Flying Alone with 2 Kids!

Updated on August 30, 2010
T.C. asks from Detroit, MI
17 answers

Hello Ladies,

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for flying alone with two kids. My kids are 3 yrs and 16 mos old. I am bringing both of their car seats and I have paid seats for both. I have no other family helping me. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions about how I can carry our luggage and car seats through the airport. I know it sounds crazy! But any helpful suggestions would be great! I was thinking of putting my son (16mos) in the umbrella stroller and making my daughter walk. My carry-on I would wear as a book bag. I still have two car seats that I don't have extra hands for! :))

Thanks so much!

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answers from St. Louis on

You need to get extra help from the airport staff or from a friend or realtive for the take-off and arrival at the airport. Porters and baggage valets are at the airport for a reason.....they help anybody and everybody who needs it and you qualify for the help. Right at curbside at the airport, you can load luggage and anything that will go on the plane and have them help you check it in right there. If you have one of them port the carseats or any other bags or strollers to the airplane gate, they will take it all there, and help you get it all on the plane with the flight attendants help. You need to ASK though. You tip the porters $1.00 per bag or large item that you have. It's a nominal fee for the amount of help you are going to get. These guys are good at what they do and they are there to help so please don't forget to tip them....take care of them. The only other thing you can do is have a "helper" friend or relative come to the airport with you and carry a kid or your items all the way to the gate and also meet you when you get off the plane. This will require getting a "gate pass" from the ticketing agent at the airlines desk and they also have to have proper I.D. and go through security with you. Either way, you are not 100% on your own and never should be. You also want to make sure you board the plane FIRST, before all other passengers and get your kids situated and in their seats. Once again...ASK for help from the flight staff...this is their job and they are more than happy to help you out. Happy travels and remember that if you don't have enough hands to do what you need to do...just ASK.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

If it were me, I would check at least one of the car seats. It isn't strictly necessary from a safety perspective and installing two in a row of three seats will be a tight and uncomfortable fit. It is considered an exception item on every airline I've ever been on. You can get zippered travel bags for carseats that have adjustable handles...long enough that you can wear it cross-body style...or drag it behind

Print your boarding passes from the website and use curbside check in to drop your bags before you even get inside.

Request an electric cart! They can pick you up right on the other side of security and take you right to your gate. If you decide to walk with your daughter, have something to tether her to is too easy to get separated in all the hustle and bustle.

Minimize your carry-ons as much as possible--use a backpack Clean shirts for everyone...plenty of diapers and wipes. When my daughter was small, I would pack diaper changing kits in ziploc bags. It made it easy to grab one out of the bag without having to take the whole diaper bag with me--not all planes have changing tables in the be prepared for that.

One of my daughter's favorite things is to color on me (and herself) with washable markers. She is old enough to understand this is something we only do on planes...and they wipe off easily ( with baby wipes. I break this out if she is getting restless in her seat belt during take off and landing when other activities are restricted.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

Use the skycaps!!! They will check you guys in curbside so there is no dragging luggage thru the airport, I think they can get the car seats to the airside for you so they are waiting when you get on the plane (call the airline and ask). Just bring a few bucks to tip them.

If you have a double stroller now would be the time to use it. That way both the kids are strapped in and you aren't trying to keep track of a wandering 3 year old or having her try to keep up. Airports are big with tons of people. You'll make yourself crazy trying to have her walk! If you only have the umbrella stroller, put the 3 year old in it and wear the 16 month old. They will check the stroller for you right as you board the plane-literally at the door of the plane.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

go to and type in car seat carrier. They sell some that you put the seat in, zip it up, and then the seat is on wheels. Yourdaughter could wheel ONE and you could wheel the other while you push the baby in the stroller. If you have the carry-on on your back (backpack) then you will have enough hands, as long as your 3 yr old stays RIGHT NEXT TO YOU.

The tricky part in my opinion is going potty. All three of you wll have to fit in the handicapped stall. And on the airplane, you may have to take your 3 yr old to the potty. Who will watch the baby? Be super-friendly to the people nearby and flight attendants and find someone who can keep an eye on baby. When I fly with my 2 yr old I just hold it (3 hour trip) so I don't have to leave him with a stranger. For the baby - put in a fresh diaper before you get on the airplane. THat way you won't (hopefully) have to change a diaper while on board.

As for luggage when you first arriveat the airport. Either check your bags at the curb, or have someone go in WITH YOU while you check your bags. That'll give you extra hands and extra eyes to keep on your kiddos. Or better yet, have your friend drive around the airport while you check your bags. Then they can pull up to the curb and drop of your kids and the car-seats and the strollers.

