Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I Survived Flying with Tots...and So Can You!

I'm finally getting around to sharing some of the sweet moments we enjoyed while on vacation at Disney World a few weeks ago- it was extra special as Granddaddy & Gramma were with us too!

We originally considered driving and then at the last minute was strongly encouraged (by Granddaddy!) to fly with my little Ms while 'Ricky' & Granddaddy drove all the equipment down...

We found some incredible tickets that involved 1 stop vs my #1 choice of a non stop flight... so I opted to courageously take on Atlanta airport (the busiest in the U.S.) by myself since I'm Wonder Woman...sigh.

Here are a few tips & lessons that I learned- hopefully these will save you some frustration:)
  • Choose non stop flights.  Period.
I cheaped out, getting tickets half the cost of the 'non stop' ones and decided by the end of the trip, I would never commit social suicide in that way again, or put my little Ms through the unnecessary rigors associated with extra stops.  Since tots can pre-board, our 54 minute layover in Atlanta gave me enough time to hit the restroom to change diapers (be prepared to wait in line & good luck finding a large cubicle to fit a stroller etc...), rush to my gate and pre-board the next plane...where we were seated on the last row...sigh.  That's right: 44 D & E aka exile.

  • If flying with a "lap baby", take a moment to contact your chosen airline beforehand to get specifics on what equipment you can bring on board.
If flights are not booked solid, airlines will allow the "lap baby" to have their own seat where a carrier/car seat can be secured.  If you've brought said carrier & the flight is booked solid, they will check your seat at the gate & you can pick it up as soon as you get off the plane.  
The same goes for a stroller which made things feasible for me, keeping Jonah contained while in the airport and then checking/receiving my stroller in the tunnel...thing:)
A certain amount of water for formula, bottles, baby food etc... can be taken aboard as well ( I believe it's enough for 8 hours worth...).  The trick is getting through TSA with said liquids first...take a glance around to ensure no one is preparing to broadcast you on YouTube before you start ranting & raving at the TSA employees...just sayin:)
  • Bring enough snacks... and then some more.
Unlike "Lucy", I wasn't attempting to smuggle a 20# hunk of cheese on board, but I did make sure to pack snacks that my little Ms enjoy as well as a few 'treat' snacks and loaded my bag for the day.  We went through most of the food, plus the flight snacks and a bagel that I picked up in the airport for them!  The munching kept them busy while flying and during some of the waiting in between.  Snacks = sanity.

Here are some of the things I packed: Annie's "Cheesy Bunnies", Zip Cinnamon Apple,

  • Bring appropriate activities...aka iPad!
I brought 'Ricky's' iPad so my little Ms could watch "Micka Mouse" if they got antsy- we used it on 2 of our 4 flights & I'm so glad I took the trouble!  Headphones weren't even necessary and it gave my little Ms something to focus on besides our few square inches of cramped space:)
  • Bring an extra change of clothes + sweater/hoodies
When we left TX, it was cool but I knew FL would be warm so I dressed my little Ms in layers- they used their hoodies while flying as it inevitably gets cool (also make great pillows/neck supports when rolled up!) and then shed them once we reached Orlando aka humidity capital of the U.S.
Extra clothes are for accidents- we didn't have any, but I assume that's because I was prepared!

  • Pack passys &/or lollipos
For little ones, be sure to insert a passy during take off/landing as it will help their ears- passy inserted, Jonah had no problems & this was his 3rd time flying:)  For bigger kids, lollipops are great- I had special "Micka Mouse" lollis for the occasion:)

  • Be prepared for a long wait at security aka the gauntlet
Children are not required to take off their shoes (so generous) but if they're in a carrier/stroller, they'll have to be carried/walked through with you while the equipment is 'frisked'.  I was allowed through a special arch while balancing the Big O Boy and holding Tornado's hand which helped but don't expect TSA to help fold down strollers, hold kids hands, smile etc.... and I didn't find many fellow travelers too bothered about helping either.  Best to prepare for doing everything on your own, and if you're met by a guardian angel who offers a helping hand, you can graciously accept vs grumbling at the lack of chivalry in our modern age...

  • Backpack Leashes!
We already had a leash for Livy but I also purchased a leash for Jonah so he could run off some energy in the airport, while still attached to me- came in very handy and gave me much peace of mind.  We used the leashes for our little Ms while in the park at Disney World too.  By the end of the trip, Livy was getting the hand of looping her leash on the stroller and trotting alongside me as we zoomed through the airports!
  • Wash your hands, please!
I swabbed my little Ms with hand sanitizer and washed hands when we had a chance but as I was zooming through the airport, security etc... we didn't do so as often as we should have.  My little Ms were assaulted with "ickies" when we returned home and while it may not have been due to something specific from traveling, they were exposed to plenty (hazards of public transport) so 'wash your hands, please'!

Well, I think that about wraps up my 'traveling with tots in air' wisdom:)  Hope these tips help make your vacation more hassle free and next I'll be sharing some of the highlights of our time at Disney World...with a 1 y/o & 2 y/ times!

Thanks for stopping by,

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