4 Quick Tips for an Easier Day at the Airport
Flying with children isn't as easy as flying alone, but it doesnt have to be miserable either. Here are 4 easy tips to help:
Ditch the Glamour diaper bag
The last thing any parent traveling with a child (or several kids) needs is a shoulder bag. Let’s just take a second to be honest with ourselves. Is it practical? No. You are going to be wrangling a small wildebeest all day and every time you bend over or speed walk, a shoulder bag is going to fall down. Consolidate all of your stuff into a backpack. You can easily manage a backpack, wearing a baby, pushing a stroller and an additional roller bag if totally necessary.
Babywear through TSA and while boarding/deplaning
I will say this in almost every post I ever make about flying with a baby/toddler. Wear your kid. I know that some of you want to put your child in a stroller and I think that’s a great idea AFTER the TSA checkpoint and before boarding. You will be required to take them out of the stroller, fold up the stroller and send it through the machine….oh and you’ll have to be able to pull your liquids out, take your shoes off, take out the computer, etc. The whole process will be much easier if you have the baby in the carrier, have the stroller already folded and have your hands free to manage your other items. You will not have to remove the baby to go through security. I repeat: you will NOT have to remove the baby from your soft carrier to get through security. It just makes sense to do it this way and all the people in line will thank you. For boarding, you will have to leave your stroller folded at the door of the airplane, so again, being hands free will be a life saver.
Talk to the gate agents at your departing gate:
Before I start, I want to say that this does not always work and just because you have a baby or child with you does not give you any special treatment over other passengers.
Ok, now that I said that, let me say this. People have a tendency to want to help parents with small children who are traveling. I always try to speak with a gate agent to see what seats are available on the flight. I have been able to get an extra seat for my “infant in arms” several times. (bulk head seats are best) Even when she refuses to sit in her own seat, the extra space is amazing. You won’t know what is available if you don’t ask, so try to make it to your gate before boarding and speak kindly to the gate agents.
Do your best to make pre-board:
Some airlines such as Delta, Jet Blue and Southwest offer a pre-board to parents with small children/babies who need extra time. I ALWAYS take advantage of this. Why wouldn’t you? You will be able to get on the plane while it’s empty, so there will be no bumping into everyone and the seat next to you will be empty, so your baby can sit there while you get organized. You will have time to go through your bag and pull out what you want (toys, snacks, iPad, lovey) and get your items returned to overhead storage. If you decide to bring a car seat onto the plane, this preboard will be crucial to your sanity and being able to get the car seat installed without a mental breakdown. One thing to note about pre-board: since you are getting on the plane first, you will be on the plane for a decent amount of time before departure. Be prepared to entertain your child during this time. [American Airlines will allow families to preboard if you request it at the gate]
As always, we love your feedback, questions and additional tips! Please comment below or contact us!
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