Waiting for the plane -- I brought a few balloons to the airport and then inflated them while we waited to board. Our airport was empty-enough that he could run and play with the balloon. We saved the toys and books and DVD player for the airplane ride.

Can you book the flight around normal naptime? That way, you won't have to entertain the kids while on flight, just monitor them and try yourself to relax.

Good luck. You can PM me if you have other thoughts or questions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

We did this once...but I had a car seat and an infant seat. We were able to strap a back-pack style thing onto the car seat so I could carry it on my back, and then I carried the infant seat in one hand and my daughters hand in the other....not sure what to do with two car seats, though, other than rent one of those carts to pile everything on. I hope someone offers you a good solution! Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Why are you paying for both their seats?? the 16 mos old can fly free, and if i'm not mistaken, the 3yo can (but maybe you need to keep them in your lap - maybe buy one seat?).

And my suggestion - call ahead and either rent one from a car rental place or buy one to use for the vacation from a resale shop and just expect to either return it for whatever they'll give you for it, or if it's less than the $50 ($25 each way) the airline is going to charge you to ship, you're better off anyway buying one where ever you're going.

I've done this, and it works fine for the duration, even if the seats aren't exactly what i would buy if i was buying for good.


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answers from Savannah on

I've done it too many times! I used my double stroller to push the carseats through the airport and my eldest walked. The little one sat in the front of the stroller with the carseats piled in the back. I use a leash anytime I have a little kid walking through an airport. As far as the bathroom, in the airport, I take the stoller and kids into a hadicapped stall with me. On the plane, I would put the baby in a sling or ask the flight attendant to hold her while I used the bathroom. Minimize your carry ons. The three year old can wear a backpack with some toys for the plane.

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answers from Washington DC on

If it was me(and luckily my carseats fold and have a carrying case) I would put my 16 month old is a carrier on me( i use ergo). Double strollers are wonderful though, but the good ones are expensive. You may be able to find a cheap on craigslist or at a consignment shop and then they tag it when you go on the plane. Then either ur two kids can ride in it or ur 3 yo can walk and you can set the carseats in the 2nd stroller seat

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answers from San Diego on

I've also seen a backpack thing to carry a carseat. but 2 carseats would be a new challenge! and you need a hand to keep tabs on the 3yr old in a crowded airport... maybe a backpack or handheld leash

If you have a rolling suitcase as carry-on, you can strap a carseat to it and make it like a stroller (there is a $15 strap called Traveling Toddler), just try it at home to make sure it works for you first.

Just last month I took my nearly 3yr and 18 month daughters and put the 3 yr old in the CARES harness--it takes up little space in her carry on/backpack. that way you could just be dealing with one carseat. Usually airlines do NOT charge to check a carseat as luggage.

Check ahead of time, but Ask the ticketing counter if they can give a security pass to a friend or family member to help you get to the gate. once you get there, flight attendants or other passengers can help you get the carseats to your seat.

Is anyone meeting you at your destination?

good luck!

P.S. look at the weights of your carseats--many are 20-25 lbs. Consider one like the Graco comfort Sport which is only 12 lbs-- that would make your load lighter!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

Two words - checked luggage. Since you have three paid seats you can check three separate bags with minimal to no extra fees, depending on the airline. So, combine all clothes etc into one large suitcase (yours) and check the two car seats - yes, car seats can be checked. There are baby car seat travel bags for sale or you can always use a heavy duty garbage bag and duct tape. At most, it's an additional $150.00 round trip (3 bags, @ $25/bag, each leg of trip) for your SANITY. Most standard sized bookbags can hold a dozen diapers, wipes, two sippy cups and books/small toys for the journey. You will have to plane-side check the umbrella stroller.

If possible, my other suggestion would be to ship the car seats to your destination prior to arrival.

I have flown extensively with my son solo since he was 2 mos. I attempted to do what you are planning once before. Once. This is an adventure for your kids (you too, but in a different way ;) ) - so do things to minimize the hassel for you and try to have as much fun as you can!

Oh - flip flops through security or slip on shoes are a must! Kids have to take their shoes as well!

