Friday, January 4, 2008

Flying Tips again!

Later this month I'll be flying to Utah with my 15 mos old, to visit one of my best friends and her brand new baby! I'm really excited. However, this will be my first time flying with a child EVER! I'm a little nervous. I know we talked about this once before, but I was wondering if anyone had specific tips for flying with toddlers. (Linz, you're a pro at this by now, so I'm counting on you!) The part I'm the most worried about is entertaining her on the plane. Unless she's really tired, she's not much of a snuggler. She is BUSY! So I don't know how she's going to like sitting on my lap for several hours. I also wonder about the smoothest way for getting through the airport, security, etc. I'm thinking of just packing a big diaper bag for our only carry on, so I don't have too many things to juggle. I just know it can be crazy getting through the airport period, let alone with a toddler. Are people sympathetic to that??? A couple of other random questions. Have you ever had to check a carseat? I might have to, if no one out there has one I can borrow. Is that a pain? And do they have milk on planes??? Lol, that sounds dumb, but all I ever see is water, juice, and pop! Help please!!! Feel free to give as many tips as you want, even if they sound silly!


Claire said...

They do have milk on planes... though I believe its 2% not whole. As for entertaining... Cecelia also is a busy little girl, so I take lots of toys and treats, and I always try to get a window seat because Cecelia loves to look out the window. Then I just pray that the people sitting next to us like babies, because Cecelia loves to interact with the people around us. On the way out here to Nebraska she was flirting with the guy in the row behind us! This time, I brought my stroller to the airport and checked it at the gate. I don't know why I haven't done that before! It was so nice to hang my diaper bag on the stroller, and to not be carrying Cecelia through the airport. Some people are sympathetic to travelers with children, but unfortunately there are also those who find you a huge inconvenience.

Liz&Meg said...

I always try to get an aisle so I can get up and down easily. And pray for an empty seat next to you! We always take our umbrella stroller and gate check it. I check my carseat (it's a free bag on NWA! maybe others?) and it's so easy! They just wrap it up in a bag. A lot of people take it to the gate just in case there's a free seat they can use it in but ours is way too bulky for that!

Security, just take your time! Don't let people rush you! I have found that even when they toss out my water bottles, they don't touch her milk cups. They are usually don't even say a word about her sippy! So you may even be able to get liquid through for her without worrying about getting on the plane.

Entertainment, we watch DVD's on our computer, coloring books (is she old enough for that yet?) stuff like that. Lots of little toys like happy meal toys that you wouldn't care if they fell on the floor and rolled away! :) We had a long wait at the terminal (I'm a little neurotic about being early) and she has one of those backpack "leashes" and it was wonderful because I left the stroller with Dad, and she ran around everywhere getting her wiggles out BEFORE we got on the plane! Good luck! Don't worry if she screams, everyone has lived through it and everyone will survive! And you'll never have to see them again! :)

Linz said...

Sounds like we have girls with similar temperaments. My girl is VERY busy and our latest flight went so well. I've done it alone a few times although I certainly prefer it when my husband is there!

If you bring a stroller, you can gate check it and use it all the way up to walking on the plane. You can also skip the entire security line with the stroller just as someone with a wheelchair would. Strollers really help with coats and carry-ons too. The only bummer is lifting it onto the security belt. Milk cups are generally allowed. I bring lots of snacks, crayons, books, anything. If I'm alone, I try to be one of the first people on the plane so I have space and time to get my toys out, put them in the seat pocket, and even have diapers and stuff handy. My daughter likes pushing the light button on and off...whatever works!! She will only sleep generally when in her crib, but sometimes all that noise at take-off puts her to sleep at least for 20 minutes which is a nice bonus. Bring a pacifier, sucker, or cup for take-off in case the altitude affects her ears.

Liz&Meg said...

FYI, I have never been given the privilege of skipping the security line! That may only be at some airports-but I'm gonna ask next time! :) You're lucky, Linz!

Claire said...

Me either with the security line... maybe I'll ask tomorrow. That would make everything SOOOOO much easier!!

kristi said...

