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Travelling to Pearson International Airport alone with a baby? Parents BEWARE!

September 10, 2007
This doesn’t have a whole lot to do with living in Finland… but it does have to do a bit with travelling from Finland. tune in…
On June 28 of this year I was all hyped up to head back to Canada for a long visit with my family. I had made plans to travel alone with my four month-old baby as my husband was not able to join us right away. The flight from Helsinki to Toronto was great and I salute the staff at Finnair who made my flight with my daughter a relative piece of cake.
My nightmare began in Toronto after I went through customs. I was carrying a four month-old baby in a sling, two carry-on bags (one for me, one for her), her car seat and suitcase full of our clothes for six weeks. I did my best to pack light, but with a small baby it can be hard…
Let me start by saying that very few people went out of their way to help me at the airport in Toronto. It seems that good Samaritanship is dead… It was rather difficult to try and pull a 70-pound suitcase off the belt with one hand. I had to shout loudly, "Can somebody please help me?" And only then did people spring into action. The car seat came in on a different belt and I had to climb on to the belt (with my baby in a sling) to get it off!… The only person that offered to help me was a porter at the Sheraton Hotel at Terminal 3. I had to change terminals and when I struggled to get to monorail, I finally gave up and went across the street. The porter (a new Canadian evidently) brought me all the way to the door of the monorail and wished me luck.
While I could have hired a porter (and I should have), I expected that as a mother with a small baby who was visibly struggling, that someone would have asked me if I needed any help. When I got to the departures level in Terminal 1, I had to repack my suitcase, which is what I expected as it was too heavy to be put on a domestic flight. So I had another bag ready for that purpose and had to put my baby down on the FLOOR while I did it. Not ONE person offered to hold my baby while I had to repack my bags. The ticketing agent at Air Canada the counter heartlessly said, "I am sorry ma’am, this is not part of my job description." when I sputtered that I could use some help. Two ticketing agents sat there and watched me while I jammed stuff into another bag. By this time I was sweating, tired and frustrated, I just wanted to get it over with. Luckily for me, my little one, while tired, was in an okay mood. I wish I would have taken a picture of her on the cement floor – just to show that no one seems to give a damn if your baby is on the floor. When I finally got through security I fed my baby and shed a few tears. Our connecting flight was uneventful.
All I can say is that I was really happy when I arrived in Sudbury as many members of my family were there to greet us. The ordeal was over. While my little one will never be this little again and my husband was with us on the return trip, I just want to warn parents who plan to travel to Pearson International Airport in Toronto alone with your kids Don’t expect people to jump up and help you – because they won’t.
When I told this story to the people I saw, they were mortified. My mother and stepfather were livid… "Why," they asked, "wouldn’t anyone help you?"…
Good question….
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