I hope this helps! Happy trails!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I have traveled with both of my kids by myself before and it can be done! If you can, buy or borrow a backpack or rolling assembly that can attach to one or both of the car seats. This will help you carry them to the gate. I would also take a bigger stroller if you can and use the basket underneath for some of the stuff. Your older one can definitely walk (although it will be a slow stroll, so be prepared and go early!). You can gate check the stroller and they will have it there for you just outside the plane at your destination. I've never actually taken both carseats and I would say that you probably don't need to take your older child's seat onto the plane if you don't think you can carry it all. I just checked my daughter's seat and let her sit in the airplane seat with the seatbelt. She was just over 2 1/2 the first time I flew with both of them and my son was 2 months old. I've also gone when they were closer to your kids' ages and I just took my son's car seat on the plane and let my daughter sit in the airplane seat. That way, I only had to deal with getting one car seat to the gate (I borrowed an attachment from a friend that hooked onto the car seat that had wheels on it and made it like a rolling suitcase).

I hope you have a great trip! You would be surprised how helpful people can be when they see a mom with a couple of kids by herself. I've had lots of nice people help me on planes (I've traveled quite a bit with my kids since none of our family lives in our state). My daughter was even calling one nice lady "Grandma" by the end of a flight once...hahaha! Good luck and have fun!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I know this is expensive. But i would recommend checking at least one car seat and using the CARES Child Aviation Restraint System.
I bought this to use for my 2 year old. You may want to check with the airline. I bought it for my american airlines flight and they sell it on their website. There is also some contraption that attaches to the carseat and turns it into a stroller.
granted, both of those are expensive, but may be worth it.

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answers from Pocatello on

First i would just do curb side check in. Then you don't have to walk through the airport at all to check in or check any other bags. Then just ask for someone to help you to your gate. They will either take you down their on one of those little carts or they will just have someone carry your carseats down to your gate. I actually had a similar situation once and before I could even ask someone who worked there to help me a stranger came up and asked if he could help me to my gate. It was so nice of him to carry the carseat for me. :) Or if you have a double stroller you can put your 16 month old in the front and the stack the car seats in the back and have your 3 year old walk. You can still check a big car seat at the gate right before take off.

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answers from Charleston on

Hey! Don't carry the car seat for the three year old and possibly for the 16 mth old. I would check them both. You will likely need to hold the 16 mth old on your lap for take off and touch down, but s/he may be a little freaked out and want you to do that anyway. I did not bring car seats for them to ride in on the plane past 1 yr. They are just too hard to juggle in the airport and getting them installed onto the seats. Most airlines will check them through for free to your destination. I would recommend bringing a stroller to push at least the 16 mth old. If your umbrella stroller is tough, that one should be fine, but don't bring a super cheap-o one as they break pretty easily and may not do well in the process. I have flown several times with my older two solo, at these same ages. You'll be fine!


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answers from Dallas on

I would check the carseat for the 3 year old. Take a full size stroller with the 16 month old into the airport with the car seat strapped to it. It will be a pain getting through security, so get there plenty early. Take a backpack for anything you'll need on the plane...diapers, toys, snacks, your wallet/ID, money, etc. When you get to the gate you can check the stroller there. Take the one car seat for the 16 month old onto the plane, the 3 year old can sit in the regular seatbelt.

Biggest thing of all is to get to the airport early to eliminate that stress.

Good luck!

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answers from Macon on

You can always rent car seats from car rental places and there is a mommy site (can't remember the name) where you can rent both strollers and car seats! How long is the plane trip? I was wondering because I fly several times a year and the most important thing to bring is the snack and entertainment bag! The kids have to wait in the car on the way to the airport, at the airport, on the plane, and then on the way to the destination. Bring new toys! Keep in mind, that kids can be entertained by the most unexpected things! When I flew with my 16 month old, she was fascinated by the little plastic cup the stewards give you to drink out of! I poured a tiny bit of Sprite in there (a drink she never had) and she spent 45 minutes licking the cup and listening to it make that crackle noise! the 16 month old won't need as many toys as the 3 year old because the smaller child would be just as happy getting attention, singing songs, and so forth, whereas the older child needs "stuff" to do! By the way, my kid never wanted to walk in the airport as all those people made her a little uneasy. Why not get a double stroller that is not too expensive if it got "lost"?

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answers from Atlanta on

You've gotten a lot of help on this one. I've done what you're doing a few times. Other people tend to help a mom going it alone. I use something called "Go Go Babyz". It's a car seat carrier that you can pull around the airport like a stroller. I put my youngest on in the car seat strapped to the Go Go Baby carrier and took her all the way to plane side where I checked it. The other car seat I carried on my back or dropped off at the curbside check-in before parking. The older child helped immensely by pushing the stoller, etc. Another way is your largest stroller - lay your car seats on that to roll into the airport and check them there (they shouldn't charge you to check car seats). Have youngest strapped to your chest/back until you get rid of the car seats. Good luck! It can be done :-)

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