May 13, 2009,
L.M. asks from Summerville, SC on May 12, 2009
Tips for Going Through Security/boarding Aircraft with Ten Month Old Busy Boy...
It'll just be my son Mason and I traveling this time. We have flown before, but Daddy was there to help with going through security and boarding. I'll have my son, a convertible car seat, a smaller stroller, and a couple of small bags. Any tips? My son is very mobile and can walk quite a distance along, and he's off 'running' every time I set him down. I'm just wondering how to handle everything if I'm not offered any help...thanks!
Edit: My son will have his own seat, so I will need to board with the car seat.
B.D. answers from Lincoln on May 13, 2009
E.B. answers from Duluth on May 13, 2009
Most luggage carts have a seat for children in the front. I'm not sure if you can get past security with that, though. I remember traveling through MSP when there was bomb threat a few years ago with a baby that age, and it was crazy. We had car seat, two carryons, stoller, bags...oh, and the child himself. Use the luggage straps to connect things; you can disconnect them when you check bags and then use them on your carryons. Make sure you can "wear" your carryons somehow (rather than needing hands). Put your son in the stroller and gate check it. Most carseats have a handle on the top; strap that through some of your bags, too, so you can roll it along. They do sell airport carriers for carseats--you can place your child in it and then push him along on the wheels. I would NOT let him run free, even if it ticks him off. I've traveled alone and pregnant with a toddler, and that was the one thing that freaked me out--him running off.
R.V. answers from Minneapolis on May 13, 2009
When we flew at Christmas last year I used a rolling carry-on bag to tote the car seat. Extend the top tether strap and hook it over the extension handle, puth the back of the seat against the bag, it sticks out more but is more stable that way.
Also my son had his own backpack(with wheels) that he carried with his toys, snacks, cup and coloring books. It gave him something that was his to take care of and he loved it. I also used a backpack as my "purse" so I only had the stroller and the rolling bag in my hands.
If your son is riding in the stroller you can hook his backpack over the handles on the stroller.
Good luck and have a good time.
K.M. answers from Cedar Rapids on May 13, 2009
I just flew with a 7 mo. old and 2 year old. I would put him in a front pack when possible. Especially when loading the plane because you will have your hands full carrying a car seat and bags up the plane. Then while you are waiting to load plane walk around with him to wear him down. I would also suggest giving him a little benadryl before boarding the plane. My little guy didn't want to fall asleep on the plane so I took him back to the back of the plane between the bathrooms and bounced him in my arms. The white noise and bouncing put him right to bed. Give the baby a bottle during take off and landing to help with the ears. I would also suggest taking a bungy cord just in case you need to bungy some things together to make carrying easier.
L.T. answers from Minneapolis on May 13, 2009
Leave your child strapped into the stroller until the last possible minute - if you are organized, you'll get everything on the belt quickly and then you can take him out of the stroller and put that on the belt last. They may let you carry him through the metal detector or he may have to walk through on his own. Depends on the person working that day. When you get to the other side, put him back in the stroller right away while you get organized. We've always had security people that were willing to help me get things on/off the belt on both ends. Also, if you are flying from MSP, they have a special families line that you can go through - you'll get to the front of the line much quicker. I really think that the majority of people out there are willing to help or are understanding that you may take longer to get through security if you have young children. Just make sure that you are following all of the security rules so that you aren't holding up the line for THOSE reasons. Holding up the line to fold your stroller or get your car seat on the belt are completely understandable to most people.
B.N. answers from Madison on May 13, 2009
To easily carry the car seat w/o the carts (you may not always have a cart available if you plan on renting one). Lenghten the arm straps so they are as long as possible and put the car seat on your back like a backpack. Your arms should go through the same area as your DS. To prevent him running off if you place him down get a harness. If they don't allow it to be worn through security have it the last thing off and the first thing back on. That way if your stroller isn't ready or he's having a tanturm b/c he doesn't want to be in the stroller you can attend to what you need and he can have some freedom. Once you board have him sit in your seat while you adjust the carseat. We've been traveling several times with our 2 little/mobile ones (over 1 and just under 3). We have 2 adults but there are times when I go ahead and he stays back to deal w/ the stroller. the most difficulty I had was getting on the smaller planes when you planed and had to climb the stairs from outside. Oh and a sanity saver for us; movies. We have the Itouch. We downloaded several Mickey Clubhouse shows and it keeps him busy the entire time.
