We've all been on a fight where someone's child is having a tantrum or simply won't stop crying. And at times, we may have become a bit aggravated by the situation. With the busy holiday travel season upon us, here are a few tips and tricks parents should know in advance when it comes to flying with children.
Step 1: Preparation is key
Start by choosing your seats when you book your flight. Not only will it ensure that you are sitting together, but it also allows you to decide where in the plane you and your child should sit. As a rule of thumb, it's generally better to sit toward the back of the plane so that if you need supplies or need to change your child's diaper, you won't have a long walk ahead of you. You may even want to consider buying an extra seat for the comfort and safety of you and your child.
Prior to your flight you'll also want to print your boarding passes at home so there's one less thing to worry about once you're at the airport. Also, make sure your diaper bag has a change of clothes, baby wipes, lotion, favorite toys and extra bottles. Having a bottle on hand during take-off and landing can help alleviate ear pressure.
Step 2: A seamless experience at the airport
Once you're at the airport, it's a good idea to check your bags so you don't have to worry about carrying them from gate to gate. At airport security, make sure to let the TSA officer know that you have liquids in your baggage. Baby formula, breast milk, food and medications don't fall under the Transportation Security Administration's liquid size restrictions.
After clearing security, consider purchasing a membership to the United Club if your airport has one. The club can be a quiet oasis that gives you time to feed and change your child in a private setting.
Step 3: Utilize pre-boarding benefits
Before boarding, make sure to ask a gate agent for a luggage tag for your stroller. That way, when it comes time to board, you can leave the stroller at the bottom of the jet bridge. It will also be waiting there for you when you exit the plane upon arrival.
Also, be sure to take advantage of pre-boarding. Parents with children under age two can board their flight after customers with disabilities and military service members in uniform. This will give you that much needed extra time to stow away items and get your child in their seat prior to takeoff.
Step 4: Don't forget about yourself
Once you take off and your child is settled, take a little time for yourself during the flight. Check out the great inflight food items that may be available for purchase or consider using your child's nap time to catch a movie or a TV show.
With just a little planning and preparation, you, too, can survive a holiday flight with your child in tow.