To fly from Costa Rica to Belize, we had two choices. The first was an economy fare that entailed a 23 hour journey. The second was executive class, which took 3 1/2 hours. The price for first class was actually less than the economy, so it made the decision a no-brainer. I booked all four of us on first class with Taca airlines.
We were flying Costa Rica to El Salvador to Belize.
Executive class on Taca meant that we each got to take 2 checked bags weighing 70 lbs! Awesome. We planned on taking all our kitchen utensils, pans, clothes, some toys, G’s scooter, etc. Even Isla, a lap child, got to check 22 lbs. We aren’t backpacking through Belize or the world so we don’t necessarily need to travel light. We take ‘our essentials’ that help make our new home comfortable or that we know are going to be really expensive once we get there.
Flying with Kids? Arrive Early at the Airport
We arrived at the airport early. One thing we like to avoid is stress at the airport, which is usually caused by a time crunch. Three hours early took care of everything we needed: departure taxes, permission to take Isla out of the country (since she is Costa Rican child, we need permission from the government to take her), and the checking of all of our bags.
TACA VIP Lounge
We also wanted to enjoy the Taca VIP lounge, which was included in our executive class ticket. As soon as we entered, we were so glad we got to the airport early and so glad we had first class tickets. It was beautiful. Sleek, modern and, more importantly, away from the masses of travelers. Oh yes, we were VIP. I even kept my sunglasses on to ‘up’ my coolness factor. My children could care less, they just wanted to run up and down the ramps. But, we adults…we indulged.
Free food. Free Drinks. Free smiles from us. There was plenty of food for purchase, but the VIP lounge did offer a free little buffet of cheese sandwiches, fruit, juice, coffee and tea. And every ticket got a free drink, which meant that we had to have 3 cocktails before we left. We could travel like this every time.
We got to board first, after all, we were VIP for the flight. As soon as we sat down, champagne was offered. I could not say no. We enjoyed champagne in our huge leather seats. There were no complaints about leg room or having to share an armrest.
As I was sipping my champagne, I loved people walking past me saying “Wow. First class with babies, must be nice”. It was nice. I could have fit both of my babies in one seat, but luckily, they had their own.
The First Class Curtain
We’ve never been in front of the ‘first class curtain’. We got close once. Once we had seats in the first row behind first class and Keith put his toe “beyond” the curtain. I told him to enjoy it, because it’s probably the closest he’ll get to being in first class. His toe was happy and now I know why.
The flight from Costa Rica to El Salvador was only 48 minutes, but first class had a nice meal served with wine.
In the event of an emergency, we were hoping that the first class cabin detached itself from the rest of the plane and had it’s own parachute. There was no way that any of the first class passengers were going to save themselves. They fed us too much alcohol. I was in no condition to save myself- less my children.
Seriously, access to the VIP lounge in the airport with free cocktails, then champagne upon boarding and wine with lunch. And this was only a 48 minute flight! Now I see how first class passengers are kept at a happy drunk state
Flying into El Salvador was fast. These little planes go up and down quickly (which plugged our ears). Our connecting flight was in 50 minutes and luckily we did not have to retrieve our baggage or go through customs. Our baggage was checked all the way through to Belize. The El Salvador airport is small, but efficient. We had a 5 minute walk to our connecting gate, but it took us about 20 minutes (again, it was nice to have the time to allow the kids to roam and satisfy their curiosity of the airport). I expected the airport to be, well…3rd world. But it wasn’t. It was clean, modern and very commercial.
Flying to Belize
Another short flight later and we were in Belize. The land in Belize looked totally different. It wasn’t sectioned into farmland like most countries we’ve flown to. It looked like wild, open land.
A quick landing and we exited the airplane. K had filled out all the immigration paperwork and forgot it on the plane, so he had to wait until everyone exited and then someone went back onto the plane to get them.
Upon entering Belize airport, we were greeted with live Garifuna music and a lively, fun atmosphere. We got through customs (they opened each one of our jam packed bags) and then stuffed everything in a Ford Explorer taxi to take us on the 20 minute ride to the dock where the San Pedro Express water taxi station is. It was a 1 1/2 hour boat ride to Ambergris Caye and it cost $15 US per person (children under 5 free).
We were tired but in good spirits when we exited the boat onto the dock and then the beautiful white sand of Ambergris Caye.
We loved flying first class and if the opportunity ever arises again (read: the tickets are cheaper than economy) we will. I think we definitely lived up to our last name and traveled like Kings!