K.E. answers from Duluth on May 13, 2009
My 22 month old daughter has now been on over thirty five flights with me. On at least a dozen of them, I had her by myself. What has been one of my best baby purchases is GoGo Babyz-travel mate. It is a set of wheels that attach to most convertible car seats (it works great with our Britax Decathalon). The wheels are good quality and can take a beating. The handle is long, sturdy, and retractable. I even attach my carry on to the handle to reduce my load. My daughter likes it so much, that 90 per cent of the time we don't need to take a stroller, because, she prefers to ride in her "special chair". Because of this, I did track down a sun shade canopy that attaches easily to her car seat, because that was the only real problem with using the car seat as a full time stroller, while traveling.
SECURITY: There are family lines at most every airport, which are prepared for testing any liquids you bring on for your son. As you probably know you are now allowed to take milk, juice, water, etc. for a little one. Anyway, if yours has one, use it, as other passengers can choose a different lane, if they don't have patience. As someone else advised, be prepared; have your liquids easily accessible, try to put things through the machine in the order that you need them on the other side. Take it one thing at a time. I leave my daughter strapped in until every thing else is done (including the mandatory removal of HER shoes). With the GoGo Babyz wheels attached, often the car seat won't fit through the machine. No big deal, TSA just hand inspects it and it's usually returned to me shortly after we walk through.
BOARDING: I have thus far, always gate checked the car seat (with a bag to protect it), and that was my biggest challenge: trying to wrangle it into the bag (after wheeling her down the jetway in it), while keeping her from wandering. You wouldn't have that issue since the car seat goes on with you. However, the width of your car seat vs. the narrowness of the aisle could prevent you from wheeling all the way to your seat. Can you carry the seat with son in it? If not, I'm sure someone (flight attendant, gate agent, fellow parent passenger) would help carry the seat while you carry your son.
If you decide the GoGo Babyz won't work for you, another convenient option is a car seat back pack carrier. Carrying whatever you can on your back is always a good tip when traveling with baby. And if your husband or someone is available to accompany you to the gate, the escort pass is a great idea. In our travels, that has not been an option the majority of the time.
Best of luck, and happy travels. :-)
L.M. answers from Iowa City on May 13, 2009
When we were at the Las Vegas airport they had a separate security line for persons with disabilities and families. This was great because there weren't many people there and you could take your time going through the line, without someone behind you being in a big hurry. If you are traveling from a larger airport you might want to see if they have this feature.
N.R. answers from Des Moines on May 13, 2009
If you call the airline ahead of time they can have someone assist you when you arrive at the ticket counter. An airline employee can put everything on a cart, push it thru security, and walk with you to the plane.
B.D. answers from Lincoln on May 13, 2009
Try putting him in a hip hammock (target/walmart) or some kind of backpack carrier! Putting the carseat in the seat of the stroller and the bags in the seat or something.
I think they let me keep my little one in the carrier while I walked thru the metal detectors and stuff.
A. answers from Minneapolis on May 13, 2009
I know you're not planning to check the car seat, but consider getting a bag for the seat that has backpack straps. (what a great idea below to use the car seat straps like backpack straps too!)
My experience flying alone has actually been that other travelers are very patient and willing to lend a hand, much more so than when my husband is with me. Try not to stress, and strike up a conversation with those around you and be sure to show off how darling your son is. ;)
A.N. answers from Madison on May 13, 2009
You can (and should) check the carseat. It will count as one bag, so depending upon which airline you are using, it may cost extra, but it's worth it. I've done it both ways, and even with help, it's a big pain to lug around a car seat. The suggestion of a hip carrier is a good idea, or something like it. You said it's a small stroller, but you will have to gate check it anyway, so I would be sure that it has enough basket room for whatever bags you are carrying on. Good luck on your first solo run!
