Chad and I flew with the youngest two kids to L.A last weekend for a photoshoot. It was both Locke and Croft’s first flight and our first time flying with kids in a long while. We did a few things right and we learned a few things.
What went well:
I got everyone their own seats, including Locke, even though he still could be considered a lap sitter. He was much happier in his own space (and so was I). Plus he needed his own suitcase, car seat and a carry on (diaper bag). I would have been paying extra for these items if he didn’t have his own ticket anyway.
I dressed everyone in layers. At first we were hot, and then it got cold. Luckily, we could put on our jackets.
Locke sucked on his binki during take-off (and the rest of the flight- who am I kidding?) I’ve read that sucking on something helps little ones ears to adjust to the altitude changes.
We brought the iPad and iPod. Locke’s favorites (toddler) are Sound Touch , Doodle Buddy and Peekaboo Barn. Croft (preschooler) loves Monkey Preschool Lunchbox and Toy Story Read Along. And in case you have older kids on the flight with you, Crew loves Cut the Rope and reMovem. While Elle’s favorites are Life and Unblock Me. (Don’t forget the earphones if you want to watch a movie or if the games are noisy.)
I also brought workbooks for Croft to work on. She loved her little fold down table.
I brought snacks (or eat this so you don’t cry food)- smarties, dum-dums, pretzels, and animal crackers- things that aren’t too messy. On the way home the flight only had peanuts so I was glad I had some pretzels stashed away for the kids.
We sat by the window. That provided its own entertainment and kept the kids legs and fingers out of the aisle.
What I learned:
Even babies have to take off their shoes when they go through security, so if you are alone or pressed for time or want to simplify the experience, have everyone wear flip flops or slip-ons. This will make the security line quicker and as easier.
Backpacks work better than totes for kids. They zip up so stuff doesn’t fall out when stowed under the seat in front and the kids can carry them around the airport themselves.
Sanitize the seating area before sitting down. This idea came to me after I saw Croft licking pretzel salt off the tray table. After squeaming, I wiped down the arm rests, buttons, and lap trays with a wipe.
Have more snacks then you think you’ll need. You’ll never know when there will be a delay. The rental car place took us almost an hour and it was right at lunch time. Luckily, some grandma could see my need and shared her fruit snacks with my kids.
See my Kids’ Airplane Etiquette post for airplane manners to teach kids while you are on the flight.
I will say that I am now converted to car road trips at least while the kids are this little. Between hauling all the luggage, car seats, stroller, bags, and bodies between check-in, security, gates, flight, baggage claim, and the bus ride to the rental car, Chad and I were both exhausted and glad to be home.