Monday, August 23, 2010

Flying on an airplane with kids Tips for Travel

In honor of my trip to Alaska I am posting a series of traveling tips for you and your little ones! I work for an airline so traveling with children is something I am a near expert on as my son has been on planes pretty much his whole life!

The most important thing is keeping your kids entertained. JetBlue is the perfect airline for the older kids because every single seat has it's own TV and it's completely FREE! However, my 10 month old doesn't wear headphones yet so it's not realistic to think the televisions would entertain him.

Instead, I pack some of his favorite foods and when he starts to get fussy I pull down the tray and put the foods there. It will usually entertain him for awhile and when he's done he likes to play with the tray itself.

If your child is anything like mine, it's also near impossible to get them to sleep on a big plane with lots of people and things going on, so I always pack a blanket or large sweatshirt. I put this over both myself and him and usually, once it's dark and he's not distracted by everything else, he falls asleep.

A pacifier is always good to have on hand for take-off, or some hard candy for toddlers, gum for older kids, to alleviate pain when ears are popping.

When it comes to TSA guidelines, you are welcome to bring formula/breast milk, bottled water, juice, and of course baby food/ solid foods, and any necessary medicines through security. Try to mark these separately and pull them out of your bag in a separate bin in case the agents need to check them. If your containers are 3 oz. or less, they shouldn't need to be checked.

Check the airlines baggage policy. When you travel with children, JetBlue allows an additional carry-on item such as a diaper bag, so you don't need to stuff all of your things, as well as baby's in one bag. Carseats and strollers don't count against your checked baggage, and you can gate-check any of these items.

You can purchase a seat for your little one but it gets expensive. Instead, if you are traveling with someone else, and the plane is 3 seats across, assign your seats to the aisle and the window. Most likely the middle seat will stay empty and you can probably set your child (car seat required!) in the empty seat.

If you are traveling on your own (as is often the case for me) instead of lugging the car seat all around the airport, opt for a baby sling or infant carrier. I love my Baby Bjorn that I got off of a site similar to CraigsList. Take it out for some practice walks first though as every baby has a different preference to carrier style.

And the last and final tip for traveling on a plane with children is Never be afraid to ask for help! Most airlines allow you to call in advance and request a "Meet And Assist" which will entitle either the person dropping you off at the airport to get a gate pass to help you and your younging to the plane, or they will have airport staff assist you if you are on your own, both on and off the aircraft.

I hope these tips are helpful for you! Happy traveling!

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