B.F. answers from Duluth on May 13, 2009
As crazy as this sounds, I am getting ready to travel alone with my 23 month and 3 month old together! I have been very nervous at the prospect, but I called my airline, and they said that they can give us a gate/escort pass so that my husband can still come with us through security and help with the kids until we get on the plane...they can let someone you know meet you at the gate at your destination too! I think it will be great, because I could use the extra hands and eyes! I don't know if your hubby has time to do that even though he isn't flying, but you may have a friend willing to help out if he can't? I'd call your airline and ask, I think it will be my saving grace!
J.O. answers from Wausau on May 13, 2009
Has anyone suggested a child's "harness"? I loved that silly little thing when my son was at the "running off" stage. Ours was a cuddly little monkey backpack with a tail that clipped on like a leash. He couldn't get more than 3 feet from me! I used it primarily when his safety was a concern; i.e. walking alongside our busy streets or at the county fair.
In the airport, if you have extra time between gates, use those moving walkways whenever you can. You get a little rest, you can set some stuff down while your on them, and kids of all ages LOVE them.
Bungee cords or extra travel luggage straps are a good idea too. We actually strapped everything to the stroller and rolled through the airport like that.
M.R. answers from Madison on May 13, 2009
You will need to gate check your stroller, so you can keep him in it until you get on the plane. I would use a bigger stroller that the car seat can be locked onto if you have one since you can hang most of your bags onto that. I would recommend using a backpack if possible. Lands' End makes a great diaper bag backpack which I have used to travel several times with my daughter. Give your son some time to run once you get to your gate, then he'll hopefully have run off some steam before you get on the plane. You can handle it, just make sure you test out carrying everything you'll have to get through the airport with so you know it's manageable before you get there. Most airports have curb side check in so you won't have to carry your suitcases into the airport at all, and they can give you the gate check tags you'll need for your stroller and car seat. The hardest part will be re-assembling everything after you get through security.
D.P. answers from Minneapolis on May 12, 2009
I have traveled twice with my son, once at 13 months once at 15 months. My recommendation would be to check the car seat as luggage (or rent one if you are getting a rental car) and try to condense any small bags into one backpack. I also bought a little leash that is attached to a backpack so he could run around a little but not go too far (and I could stash extra snacks in his own backpack). I would also try to wear a light weight coat (if you need one) and take it off before you go through the line. Slip on shoes help too! I didn't even take a stroller because I borrowed one when I got there. I hope this helps. People in line were pretty helpful, as well as security people. Both trips went very well!
S. answers from Minneapolis on May 13, 2009
I traveled solo a lot with my daughter (still do but she's six now). I think the best advice I can add is to be as organized as you can through security...have your liquids ready to come out, computer if you travel with it. It's stressful and i have found not very many people willing to help a struggling mom...most just tend to heave a heavy sigh and act annoyed but don't worry about them...just do things one thing at a time and don't worry about the people standing behind you. Unless it's someone with a purse or one briefcase, it might be nice to let them just pass in front of you. I will add that there were only a handful of times I used a "leash" with my daughter. When she was a toddler at the airport and at the MN State fair. I figured my daughter's safety was far more important than any funny looks or comments (yes people commented on the leash). Good luck...oh I thought of one more thing. Try not to go through at naptime. They will make you take your son out of the stroller, obviously, and you much rather have the baby sleep on the plane :-).
K.T. answers from Madison on May 13, 2009
Having flown many times alone with my now three year old daughter - the simplest advice is to take as little as possible. Except maybe for diapers and extra clothes, you'll need less than you think, and the extra stuff will just be more to deal with. If you need the car seat where you're going - you can check it, it doesn't have to be on the plane with you. If you'll be travelling a great deal, there are various options for airline car seats that have handles for strolling and are also safety rated for cars. We also has something called go go kidz I think which bolted onto the frame of her car seat, turned it into a stroller. One Step Ahead has both items if you're intrigued. A glue stick and scrap paper were the best toys I ever brought on the plane. Those magazines can help make great collages. Good luck!