Trip Tips: Flying with Kids

Before You Go

  • When making your reservation, let the airline know you are traveling with an infant or toddler; they may try to block an open seat next to you for the car seat, if the flight loads permit. Also, most airlines sell half-price seats for toddlers under two, but may require proof of age if the child is close to two. This is also the time to request bulkhead seats so you can place the car seat on the floor in front of you and hold the baby during takeoff and landing.
  • A sling is a comfortable way to carry your infant on a plane trip. These over-the-shoulder baby holders keep baby close to your heart.
  • Bring extras of everything, including a change of clothes for you.
  • Use a backpack as your diaper bag/mommy carry, so your hands are free to grab your little runaway.
  • Reserve a child's meal when making reservations, or at least 24 hours before flight time.
  • Since you won't have tons of elbowroom on a plane, you may want to double-diaper an infant.
  • Strollers can be cumbersome in airports. Consider the "Hike and Roll" made by Evenflo. It is primarily a backpack, but easily converts to a sort-of stroller. In its stroller mode it is more like a suitcase on wheels, in that you cannot just let go of the handle. It has the flexibility of a backpack and "roller" and fits into the overhead compartment.
  • Ignore what other people think; the child "hand-holders" are wonderful to have in airports. One end is fastened on your child's wrist and the other is fastened around yours. Toddlers have freedom to roam without ever going far or getting lost.
  • Start preparing children with details of the trip in advance. Let your child know you will eat and sleep on the plane, may feel tired after traveling, and will be in a different location. Let him/her help with packing a carry-on, and then explain rules of the plane. This will aid in relaxing them and, hopefully, prevent running in the aisles!
  • When flying with an infant on an extremely long flight, buy powdered formula. You can mix it up as you need it so there is no need to refrigerate. Start before the trip, giving your child formula at room temperature rather than warming it up. On the flight, take bottled water for mixing the formula. Rinse the bottle in the hottest water possible or get disposable bottles.
  • Bring a mat to change the baby on in case the airline does not provide a facility. Take Ziploc bags for dirty clothes.
  • Bring LOTS and LOTS of liquid! The recycled cabin air will dry you out and the airlines never give you enough water (amazing, considering how popular and easy-to-get bottled water is these days!) .
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