window seat (a grandma) and spent time looking around and taking everything in, Samantha said.
On the way home a few days later, Owen fell asleep before the flight even took off. He slept the whole way. Good thing, because the Kellgrens didn’t bring treats for the return flight.
(Terri Colby is a freelance writer.)