K.W. asks from Mansfield, TX on August 27, 2006
Flying with Kids
In a week we are flying with 2 kids to Orlando. One is almost 2 and the other is 4 months. This will be the first time we will fly with them. Does any on have any advice, suggestions, helpful hints??? Do the airlines try to better accomodate people flying with children?
1 mom found this helpful
B.F. answers from Dallas on August 28, 2006
We have flown with my daughter 4 times since she was 4 months old (she is now 18 months old). From my exprience the airlines have not really done anything to better accomodate. They are not rude or anything, but you have to ask to board early. I remember years ago the airlines used to allow people with small children or those needing extra time to board first. Well, I haven't heard that announcement in a long time and was told that you need to request at the gate to allow extra boarding time. So, I would definitely do that. Also, give your 4 month old a bottle as you are taking off. I have made the mistake of feeding my daughter when we got on the plane and then the bottle ran out more than once because of delays during takeoff. I would imagine for your 2 year old to pack a variety of fun "stuff" and snacks. My friend also takes along their portable DVD because that has either entertained her son OR has helped him to fall asleep. I also read in a parents magazine to bring along a bag of Hershey Kisses to pass out to surrounding flyers with the theory being that no one can get mad at a mom who gives out Kisses. I have not tried that. I will say that my daughter flew the best when she was 4 months old. She pretty much slept the entire flight from Dallas to Philadelphia. When I have flown alone with my daughter the people at security and the gate have always helped me with my stroller and then on the plane people have always helped me with my luggage if I needed it.
Have fun in Orlando. We are going in October and I am hoping that my then 20 month old will not be so "squirmy"
1 mom found this helpful
L.N. answers from Dallas on August 27, 2006
We like to board last, especially with a toddler. I tried to starve her off when she was an infant so she would be hungry for her bottle...something to do and helps with the pressure. Toys, books, movies, snacks, whatever they love is great and throw in a few new surprises. I totally agree about "not worrying what other people think". Depending on your airline you can go online and pick your own seats. We just flew American and the day before they flight I checked our seats and the row was full, so I just changed us to an empty row (or less congested area). It's amazing what a little extra space can do. Our record trip was 15 hours with a 14 month old so you can do it!!!!!!!
S.B. answers from Seattle on August 27, 2006
I don't know if it is better to board first or last with kids. The airlines used to let you go first, but a lot of them don't anymore. First is good because you can install the carseats and get everyone settled before the plane fills up with the other passengers. Last is good because you don't have to sit on the plane as long...guess its sort of a toss up! We usually try to go first with two kids, because it is a real pain to get the car seats installed and I prefer to do it without a 100 people getting frustrated with me for taking so long to get everyone settled! Lots of snacks and drinks are good distractions. And, definitely give them something to drink, or a pacifier if they use one, during take off and landing. This helps with ear pressure. New toys are good, too...soemthing they haven't seen before. Also bring a lovey if they have one and a blanket you can use as a pillow is helpful. Our doc advised us to give mine a half dose of benadryl to help with ear pressure and to help them sleep on the plane. This worked wonders on my then 2-year old, but did nothing for my then 8-month old. We didn't check the stroller at the gate, had too much other stuff to carry, plus you still don't get it back until the baggage claim at your destination. Bring a change of clothes and a plastic bag in case you need to store soiled clothes. There is a changing table above the toilet in the rest room. The most important thing to bring is patience and thick skin. No matter how hard you try to prepare, someone will not understand the hardship of traveling with kids. They might cry...that's OK! Your son will probably kick the seat in front of him...more than once! Just apologize and tell him not to. There's not much more you can do. You might get dirty looks from other passengers both if your kid is crying and if they are having fun, but being a little loud. Sometimes you just can't win! All you can do is grin and bear it! On our last flight, my 8-month old had a terrible time. She didn't want to be stuck in her seat for what turned into a 5 hour flight (bad weather at our destination), she wouldn't sleep, her ears were bothering her and she was teething! She fussed and whined the whole time and all the toys, books, etc in the world wouldn't have made her happy. But,we got really lucky and the lady that was seated next to us was awesome! She didn't care that the baby was crying and even tried to help me calm her down, giving her a magazine to look at and playing peek-a-boo with her. My 2 year old slept most of the time, but did her share of seat kicking while awake! I hope you have a plane full of understanding passengers (just in case) and that your kids both fly as well as my oldest daughter does! Good luck to you!!
