The Airport The airport can really be the place where you could quite possibly see your life flash before your eyes. The lines can be long and inevitably you will have your bags pulled aside and torn apart. On our very first trip with a 5 week old baby they actually patted the baby down and swabbed the baby carrier he was riding in. Seriously, don’t think it probably won’t happen to you because then it probably most likely will.
Always check your bags and make everyone who is “helping” you check their bags too. Pulling two bags alongside of you through the parking lot to the car after your trip is no big deal. Carrying two bags onto a plane and through an airport with a baby and stroller in your group? Big Deal!
Take your liquids, baby food, and breast pump out of the bag for security check. No, the breast pump isn’t a computer nor is it made of liquid, but in an effort to avoid the extra security check, take it out of the bag. Better yet, check it! The TSA agents will undoubtedly assume that you are carrying a bomb. The tiny baby on your body is no indicator for the possible machinery in your bag.
Leave the child in the stroller until the last possible moment. Then unhook ‘em, throw the stroller on the belt, and pray to God that they don’t pull your bags aside for an extra check.
Great news for you travelers who haven’t noticed lately, but kids don’t have to take their shoes off anymore when they go through security. I know! Whew! That makes it easy!!
I will say though, that as tough as I am being on security, they will never make you go through that weird x-ray machine thing that my husband thinks is an alien transporter, and they’re usually pretty good waiting for you as you manage everything.
Once you’re through security, you’re home free. For a while. Get your coffee and immediately transfer it to that to-go cup I mentioned, fill up your water bottle, and find someplace where you can let your kid run around.
That really awesome airline we all know about where you don’t have to pay to check your bags. Yeah, their terminal has stuff for the kids to do. Amazing!
The Airplane The airplane is really where you kick it up into ultra survival mode. The rest of the trip, so far, has been planned and there isn’t a whole lot that your kid or TSA agents can do to mess with it. This next part of your travel, the longest part of your day, could quite possibly be compared to an Improv show. It will be funny and there will be times when you won’t know what to say or do. Lets just say, you think you know your child until you get ‘em on a plane.
Always go to the bathroom and change your baby before you board the plane. No matter how much you think you’ll be ok, you’ll have to pee as soon as they tell you to buckle your seat belts. If you’re traveling alone, it’s perfectly acceptable to pee with a baby strapped to your body. You gotta do what you gotta do! Just think about it this way. Would you rather have people stare at you for taking your baby into the stall strapped to your body or stare at you for the post baby I-can’t-hold-my-pee wet pants?
Never board the plane when they call Family Boarding. You’ll be on the plane long enough without that extra 45 minutes, and with most airlines there’s assigned seating. Plus, your bag is so small it’ll fit under the seat in front of you remember? So, you don’t have to worry about the cargo area being full because you’re getting on last. Plus, if you think about it, it’s kind of fun to mess with everyone traveling with you. They saw you at the gate with your adorable child. They smiled. They asked how old he was. But they were secretly hoping you wouldn’t be sitting next to them. Let ‘em hang on ‘til the last minute.
Now that you’re on the plane, comfy in your seats, played a little game with everyone that found themselves with an empty row through most of boarding, it’s time to settle in. Do not, I repeat, do not give your child anything to play with or eat. Right now, everyone thinks he’s adorable. They love his little peek-a-booing, his clapping, his climbing over the seat. In about 20 minutes they will not. No adult actually wants to wave at your child for 2 hours. You don’t and you love them. Push every difficult moment til the last possible second and then bring in a little something to calm them down.
Never get a drink from the flight attendant unless your child is old enough to eat ice because that can be some good entertainment for a few minutes. This is why you have your coffee cup and water bottle. If you have a lap child you won’t be able to fold down the tray table anyway.
Beyond that, take out your toys and snacks after you’ve toughed out any small tantrums, pretend like you have to go the bathroom just to get up and walk around, and you’ll be fine.
Have you had a horrible flight experience? Tell us about it.