I am not so sure about the milk cup being allowed. I think that only breast milk and formula are allowed. However, what I do is bring a empty sippy cup with me so that I can pour what they give me on the plane into that and prevent spilling. Definitely bring a stroller and don't worry about checking your car seat it is no big deal. However, if when you get it at baggage claim and it is damaged tell the airline immediately so that they can pay you for a replacement.

Jen said...

I don't take my stroller with me because I usually don't have room for it when I get to my destination, but if you have room it is handy. However, in Detroit I don't think they are very accomidating to you with strollers. I felt like it was too much stress for me personly. I just use my sling which is a life saver. I keep her on me till I have all my bags and shoes off and in a tray. Then I take off her shoes and her out of the sling. It works out really well for me. By the way I try to use one big diaper bag to limit the amount I have to carry through the airport. Just remember to take out your ID and put it in your pocket so you don't have to dig when going through security. I don't take any liquids with me. They told me in Detroit that you can, they just make you drink it. I just don't want the hastle at the time. I pay for a drink when I get through.

As for entertaining. My child is just like yours as you know. The best thing for Jaelyn at Skylers age was play money in a purse. That is the thing that I was waiting to get Skyler for Christmas. I can't find any here. Last Christmas she played with the money almost the whole time we were on the plane. She just might drop it on the floor, so be ready to pick it up. Another thing is stickers. Stickers work great. She would take them off the paper and place them all over. It kind of made a mess, but kept her quiet. I also pack a little bag inside my big bag that she can pull all of the stuff out. She loves to pull things out of purses and bags.

Also make sure to have crackers or something for her to chew on or drink during take off and landing. I usually use gold fish, just because she loves them.

Tiffany said...

I check my car seat all the time and nothing happens to it...although they make you sign a waiver that says if its lost they'll replace it, but they're not responsible for damage. At least that's Southwest's policy. Nothing has ever happened though, so...I don't worry about it.

Security is always a hassle and its the worst if you're traveling without your husband...but doable. I always bring a stroller just because my baby weighs a million pounds and I don't want to carry her. :) And its never a hassle to check it at the gate, you just have to talk to the ticket agent at the gate and they'll tag it for you.

If you're not flying Southwest and you have an assigned seat I recommend waiting until the very last moment to get on the plane (more time for your child to run around and get the energy out and less time to be cramped on an airplane)...but that's just my personal preference.

If you are flying Southwest, you have to get on early or else you don't get a good seat. I always like to check with the ticket agent to see if there are empty seats on the flight, because if there are, I just put my baby in a seat next to me and no one ends up taking that seat. It's nice. Also, (and this has worked for me 100% of the time that I've flown on a not full flight) I ALWAYS go to the very back row of the airplane. The reason for this is that no one ever bothers to go that far back...they take the closest seat to the front. Every time that I have sat in the back row I have had the ENTIRE ROW to myself and my baby. It RULES. The downside of this is that you're the last one off the plane...but I usually spend all of that time cleaning up my baby's stuff anyway. Anyway, I know that lots of people like to sit in the very front with their that's just what I do.

When you go to the airport, lots of airlines require you to show the baby's birth certificate to prove that they are under 2 years its nice to remember to bring that, just in case. Also, you need to check in with a ticket agent (not the e-ticket line) so that they can write up a boarding pass for the baby. These people in front of me forgot to do that last time and then they got to the front of the security line and had to go back...that's no fun.

I've always been allowed to bring liquids for my baby. I just have to take it out of my bag and put it in the security bin and no one has ever questioned me on it.

I definitely agree that you need to bring something for the baby to suck on for take off and landing. also, sometimes I go to DI or the Target dollar section and get a new toy the day before we leave so that my baby has something new to play with when we fly. Also, when she has her own seat, I buckle her in and pull down the tray and she loves playing with toys on the tray or eating snacks off of it. It is a great distraction from wanting to move around.

sorry that was so long. we've flown a lot this year and that's what I've learned. Also...pray hard. :) Good luck! :)

P.S. If your child just screams the whole time...just remember that all of the people on the plane used to be babies too...and they probably did the same thing. It makes you feel a little bit better.

Jen L said...

I am a big supporter of bringing a stroller! We take an umbrella stroller and not only does it keep me from carrying MM everywhere, but it provides a nice place to hang coats/purses/anything else, so I don't have to lug everything around the airport. You just get a tag for it, and leave it at the designated place near the door to the aircraft.

