I live four provinces over from my family so consequently, I have been faced with the challenge of flying with children. I have had a few good flights (meaning, one or two hours out of four that are reasonably peaceful) and a few flights which were challenging meaning it were moments of peace and one flight that haunts me still, you can read about that flight here and here and tomorrow I will add the last of that story then admit myself to the nearest psych ward for therapy to eliminate any memory of that trip. However, I have come up with a few things that swing the pendulum to my side since that haunts me. Here are my tips.
- The last time I flew I had Sunshine (2.5) and a child under 1. I had to pay for a seat for her so chose to bring my car seat on the plane for her and Joyful to use alternately. My problem was how do I get two children a car seat and a stroller through security and to the gate and then from the gate to the baggage claim by myself. So this is what I did, I put the car seat into an umbrella stroller (this worked because there was not tray in front) then I brought my trusty webbing with a clip as shown here to hold the stroller to the car seat placed Joyful in the car seat and buckled her in with the car seat restraint. Worked like a charm and the personal at the airport where all commenting on the idea. Then I had Sunshine wear a clever monkey back pack with a long tail for me to hold (I found this at Wall-Mart) I put my back pack on and off we went. I had to take apart the stroller contraption at the security but it was completely worth having the car seat on the plane because: on to number two.
- The advantage of having a car seat on the plane is you have an extra set of hands so you only have to hold only one child. The thing about airplane seat belts is that children can get them off easily and they can so they do. It is my theory that the because children are used to being stuck in the car seat they will stay there content longer then if they are in the airplane seat, besides they can see out the window better because they are higher up. However, the air plane seat belts are big and pushing them through the back of the car seat requires effort. ( So Ask for help) Stewardesses are not always the most helpful but they will help if you ask them too so don’t be afraid to ask. They can hold a child; contain your toddler to the area while you get the seat in place.
- If the weather requires coats pack them when you get to the airport by leaving space in your luggage or what I do is pile them together and strap them into a car seat (I had two children remember so two car seats) The car seat will be put into a plastic bag so it’ll be contained, just make sure there is nothing in the pockets that you will need on the plane. This way you are not dealing with keeping track off all this stuff and the bulk of coats on the plane.
- Bring sippy-cups empty on the plane (less weight for you to lug around and have the attendant pour the water into the cups when you get on the plane. (I don’t choose sugar beverages less chances of them sleeping and more chances of making them hyper) and bring a few snack of course.
- Bring as little as possible on the plane but do bring activities, be creative I stapled a 4×4″ book of blank paper together for coloring with a few crayons, a small book and small doll with a piece of cloth, remember if you have the monkey back- pack that is a toy as well. You are smart momma’s you know what your children will like.
- Have your luggage labeled before you get to the air port there is plenty of adrenaline rushing through your veins with out adding this simple task and when you get to the airport pick up the address labels for your return flight home and if you have not sworn off flying with children extras for your next trip.
- A child carrier is also a great item but if you are bringing a stroller anyway you might as well use it.
Well, these are the biggies; please if you have other ideas that I have not thought of, let me know. I will be flying again with children. And you happen to see a mother at the air port with her girls trying to keep it together think of how you might be able to help her it could be me. This Works For Me and if you have a chance come visit tomorrow, I will be sharing the last part of my story, “The flight that Haunts me Still”