June 14, 2011

Flying Alone with Kids

We just got home from a week long trip. My husband was needed to help with his Grandma and we decided I should go with the boys too. That meant I had to fly by myself with the boys for the first time. I knew I could do it, and we prepared every way we possibly could. I'll be back with more fun crafts and things, but for now, some flight survival tips.

Luggage High Rise
{Sacramento Airport}

Travel Light
Luckily my husband was going the same place as us, just one day in advance. So in order to lighten my load, we packed our clothes and he took the suitcase so I wouldn't have to bring that into the airport myself! I had one small bag with toys, blankets and other necessities he couldn't bring, my diaper bag and the kids. I checked the one bag and headed on my way to security.

You might have read that and wondered - but what about car seats?! Some rental car companies rent them with the car, but we had no need to rent a car. So we used a company I heard about just after having our first son. Baby's Away rents all sorts of Baby Products (including Car Seats) to people and has several locations in 25 States. It was $80 total for two car seats for the 6 days we were there. Not bad considering what they would have cost us to purchase. Now, this may not be something you need every trip, or want to do. But this time around, it saved me from hauling one more thing into the airport.

Use Your Friends
I had a wonderful friend drop me off at the airport instead of having to park. That saved me a ton of walking and time! I've seen a lot of Mom's flying solo and often wondered how they did it. This time I paid attention more. A LOT of them still had someone with them until check-in was complete. Friends are wonderful!

Know Security Rules
Because I knew the rules of security, I was able to make that easy on myself. I had no metal on me, slip on shoes, and the kids were the same. No liquids were with us except the bottle, and it was actually a relatively fast and painless few moments. The most difficult was getting the umbrella stroller folded while holding a toddler, and one of the employees actually took over for me.

Waiting For the Plane
I was so upset when I could not find my Toddler Leash the day of our flight. I still have no clue where it is. I planned to use that to let the little one run around (he's lightning fast and goes everywhere) before our flight. Instead he held my hand I held his hand as we walked around. The older one just wanted to sit and watch everything, but instead got pushed around in the Umbrella Stroller.

I brought: Fruit Snacks, Animal Cookies, Orange Tic-Tacs (a new favorite of my son's) and Bananas. I was worried Bananas wouldn't be allowed through security, but they were. I also got water as soon as we cleared check-in and M&M's (persistence sometimes wins). I refused all snacks on the airplane and did really well. It was easier and I didn't get sick after like I usually do. No more airplane snacks for me.

{Not my son}

I LOVE the iPad! My older son played a train game the entire way that I had just purchased. It was amazing. The younger one played with a few Apps on my phone (KidsPaint), but was more entertained by the air jets overhead. We sang, we tickled, and we had a genuinely decent flight (albeit - exhausting) up until the dreaded decent. The bottle was gone and they both refused their sippy cups. I was at a loss as to help their poor ears. (My oldest kept shouting "HELLO" because he was trying to see if he could hear better.) Coaching him on Yawning had little effect until suddenly he began the "Yawn Song" which was, I believe "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" but sung using only "Ya". It was so funny.

Ear Pressure
On the way home I decided to try gum. Epic Failure. My son didn't like the flavor, so that was the end. The youngest refused the bottle, the sippy cups were once again pushed away and I was starting to get worried. Luckily, while purchasing the gum in the airport I noticed the over-priced lollipops next to the checkout. I purchased 4 of them - as a just in case.
There was no screaming or complaining from either one of them until the last 2 minutes of the flight when suddenly my oldest son finished his lollipop and protesting the "funny feeling" in his ears. I'm not sure if it was the sucking that helped or the distraction. But they worked like a charm!

Most Importantly - Have a Sense of Humor
When you've finally made it off the plane, almost home and the water bottle that you shoved into your bag, thinking it had a lid on it, starts pouring down onto the floor, grab the bottle, chuck it out, pull out all electronic devices, wring out your bag (if possible) and chuckle the whole way down to the baggage claim. Because trust me - it can always be worse!


Karina said...

Wonderful tips - all our family lives away from us, so we have been flying with our daughter since she was 6 weeks old (and often my by myself solo). I remember that first trip...how long we took to prepare, but how smooth it went. 10 years later - I think my daughter could do it by herself. I think the guy in front of me during a 6 hour ride got just a bit tired of hearing me sing...but it was better than the baby crying - so you do what you have to.

PS - don't you love those baggage display sin Sac - they so made me smile the first time I stepped off the plane in our new hometown.