My son is a seasoned flyer. He had his first ride on an airplane when he was three months old. We were going to visit my Aunt Doll before she passed away. It was her desire to see him before she left this world and we were going to make it happen.
Since then, my son has flown on about five roundtrip flights before hitting the ripe old age of 2. With that being said, I feel like I am a pro on flying with a lap child under two. Here are some tips for you:
1. Always have something for them to suck on or eat during the flight in case their little ears start hurting. This is especially important during takeoff. When my son was an infant, I would give him a bottle or pacifier. He’s a toddler now, so we give him a sippy cup or a small lollipop.
2. Bring a small toy that they like. This will keep them occupied for about twenty minutes. You are on your own for the rest of the flight.
3. Dress your child comfortably. Put on their nice clothes AFTER you land. Under no circumstances are you to deviate from this rule. Trust me on this one.
4. You are allowed to bring your baby’s formula, breast milk, or juice through the security checkpoint in your baby bag. It just has to be in the bottles or sippy cup. If you use formula, you can prefill the bottles with baby water and bring your can of formula with you. Be advised that TSA will search this bag. I’m glad they stopped making you taste stuff…wasn’t that crazy?
5. You can check your stroller at the gate. This has been a life saver. Can you imagine dragging around a tired child AND carry-on luggage at a large airport? I can’t. And don’t have a tight connection…that’s a recipe for disaster. That’s why my son is always in his stroller every time we fly. Plus, you can put one of your bags in the stroller basket to free up stuff you have to carry on your shoulder. Work smarter, not harder!
6. Your car seat can be checked for free. If you have a spare car seat, bring that one because the airlines act funny about replacing it if it gets broken. So far, I’ve been lucky that my son’s car seat has always made it to our destinations.
7. If you plan to let your child sit on your lap, you cannot check luggage in their name or bring on a carry-on bag for them. Only ticketed, paying passengers have that privilege. If you bring a baby bag on board, that is your carry-on.
My son has received multiple compliments about his good behavior on plane rides. Our last flight was no exception. My husband and I waited a while before we started to gather our stuff. Besides, we had an almost two year old and two carry-on bags. We didn’t want to hold up the line. A nice older lady walked by on her way off the plane and said, “I didn’t even know there was a small child on here. That’s the best I’ve ever seen a child act on a plane.” We beamed with pride while we told her thank you. She walked by and I placed my son in the seat beside me so I could get my purse from under the seat. The next thing I know, I’m catching vomit in my hands! YUCK!!!! GROSS!!!
Our flight had a lot of turbulence, but I thought our son was okay because the plane had landed about fifteen minutes prior. I guess I thought wrong. My husband started freaking out and I quickly encouraged him in a nice way to grab some wipes, especially for my hands! The miracle is that he didn’t get one ounce of vomit on the seats, just on mommy’s hands and his outfit. Remember rule #3?
As we finally got off the plane, the flight attendant said, “Oh, are you the little one that threw up?” Someone must have told her that my son had called Earl as they were getting off the plane. Either that or she saw the vomit stains on his formerly cute gray sweatsuit. “It happens to the best of us,” she said as she handed us a ginger ale for him.
This was the first time that little pro flyer ever vomited on a flight. But I guess there is a first time for everything…