Flying With Kids – Getting Through the Airport
The most seasoned travelers have plans of attack for getting through the airport efficiently when they are by themselves and have no bags. They either know that there are ways to do things to make getting to the gate easier, or they are trying to avoid the family that has no idea what they’re doing. Or maybe both.
While you’re probably not going to sail from the parking lot to the plane in record time if you’re flying with kids, there are some things you can do to minimize the potential pain of just getting through the airport.
With small kids, I think it’s wise to pack one large family suitcase with everybody’s stuff. Put your liquids in here to avoid having to pull that stuff out at security. I usually have my husband drop me and the kids off with the one bag at curbside check in. By the time he parks and joins us, I usually have our suitcase dropped off and we can proceed inside together. I do have a carry on with a change of clothes for each of the boys and a few necessities…just in case.
Keep Strollers and Car Seats With You
When our boys were very small (three and under) we elected to keep our strollers and car seats with us rather than checking them with our luggage. The strollers were helpful if we needed to move through the airport quickly. And we generally used our FAA-approved car seats on the plane. I had great luck syncing flight time with nap time, and the seats provided a more comfortable place for the boys to nap. The strollers could be gate checked as well as the car seats if we weren’t using them. (There comes a point where a car seats invites kicking and pushing on the seat in front of you. We gave up use of them when our kids got big enough to disrupt other passengers.) It also saves some wear and tear to gate check these items.
Let Children Have a Role
Coach your children on what they will need to do at the airport. I am a big believer in having the kids invested in the travel experience. I gave them jobs to do. They were responsible for handing their boarding pass to the TSA agent and stating their name, walking through the security scanner by themselves, and giving their boarding pass to the gate agent when boarding the plane. As they got older they were also responsible for their carry-on (small backpacks that they were allowed to pack…with a little mommy supervision).
Flying with kids and getting through the airport can be the most daunting part of travel. With a little planning and forethought, though, you can navigate this part of the trip like a seasoned solo traveler…almost.
- See some of the places we’ve been and tips we have for travel with toddlers.
- Read more advice on air travel with kids.
Robyn fell in love with travel before kids and has found it even more wonderful since her kids have joined the family. She is married to an amazing…