C.W. asks from Tulsa, OK on March 03, 2009
First Time on Plane
We're taking our vacation in July and will be flying. My kids have never flown so I don't know what to expect. What do I bring on the plane to keep them still and happy? What can I not pack...both in my checked luggage and my carry-ons. What about car seats (not on the plane, but to use at our destination? Can I take them on the plane?
ANY tips, suggestions or advice is VERY MUCH appreciateed!!
M.B. answers from Baton Rouge on March 04, 2009
As a routine flyer who did it more than I intended with a little one...here is what I know.
To keep kinds occupied.... snacks (PB crackers, Goldfish, Cheerios, fruit, etc.) No fruit if leaving Country though.
Toys (Books, Ipod, Nintendo DS, etc.) Since we travelled with an infant I brought baby toys and again as a toddler I brough hard, musical and light up toys that had a low volume, then later as a toddler I brought the laptop and some movies and of course our favorite stuffed animal. Think of this like a long car trip and pack as if you would for that.
What to expect... most kids do quite well flying and so all you need to really expect is the rush of getting situated and of course them being tired after crossing through the airport.
EARS MAY POP....If you have an infant, you can get some sugary syrup to dip a pacifier in or feed your baby as the plane takes off and lands to keep thier ears from popping. If you have a small child, then suckers and drinking juice are great to have on hand.... and if your child is old enough and for yourself.... bring gum and chew it at take off and landing.
As for what you can not have..... no liquids in containers larger than I think 4oz... check you airlines website... and all of you tiny containers like hand sanitzer, liquid makeup, lotion, etc must fit into a quart size ziplock per person and must be removed from carry ons and placed in a seperate tray at the safety scanning. Now I do know that when I travelled with my little one, the ready made nursettes were 6oz.... and since they were closed and it was for a baby I was allowed to travel with all the closed ones... so we discarded the open one and opened another once on board. You may want to call ahead and see if you can pack tiny juices for your little ones in thier quart size ziplock bag. I know when we travelled as a toddler and because of severe acid reflux, my daughter could only have "white grape juice", so not something you could purcahse past security... I just brought a doctor's note and anytime I had a problem.. I just asked for the supervisor... they were all nice and just doing their jobs...once they heard the issue and saw the note, they nodded me through..of course I had to dispose of the open one again.
Things you can not have on board a plane beside liquids,... NO knives, pocket knives, screwdrivers, mace pepper spray, razor blades, lighters... etc... all this will be listed on the airlines website also call and check the airports security guidelines.
As for carseats.... if you purchased your child a plane seat... required depending on age... you can bring and use the carseat on the plane. your choice. and if you wish to bring it for the trip but not the plane... MOST airlines let carseats go in cargo free... you will need to ask. And if they let them go free this does not count as part of the number of luggage you allowed to carry. You will check your carseat if not using on the plane at the same place you check in all of your luggage. Just remember you will be carrying all of this, luggage and kids. But carseats are a necessity. And thank goodness you get to lessen the load hopefully curbside or just inside the airport. The rest of the journey is through the airport, security and then boarding.
THE BEST THING EVER>>> Bring your stroller. These are allowed free and can be taken right up to the plane gate and then "check them at the gate".... they can be driven down the loading corridor and folded and left right outside the plane with a gate check tag... and they will be at your landing in the same spot as the flight crew, etc stows them away and brings them back for you. I cna't tell you how many times we brought the stroller and how handy it was .... This is a must have depending on the age of your little ones.
Best Wishes... Flying is fun and to see your kids look out the windows at the world is so refreshing. May you have a safe, fun and wonderful trip.
G.F. answers from Tulsa on March 04, 2009
When my daughter was 2 1/2 I flew with her to VA for a family vacation with my brothers and their families. I really lucked out on the car seat as my brother who lives there had one for her, but I had already found out that I could check hers with my luggage. I packed a back pack with small puzzles, travel size magnadoodle and etch-a-sketch, a couple of 4 inch dolls, books, snacks and her sippy cup. She happily sat on my lap and played with these things. Since your children are older than my daughter was might also try coloring books and crayons, books that they can read together, other travel games that they can play together or gameboys or other electronic games (if they have them). Your daughter might like to take a Barbie and a few of her clothes. Just remember to keep the items small and easily carried. You can pack a back pack for each of your children and have them carry them. If your son is still using a stroller, you can push him clear to the door of the airplane and when you reach your destination it will be there waiting when you get off. You need to check with the airline that you are taking for all of their rules as to what can and can't be carried for sure, but this is what I did. Also, be sure to wear shoes that slip on and off easily for the security at the airport. Will make your wait getting thru a little easier, especially if running for your plane.
