Getting some flight tips from a real pilot (Dad) at the Lied Children’s Discovery Museum
It’s a good thing that the lady who said people with young children should drive, not fly wasn’t on our flights to or from Vegas. Everything started off beautifully. We breezed through check-in and security (well, Johnny screamed as he did on the way to Vienna because he thought the TSA people were going to steal his shoes, but he calmed down quickly) and had a leisurely lunch near our gate. The first few hours of the flight were fine, too. The kids colored and played with stickers, and then watched an episode of Busytown Mysteries that we had on our netbook thanks to this review. There was some turbulence, but all three kids were coping well. I thought I had this flying with kids thing down.
Then things went downhill. Our flight had taken off at 6pm, so by 9pm all three kids were exhausted, particularly Johnny who had woken up earlier than usual and hadn’t napped. He cried for nearly two hours solid, until the flight attendant suggested that I ignore the fasten seatbelt light and go stand with him at the back of the plane. I followed her advice and he was asleep within five minutes, much to my relief. Emma and Lily had already fallen asleep, so the final hour was peaceful.
Check-in on the way back was a nightmare. We got stuck in one non-moving line, and were then told to move to another line that was moving – until we got in it. It took us over an hour to drop off our two bags. There was no line at security, and we went straight to our gate – arriving just as they were boarding. The flight went well until we started to land. Johnny went into a panic attack and had half the plane concerned about his well-being. He didn’t calm down until after we had landed and strapped him to Mike’s back in our ergo carrier.
Things that went well:
- Getting kids from security to the gate, and feeding the kids on the plane. The kids were also really well behaved for check-in, even during our LONG wait at the Vegas airport.
- Stickers and coloring books alongside owie dolls worked really well as airplane entertainment. Our crayon rolls got a lot of use on this trip. I think I may try sticker books (with designated places or scenes in which to place stickers) for our next trip. The Infant Bibliophile has some recommendations that look interesting.
- Kind flight attendants, TSA agents, and fellow passengers going both directions.
- The airline sat me next to an empty seat both directions, which made the trip much more pleasant!
- Where possible, avoid flights that take off around bedtime.
- Bring things I KNOW the kids will want to eat for take-off and landing. Gummy bears (brought by my parents from Austria where they taste SO much better) worked like a charm on our flight home. Johnny wasn’t interested in the food I had on the way to Vegas, and he wound up with hurting ears, which no doubt contributed to his falling apart.
- US Airways does not carry milk on board flights – at least not for economy passengers.
Things I want to figure out:
- How to keep Johnny from panicking when the plane starts to descend.
- How to consolidate our carry-ons. It always feels like we are carrying more stuff than we end up using on the flight. We did use a larger percentage of our stuff on this flight than when we flew to Austria in December, so I’m making progress.
- How to convince Johnny that the TSA is not out to steal his shoes. He’s been through four security lines in the past six months, and has fallen apart over having to send his shoes through the X-ray machine each time.
Have you flown with little ones? What are your tips and tricks? Any advice for our next trip (whenever that may be)?