5 Tips for Surviving A Flight With Young Children

62 Comments

Surviving-A-Flight-With-Young-Children

I’m not talking about trips with cute little babies that you feed and rock back to sleep. I’m talking about air travel with kids — the kind that walk, talk, and have the ability to make 45 trips to the bathroom in a three hour flight. If you’re heading on a family vacation anytime soon, here are some tips for surviving a flight with young children…

1. Pack an antihistamine. No, not for the kids; though if you want to drug your kids, I’m totally not judging you. The meds are for you, in the event that your kids are melting down and the flight attendants have not come by with the drink cart yet.

2. Never pre-board. This really isn’t hard to figure out;  you and your children are going to be trapped in a tiny metal object for hours — do you think you should add on some extra time? Just for fun? NO. You do not want to board until the last possible second. Trust me, they are not going to take off while you are buckling your kid. When other passengers are starting to board, you need to have your kids burn off some excess energy. Never to early to start some cross-fit training in the airport lounge.

3. Wear elastic waisted pants; all of you. You are going to be in and out of those seats so much, and eating so many damn pretzels and Cheez-its, Lycra is your new best friend. As cranky as your 6 year old is, they will be 10,000 times crankier in jeans. And if you thought going through security was bad before kids, try scrambling through with toddlers and electronic devices as hostile travelers behind you send their plastic tubs sailing into yours, trying to hurry you along. Do you think you have time for your 6 year old to start trying to tie his shoes? No- this is the only time Crocs are an acceptable choice of footwear.

4. Get aisle seats: If you can’t get them, beg the person on the end of your aisle to trade. I can pretty much guarantee they’ll switch seats, given that your kids are going to be climbing over them over 13.2 minutes to go to the bathroom. Speaking of which, if your kid is under five, chances are they are going to be scared shitless (see what I did there?) of what appears to be a device that dumps your poop and pee directly into the air below the plane. So you’re going to have to go in there with them. And it will not be pretty. When you spend ten minutes maneuvering your three year old over the toilet and then holding her over the toilet while she poops, your’e going to gain a brand new respect for anyone who joins the Mile High Club.

5. Bring wipes. Remember how excited you were when your kids were done with diapers? And how you stopped buying baby wipes? That was stupid. You need them. You are going to de-plane with the remnants of every snack and meal your child eats during the course of the flight stuck to your clothes and hands. Sticky? It will look like you dipped yourself in a Jolly Rancher batter and then breaded yourself with crushed peanut butter crackers.

By the way, you know how people say don’t worry about other passengers, they’ve all been through this? That’s a lie. You can see from the look of fear in other passengers’ faces as you board, the inability to make eye contact while they silently pray “please let that little boy keep moving down the aisle.” Trust me, if your kid is acting up (or throwing up), somewhere on that plane there’s a passenger cursing you. Can you really blame them?

Bon Voyage!

Comments

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  1. 3

    says

    I travel frequently with my two boys..5 & almost 2 and we are always the last on! I used to travel a lot before kids & I have vowed to NOT HAVE A SEAT KICKER! But Monday while traveling from Portland to Tucson, my little one & I were chatting, he wasn’t screaming, he was saying hi…albeit repeatedly, but the older gentleman (I use that word loosely) sitting one row up & across the aisle plugged his ear & shot me daggers! Seriously? I’ve been on flights with kids vomiting behind me & this guy is pissed because my kid is saying hi? WTH!!!

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    • 4

      Theresa says

      I would rather have a youngster wave and being happy at me on the plane. At least somebody is having a good time on a 13 hour flight. It really made my hubby and I miss our kids that much more.

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  2. 5

    says

    Yeah, not the greatest tips here, especially the pre-boarding one. If you fly swa you don’t have a seat assignment. We travel with her faa approved car seat, bring it on the plane, sit as far in the back as possible, and make sure to bring enough entertainment and snacks. Two flights per year for all 4 years of her life and we’ve never had a problem.

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  3. 7

    says

    I totally pre-board. I fly Southwest and my theory is, I’m going to get on the plane immediately and pick a row towards the back. Whoever chooses sits in front of me knows damn well they’re sitting in front of a toddler and can expect everything that is to be expected when flying with a toddler (though I typically get comments about how great my son is…. Except the one time he threw up a gallon of chocolate milk mid-takeoff on a six hour flight.)