One thing that entertains MM the most are the people sitting behind us! This last time, she loved to stick her head between the seats and try to get them to smile. Also, don't be afraid to get up and let her run up and down the aisles while flying. That helped when MM became a little too spirited!

I'm still nursing, so I'd always feed her during take off (to help with the ears) and more often than not, nursing along with the rumble of the plane lulled her into a nice nap for most of the flight :) (we weren't always lucky).

Another thing we do is bring lots of snacks and wrap her toys in wrapping paper. She loves to unwrap gifts, so this just adds more time to her being occupied and then she can play with the paper (which sometimes she likes better than the toy :) ).

On our last flight however, Margaret cried the last 20 min (felt more like 90) because she was sick and her ears hurt. Let me tell you, I tried everything to get her to quiet down (it was a late flight too... didn't take off until 10:30pm because of delays, so everyone wanted to sleep). I felt horrible, and I'd just say outloud "I wish mommy could help your ears" hoping that people around me would hear and realize that she was in pain and not just crying to cry (I was pretty flustered at that point!). But I realized #1 there are quite a few people that will help (I found more men helped me instead of women when I have flown w/o hubby) #2 that's just a chance people have to take when flying... that there will be little kids and that's it's a necessity for there to be kids on the plane. So I try not to worry about how upset I get when MM is full of energy. It's not her fault, and the people book transportation, not a hotel. (how else do they expect us to go see family? the parents take the plane and send the kids UPS?) #3 I'm never going to see any of those people again. So even if it is a rough flight, in a minute it'll be forgotten.

Oh, and airport security has changed a lot. They no longer make the mom test drinks for kids (or at least that's supposedly the new rule). And I've never had any problems. It's lightened up a bit (even in dtw). And, quite a few times at DTW I got to skip the line for security which was really nice. Security is the hardest thing for me... but that's when I turn around to the person behind me and ask for help. They want to get through quickly too, so more often than not they are willing to help. I learned this tip 4 flights too late :)

The Schacher Family said...

I haven't read everyones responses to your question but here is mine. You can bring milk through security now and they do serve it on the plane. It is 2% but my doctor said that it's not a big deal for children to have 2% milk so don't worry about that. Where is Utah are you coming to? It's easy to check a car seat but if you don't want to I am in Orem and could let you borrow one if that is close to where you are going. I have done the check the stroller at the gate thing but this past trip we had to leave it because of the timing between our flights. Luckly it was our cheap one. But it is nice to have a stroller with you. With Cedric we get some new toys from the dollar store and bring them on the plane so he has new things to do and it is more exciting. He has been really good on all our trips and he is a very busy little boy.

Claire said...

Another thing that I like to do is get Scott to give both Cecelia and I a blessing before we leave. If nothing else, it give me the strength and peace of mind that I need to travel alone! I'm not a huge fan of flying without Scott, so getting a blessing really, really helps me!

Stephanie said...

Thank you so much for all of your tips! You have painted an excellent picture for me, for what to expect, and it helped to decrease my anxiety! Susan, that's so nice of you to offer the carseat. Are you sure about that??? I feel like that's way too big of an offer to accept! The friend I'm coming to visit though actually lives in Orem too, so she could come and pick up the carseat before picking me up at the airport. I would feel weirder if I didn't know you from the good ol LC days, but I still feel funny taking advantage of your offer. Email me at and we can chat about it more. Thanks!

The Schacher Family said...

I don't mind the carseat thing at all! We have two now because the our luggage didn't make it back to the airport when we did over Christmas and they gave us one for free to get home! You can have your friend call me and we can make arrangements for her to pick it up. My number is 801.427.4677. It really is no big deal so don't feel bad!

Jules said...

AUGH! Flying with kids! Mine are a little older (the oldest ones, anyways...) but take a look at my latest post on my blog and pray you have a better flight! I am sure you will! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!

Bethany said...

I just flew yesterday with Claire and a tube of mini M&Ms and a box of Nerds saved me. I felt bad feeding her candy whenever she got a little fussy, but they're so small and I gave them to her one at a time so she didn't end up with too much sugar. I feel for you. Flying with a child at that age just stinks, no matter what.