A.B. answers from Dallas on August 28, 2006
I agree w/ all the other entries, except I have comments about the new security policies. I flew just last weekend with my 22 month old. Don't bring any gel-filled teethers or other liquid/gel toys; thry'll take them away. If you bring a sippycup with more than 4 oz of fluid, you'll be at security a little longer becuase they'll want to check that fluid for bombs, no kidding. I brought water in his sippycup for the drive to the airport, knowing the flightattendant would hand out juices, etc once aboard...but I forgot to dump the water out before entering the airport. Security took a little longer because the water showed up in the xray machine and they had to open the cup...next time I'll not forget to bring the cup empty, just because I dont need the delay.
I wasnt checking baggage through and I had paid for my ticket online so I thought I could skip the big line before security but I still had to prove the baby's age w/ a birth certificate so I had to stand in the long line anyway (allow time for this). My boarding pass had a pre-boarding pass on it, so at the gate I got in the pre-boarding line. I dont know about other airlines, but I flew SW where you pick any seat when you get on board (no pre-assigned seats). I, and other parents with little ones) always grabbed seat row #1 because there isnt a seat ahead of you for your little one to bang on and there was much more legroom. One dad even propped his feet up on the bulkhead and his infant slept level on his legs. I like to be near an emergency exit and row #1 is closest to the main doors. Otherwise, the only other seats with the leg and laproom you'll appreciate with kids are the mid-cabin emergency exits...but the FAA prohibits you to sit in those rows if you have kids under 15. I'd suggest trying to reserve row#1 if you're on flights with pre-assigned seats.
D.H. answers from Dallas on September 05, 2006
Sounds like you have lots of good advice so far!! I usually fly American. I always ask to board early with our car seats and have always been allowed to board early. We have never been asked to see an "airplne certified" sticker, so I will have to go check our seats! Normally, the flight attendant just wanted to see that the seat was installed properly. (They have repeatedly said I would be surprised at how many people just put the seats on the seat without the seatbelt!!) We also usually gate check the stroller so that we can use it the entire way to the gate and immediately after landing. (The stroller has come through many flights without any issues, including a burpee that was accidently left inside. It was laying on top and not lost when we got to our destination!!)
We have lots of toys, books, snacks, etc.. However, I am sure that will change with all the new rules. We haven't flown in the last month.
Good luck and enjoy....
D.M. answers from Dallas on August 27, 2006
Hi, I have flown several times with my two oldest, once when my 5 yr. old was only 13 days old. Babies R Us sells a little vest harness that can be attached to the airplane seatbelt if your 2 yr. old is flying on a lap, and if you purchase a seat for your 4 month old, most infant carriers are airplane safety rated, so you can just strap it in the seat just like you would in your car. Make sure to bring a bottle for your infant and a sippy cup for your boy, so they can be sucking on something as the plane takes off to adjust for the pressure changes - similar to your chewing gum at takeoff. Also, ask at the check-in if your airline lets families with small children board first - most do - if they don't ask if they'll allow you to anyway. Trust me, you need the extra time and space to avoid getting stressed right at the beginning of your trip. Bring PLENTY of toys to entertain your little boy. Mine just love paper and crayons, favorite toys (nothing with little pieces if you can avoid it), and snacks. If you have a laptop, bring it and some dvd's to play for your oldest. Well, sorry for the length, but I hope this helped some. :0)
C. answers from Dallas on August 28, 2006
The best piece of advice that I can give you is take the biggest stroller you have. Airlines will let you gatecheck your stroller, that means you can roll it all the way down to the door of the plane, then they will take it right there, put it below, and it will be at the door when you get off. The other advice I will give is have lots of cups. Let the kids drink on the way up and the way down, they have to swallow then, which will pop their ears. The last piece of advice I have, try to get your two year old to go number two right after you touch down. (I'm just kidding, but my son did this, and as everyone stood up, I yelled out, "Believe me, you do NOT want me on this plane much longer!" It was like the parting of the Red Sea, I have NEVER gotten off a plane so quickly! ;} Good Luck! And have a great trip!
J.L. answers from Richmond on August 27, 2006
First of all... Just relax and enjoy the trip! Here are some of my hints:
You can bring your stroller up to the gate and will need to check it in at curbside
Make sure your kids have something to drink going up and down with the airplane. This will help with the air pressure.
I always like to arrive in the airplane last that way my child is not coup up on my lap while we wait for the rest of the passengers to come in.
You could also bring on the airplane an exciting and new toys for your children
Always ask for help
Don't worry about what other people think if your kids start crying
If you happen to need to change your child's diaper in the airplane's tiolet don't worry about your child screaming and hollering; nobody can hear them because the vibrations from the plane are so loud!