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  4. 12

    says

    I’m sure when people see me get on the plane with my 3 kids, 11, 7 and 2 they are praying that we don’t sit near them LOL. They all do good well maybe the 2 yr old is seat kicker and doesn’t like to be buckled especially during takeoff and landing but its usually a really quick meltdown. LOL but really I have never really had a problem with them just lots of activities and lots and lots of snacks!!!!!!!

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  5. 13

    says

    Crap! First of all, boarding last leaves no room or your stuff cause all the lumps with their oversized bags have taken up all the room. In sorry, with a kid I’m not going to be checking in my bag that has all the toys in it. Second, my 2.5yo loves sitting in planes early, watching stuff outside and saying hi to people that are boarding. Never ever do I want to board last.

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  6. 14

    says

    Well pre-boarding doesn’t make sense if you have an assigned seat but Southwest doesn’t have assigned seats and if you don’t get on between A & B then your SOL finding seats together. My husband took our 7 yr old out east last weekend to see his parents and he was a high number in B and when they got on the flight attendant had to interfere because there were NO seats together by that point. And he said people were being jerks & not giving up/trading seats so they COULD sit together. Once the attendant interfered and made some people switch were they able to.

    So yes, I get pre-boarding(on the way back the airline let them get on via pre-boarding despite her age. He relayed to them what happened on the way out there). many parents can’t sit with their kids without it. Plus as long as you come prepared(snacks, books, coloring, DVD player w/headphones etc) you should be fine!

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    • 15

      mrs w says

      Without sounding snobbish we travel from the US to England often to visit family we have 4 children aged between 2 and 11 we travel first class whenever we can the extra space is a god send. Our two older children love the bigger seats and in flight entertainment we hear nothing from them for the whole flight. Our two youngest can stretch out on the seats and sleep the whole time. Expensive although worth every penny

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  7. 20

    says

    Agree with others…just come prepared. I keep “secret weapons” (favorite snacks, new books, new games etc.) in my carry-on so they are entertained while we wait. Personally I don’t want families boarding at the last minute because we all usually come on with 25 bags and junk that takes 30 minutes to poke in overheads and under seats.

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  8. 21

    says

    I would always pre-board when I was traveling with my then 9 month and 2 year old by myself. I found it easier to get on first and get settled in my seat with my kids rather than dealing with people standing in the aisle putting their bags away.

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    • 24

      says

      Have you seen how they treat suitcases? Do you really want them tossing, dropping, and banging your car seat around? It could damage the car seat, in ways you might not even notice until it fails during a car crash. I bring my car seat on, not only for the safety & comfort of my child, but to also keep the car seat safe.

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    • 25

      Hayley says

      I take 14 hour flights, so the ability to literally strap them still is a lifesaver. A car seat won’t help in a crash, but it can help prevent injury with bad turbulence.

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    • 26

      lyndi says

      Hi there! If you join the facebook group “car seats for littles” and ask there why it isn’t a good idea to check car seats they will provide you with all the info as to why it’s a bad idea. It’s a great group! :)

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  9. 27

    says

    No, families shouldnt have to board at the last minute. Parents should be in more control of their kids. Its not like ALL kids on a plane are acting like animals. Theres a reason for that…its called parebting done right!

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    • 28

      Amanda says

      I just have to share my experience. Myself, my fiancee and his mother took our 3 year old daughter to Disney in January. It was a 2 hour nonstop flight. We had assigned seats and his mother paid the extra money for us to have the front row seats. That gave him (at 6’6″) the extra leg room, and our daughter a little extra space in case she needed to move around, which we let her do until the plane took off. We boarded the plane when we were supposed to (which was pretty early). In my opinion, she was very well behaved for a 3 year old on a plane for the first time ever. Even if she did want to rattle the ears off the flight attendants every time they came by and a couple other passengers near us.
      It’s not always possible for parents to “be in more control of their kids” and even “parenting done right” still has their moments of loss of control/chaos/craziness.

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