Flying with the kids

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Vstarr's picture
Joined: 04/08/08
Posts: 895
Flying with the kids

Has anyone flown with your kid(s)? DF & I are planning on flying to Miami over Labor Day to go see my 93 yr old grandmother. I'm so excited for her to see them again, it's been over a year since we were there last, and I'm super excited that she will get to meet my DF. I think she will love him as much as I do :).

Anyways, it is a 2 hour flight, so not too long. But the thought of navigating the Atlanta airport with the 2 kiddos is not fun, and I wouldn't even be considering it if he wasn't flying with us. Luckily MIA is a much smaller airport and that won't be bad at all. Any suggestions on getting through the airport, then tips for the flight? Do I need to bring their carseat and booster seat on board the plane for them to ride in? I will definitely be purchasing a seat for Lucas, even though he could technically ride in my lap. I don't see him staying in my lap for 5 min, much less a full 2 hr flight.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

You'll be fine. I flew to Costa Rica with Adair (two 3+ hour flights with a 3 hour layover in between!) all by myself a couple of months ago, with her on my lap, and we did just fine! It wasn't even remotely relaxing, but we got through it happy, alive, and with very minimal whining or drama. With a much shorter flight, two parents, and seats for everyone, you'll do just as well if not better!

Things I did that helped a lot:

-New books (from the used bookstore) and new cheap toys (not too loud or messy) to keep her interest. One of those little magnetic fishing toys I grabbed on a whim was a HUGE hit. Also a new coloring book, etc.

-Wore her in the Ergo instead of trying to navigate the airport with luggage AND a stroller

-Went to a grocery store that has bulk foods and stocked up on small amounts of lots of different kinds of snacks

-I tried audio books, but Addy wouldn't tolerate wearing the headphones. Your DD might be old enough for that, though...if you have a smartphone, you can do a free trial of audible and download two books for nothing Smile

-PACKED LIGHT. The worst part is dealing with all the STUFF and kids at the same time. I packed like three outfits for ten days and just kept doing laundry.

Good luck!

CamelNoodle's picture
Joined: 07/28/04
Posts: 908

You can bring carseats on the flight, it's a good idea if they will need them at their destination. I know that Florida law says kids in Taxi's have to be in carseats.

Boosters are not to be used on the airplane, they won't allow it. (Boosters need the shoulder belt anyways).

You'll be fine with a 2 hour flight and two adults. Easy-peasy!

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

Oh, one fact to be aware of: if you DON'T want to bring the car seats on the plane, you can check them for free. They're considered medical equipment and don't count against your baggage totals. Smile

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Personally I would bring a car seat for Lucas, but my son would never ever sit in the airplane seat and it would make for a miserable ride with him. Where with a car seat, he'd be strapped down and not climbing on the seats. Wink

I've only flown once with Aiden and he was much smaller, so I"m not very helpful!

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

I've flown with Teagan twice now. Once at 5 weeks and again at 15 months. Both were challenging for different reason but neither was the nightmare I was expecting. A two hour flight should be cake. Just bring snacks and a few new compact toys and they'll be good to go. I went with LOUD and blinky electronic toys. Teagan doesn't have any at home so they're a complete novelty to her and hold her attention for a long time. You might think they'd annoy the person nearby but planes are so loud that people nearby can't hear them. I personally wouldn't go with crayons for on the plane because I can just imagine spending all my time retrieving crayons from under the seats. They'd be great for the airport though. Check and see if there is an indoor play area in the terminal you're leaving from. They had one in Houston (or Dallas? in TX for sure) and it was a life saver when our connecting flight was delayed.

Having a seat for Lucas will make things a lot easier. I totally get why they require 2+ to have seats. It was hard enough dealing with a 15 month old on my lap for a flight. I can't imagine doing it now with Teagan. One of us wouldn't make it out alive. We took T's carseat on our recent trip and gate checked it. Some things I learned about bringing carseats:

1) Yes, they're free to check with luggage, gate check, or bring to your seat.

2) Gate checking or bringing it to your seats will cause less wear and tear because they won't go through the under belly of the airport and get thrown around nearly as much. You will have to haul them with you though. Hauling a seat and a 15 month old by myself (on the way back) was a huge PITA. Its not so much the walking around. I borrowed a car seat travel bag from Sara but my giant car seat ended up not fitting so I got THIS STRAP and just hooked the seat onto my rolling carry on. Easy as pie and cheap. I didn't put Teagan in the seat when carrying it (like you see in the picture) and I would not recommend doing so. Its a little unwieldy but gets the job done. The difficulty comes when you have to run it and your luggage and yourselves through security and then getting it onto the plane. In order to get it to your seat you'll likely need to lift the car seat over the seats. I needed help to do that because I couldn't deal with Teagan, pull my luggage, and use both arms to lift the seat. Yes, its safer to fly in a properly installed car seat but, personally, I will not be flying with a car seat again. I'm either going to check it with my luggage and just deal with the consequences or send the one I have to my mom and buy a new one.

3) DO NOT expect the flight attendants to know anything about how to put a carseat into the plane seat. They were absolutely useless. I wasn't intending to bring the car seat to my seat but there was an empty seat next to me so I decided to do so. Since I hadn't planned to do it, I didn't read my seat's instructions and had to figure it out with 3 flight attendants (and Teagan) yelling at me to hurry up. Make sure you know how to do it ahead of time and ask for two seat belt extenders immediately. You might need them.

4) I could not have brought a stroller because I was traveling back by myself. I simply could not have managed a carseat, a rolling carry on, a diaper bag, a stroller, and a toddler by myself. Since you'd have two kids, two carseats, and all the accompanying carry on bags, a stroller might just make things more complicated. I'm also fairly certain you can't bring double jogging strollers. So, if that was your plan you'll have to check into it.

Honestly, its not the kids I'd be worried about. They'll be fine. Just try your hardest to reduce the amount of crap you're lugging around and come up with an easy way to manage everything.

Vstarr's picture
Joined: 04/08/08
Posts: 895

Thanks for all the tips! Especially about the carseats. I'm tempted to want to check it and just be w/o it on the plane, I hadn't even considered having to carry it around the airport and then maneuver it around on the plane. Will they Lucas sit in a seat w/o it? Will they allow my DD to sit w/o one as well?

I guess they will let you take snacks on the plane in your carry-on? For some reason I was thinking they wouldn't allow food through security, but maybe that just applies to liquids. Snacks are definitely one thing that keeps them happy. I love the idea of going to the bulk section and getting small amounts of some different things for them, they will love that! I also think I need to search the toy store for something fun and new (and hopefully cheap!)

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

They don't require car seats on planes, however there are STRICT rules about what they can or can't be strapped into during takeoff and landing, so I'd look into your airline's specific rules on that. Should be easy to look up on their website. I agree 100% with reducing what you have to carry as much as possible...that is definitely the biggest issue when traveling with little kids. Snacks are no problem to bring on the plane--just no liquid. I brought her sippy and just filled it from a water fountain once we got through security.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

Hey--just came across this. I don't know if you have already bought your tickets, but FYI!

Be aware that you may be able to get your child a reduced priced seat by contacting your airline directly. Many airlines now offer discounts of up to 50 percent for lap baby-aged passengers, so don't be afraid to ask.