G.L. answers from Little Rock on March 04, 2009
We've been traveling w/our 4 year since he was about 6 months. We usually check our car seats. When he was smaller, we did take them on the plane but haven't done so since he turned 4. If you have a DVD player, I HIGHLY recommend it. I also have a bag of entertainment just for my son....includes snacks, favorite toys, books, and DVDs. I even pack little surprises in case of emergencies or meltdowns.
Hope this helps. Enjoy your vacation!
A.L. answers from Lafayette on March 04, 2009
My son, who is 6 months now, took his first flight at 4 weeks old. We checked his car seat like luggage. You can purchase a bag that covers the car seat or you can just put it in a big plastic bag, which the airline provided to us when we checked our luggage. My son sits on my lap because of his age, but I have seen other parents who actually take the car seat on the plane and the child sits in it on the plane. I'm not sure how that will work with your children but its an option. I do have to say that flying with kids is a challenge. The second time we flew (my son was 8 weeks)he was very unhappy and we were "those people with the screaming baby". Thankfully, most people were very understanding. You can call the airline you are flying with and ask any questions you have. Good luck to you and hopefully your flight isn't too long!
K.W. answers from Tulsa on March 03, 2009
Bring chewing gum for take off and landing. It helps keep the ears from popping as much with the pressure changes. As far as keeping them busy, if you have a window seat that's always fun for them, but they'll get bored eventually. Gameboys, movies they can watch on a laptop, even just books would be a good idea. I also recommend snacks--they give you pretzels or nuts, but it's a tiny bag and usually seems to be towards the very beginning or very end of the flight. As far as the rest of it, you can call the airline and they can answer all of those questions for you. Have a fun & safe trip!
A.B. answers from Tulsa on March 11, 2009
There is a lot of other great advise here, but my success was to pack new and old toys. That way he was comforted with stuff he knew, but also had the excitement of getting a new item or two. When I traveled with my 5 yr old neice on a plane, most of the fun was just being on a plane for the first time. She thought it was great and half of the 2 hr flight was just taking it all in and looking out the window. It was also helpful to let her help pack her carry-on and then I slipped a few suprises in it. She thought it was fun to carry her own bag and be in charge of it.
As for the car seat, I would definantly check it when you check in. They are allowed on most planes, but usually there is just not enough room. Renting one with your rental car is a great idea if you are renting a car. But I personally like to use my own. Good Luck! Just take your time at the airports and don't be afraid to ask for help.
J.C. answers from Baton Rouge on March 05, 2009
You've already gotten some great advice, but I wanted to add... if you will have your hands full with the kiddos and their "extras", put color pages, crosswords, drawing paper, pencils, crayons, etc. in an empty Pringles can. You can have one for each child (different flavored cans will make fighting even less!) The cans will fit easily into any other bag you are carrying, and keep all their materials together! We have some friends who made crossword puzzles and word searches about their destination for the children on the trip! Have fun with it, and good luck!
T.P. answers from Tuscaloosa on March 04, 2009
We fly all the time with our now 3 year-old. We usually carry our carseat, but check it at the gate so it hopefully won't get lost and will be available immediately when you land. You can put just about anything in your checked luggage (except maybe undeclared weapons). Each of you can bring a small carry-on. I recommend maybe each kid bringing a backpack to keep them busy...you might even surprise them with a new backpack full of new (inexpensive) things. We always bring the portable DVD player or laptop and my son watches movies the whole flight...depending on the battery life. Some ideas of things to bring are...crayons and paper, sticker books, a new book, small handheld electronic game, a few matchbox cars, etc. You can bring anything in your carry-on that basically can't be used as a weapon (no scissors, or even butter knives, etc.). Go online and check your airline's website to be sure. I think they stopped restricting most liquids, but might still require sample sizes of toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.). I usually try to bring at least a change of underwear in our carryon, in case our suitcase gets lost. Also, there is a product called earplanes which is not expensive (around $8) and works well if you are prone to ear aches from the pressure. If you don't get these, make sure you have lollipops or gum for the kids to have on take-off and especially landings so their ears won't hurt. That's the most important advice. Have a great time!