May 17, 2013

New York with Baby, Part One

Last month, we took the baby to New York City to meet up with his grandparents. It was the bub's first trip on an airplane, he was 3 months old.

Living in Houston, we fly United Airlines by default. On our way to New York, we got upgraded to Business Class. That's right! Baby's first plane ride and he's already traveling in style. He better not get too used to it, ha! While it was nice being upgraded, it also meant holding him the entire flight. I much preferred our return flight to Houston in Economy Plus with an empty seat next to us. It allowed the bub to sleep freely on the empty seat giving us a break from holding him. 

United has a funny way of boarding passengers. They board everyone by group number depending on your elite status or where your seat is located. They don't make any preferential treatment for passengers with kids or babies so forget about early boarding.

Ground Transporation
We decided since we have a baby now it was best to hire a car service to get to our rented apartment. With that in mind, we purposely flew into La Guardia since it was easier and cheaper to get into Manhattan. I was about to reserve one of the big companies, like Dial 7 or GroundLink but after reading the reviews on Yelp, I was very hesitant. Instead, I used a local company called Quick Ride Corp that I found on Yelp.

The process had me skeptical at first but it was exactly how everyone described it in the reviews. Keep in mind this is an Asian operation so, they're very short and to the point. For pick up at La Guardia, I called them the night before. The operator asked for my arrival time, flight number, and destination - quoted me $30 for the fare and I was to call them when I landed. That's it. You get no confirmation number, nada! I called them when we were on our way to the baggage claim. There was no hi or anything.
Operator: you landed? You have your bags?
Me: just landed, don't have our bags yet.
Operator: ok, call me back when you have your bags. *hangs up*

I called back after we got our bags, the operator gave me the car number and model/color of the car. The same was true when I reserved a car for ride back to the airport. I called the night before and they had a car waiting for us 5 minutes before scheduled pick up time. Whatever system they have, it works! They're reliable and that's all that matters when you're traveling with a baby.

The cars were all recent models. On the way from airport it was a Hyundai Elantra and the way back was a Toyota Sienna. Side note: cash only.

To secure the bub during the ride to/from airport, we brought his car seat with us but not the base. The car seat was part of stroller anyway.

I highly recommend renting apartment when traveling with a baby. The ease of having a kitchen, washer/dryer, a living room to hang out in is worth every penny. It some cases, especially since we were meeting his grandparents in NYC, it was cheaper as well. I found a great one in East Village - a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom for $350 per night. Before booking, be sure to ask what floor the apartment is on and if there's an elevator. Babies come with a lot of accessories! Luckily, this apartment was on the first floor.

We really enjoyed staying in East Village area versus touristy ones like Midtown. East Village has lots of great coffee shops, craft beer bars and ethnic restaurants to explore.

Ok New Yorkers... please tell me how your maneuver around the subway with baby solo. There are no elevators to go down to the station!! Some stops have an elevator from platform to station but to get to station itself... all stairs! 

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