This past week, we flew for the first time with our three children. It was uneventful and full of excitement. The best part was it got us to Florida in two hours instead of two days :). But, it wasn’t without a lot of preparation that we had a successful flight there and home.
- Pack an extra pair of clothes-underwear, shirt, and shorts-for each of your children. Being in such a small space can make for easy spills, and you don’t want your kids wet, sticky, and uncomfortable while trying to sit still in a small space.
- Give each child their own carry on. In our case, it was the boys’ school backpacks. These were easily accessible for them, and I had stocked them with snacks, books, their extra clothes, and their DS for the flight.
- Ask that the seat next to you be blocked if the flight isn’t full. This gave us an extra seat for our “lap” baby to sit and squirm on. If you’re not traveling with a lap baby, this could come in handy for extra room if your child wants to lay down and rest.
- Try to schedule your flight at an “off” time. We booked our flights for 12:30 pm departing and 7:25 a.m. for the return. These were not full, and actually both flights had a lot of families on them. This helped cut down on my stress that my kids would be too loud or bothersome for business travelers.
- Prepare your children for the flight by talking to them about what it’s like. The TSA website has a kid friendly video that shows how you proceed through security. This was very helpful in preparing my boys for the unknown of flying. We also talked about using quiet voices on the plane and how cool it is to fold down your tray and use it to draw, color, and have your snacks.
- To check bags or not to check bags? We had a larger suitcase and two smaller ones that could’ve been gate checked. Our airline to Florida charged $20/bag to check them. We decided that we didn’t want to mess with taking our two smaller bags through security and gate checking them, along with the stroller, and the boys. Also, since we flew home on Southwest, we knew we could each check two bags for free. Therefore, we only paid to check bags one way.
- Consider flying on two separate airlines. When you are trying to fly economically-and justify the cost of flying vs driving-you want to find the best fares. $99 one way was the lowest I could find, but I had to do it departing on one airline and returning on another. Since it kept our fares low, I was totally fine with that.