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Two to Go…Adventures in Flying with Two Kiddos in Tow

Callum, Eleanor, and I just returned from a week long adventure to my parents’ house.  I’ve flown solo with Callum several times so adding in one more didn’t seem to daunting a task…and it wasn’t!  But I thought I’d share what I did/learned to make air travel easier.

  • Choose Flights Wisely: Ideally, a single flight is best since it’s the getting on and off the plane that’s the biggest hassle.  But in our case, there weren’t any direct flights.  Normally, I’d go for the shortest layover.  But given that we were flying through a big airport (Atlanta) and there was no telling how far we’d have to go between gates, a longer layover made more sense.  I allowed just over 2 hours between flights which gave us plenty of time to eat lunch, change diapers, and burn off a bit of energy before flight #2.  I didn’t worry too much about planning around nap times since Eleanor pretty much sleeps wherever and Callum skips naps as often as he takes them.  So we just got an early start (but not too early as we might not have made it to the airport on time!) and things worked out perfectly.
  • Callum actually decided to nap on one flight
  • Pack Smart: I probably could have done a bit better with this one.  We checked two suitcases (if I hadn’t been traveling with two in cloth diapers, one would have worked.  Plus Nana likes to send us home with new clothes ;-))  What to carry on is always my big dilemma.  I took my “big” diaper bag (which isn’t in fact very large) for valuables, my wallet, snacks, water, and toys and a tote bag for diapers.  I considered just using sposies at least for the travel part but never got around to buying any.  That would have lightened my load for sure though.  For Callum, I brought snacks, a few little cars for playing in the airport, and his water bottle.  Our flights were only an hour each so I didn’t bring anything for in-flight entertainment; snacks, looking out the window, and looking at pictures on my phone kept him happy.  For Eleanor, I brought a spare onesie and a burp cloth – and not exactly a packing item but I wore something super easy to nurse in.
  • Consider Car Seats: I’ve written previously about car seats and air travel.   In a perfect world where seats weren’t $300 a pop, I wouldn’t fly with a lap baby.  And I have to confess that the thought of putting Eleanor in her car seat for the flight – when she screams pretty much every time she’s in it – wasn’t very appealing.  So I did what most of us with infants do and bought a seat for Callum and held Eleanor.  I still had to bring her seat though as we needed it on the other end.  On the trip down, I gate checked it since I’m always a tad paranoid that our checked luggage will get lost or delayed.  On the return trip, I checked it making the airport much easier.  I was pleasantly surprised that the Gate Check Bag I got held up really well, even when the seat was checked.  I’ll feel better about checking seats in the future.   Callum used his seat on the plane.  He is always really happy in the car so being in his seat made sitting still on the airplane much easier for him to do.  Plus it kept him contained!   The biggest hassle was getting the car seats through the airport.  I bought a little fold up Luggage Cart which worked fairly well.  My plan was to use the LATCH buckles on Callum’s seat to hook it to the cart keeping it more stable (an idea I stole from the reviews on Amazon).  But the one I had (not the one I linked) didn’t have a place that the buckles would reach unless I put the seat on backwards which was less stable.  It worked ok though and by the fourth flight I’d figured out exactly how to put things on so they didn’t topple off when I pushed it!
  • Eleanor snoozing in flight
  • Babywear of course! Funny how this one seems to be my answer to everything 😉   I never use a stroller really aside from running and the BOB didn’t seem the best choice for air travel so wearing was a must.  I think even if you do take a stroller, a carrier is a great help.  Just getting on and off the plane with multiple kids (especially when one can’t walk) can be a challenge and strollers have to stop at the gate.  I wore Eleanor in a wrap on my front and she slept the majority of the trip.  I had a Kinderpack for Callum when he didn’t feel like walking or if we needed to move quickly (like when switching concourses in Atlanta).  I was surprised how many people commented on how comfy and convenient my carriers looked.  Going through security seems to be hit or miss in terms of whether or not a baby can be worn through.  Callum had to walk through of course.  On our outbound flight, I was given the option to leave Eleanor on and just have a pat down.  Coming home, I was given that option again but told it would be faster to just take her off (so I did).  Not sure if the carrier type matters although I imagine if you were wearing a ring sling or something with metal, you’d set off the detectors and would have to take the carrier off anyway.  I do know that it’s a FAA rule that babies can’t be worn during take off and landing (although it’s fine in flight).  However, just as has been my experience previously, no one asked me to unwrap her on any of our four flights.  Not sure if that was because it looked like a blanket, they were too busy, or they thought better of waking a sleeping baby.
  • Depend on the Kindness of Strangers: This is the key to a happy journey!  I had numerous offers of help from random folks – helping me get my bags and car seat on/off the plane or loading my crazy little cart.  The security folks were nice (yes, really!) and helped me gather my things and get put back together.  The flight attendants helped me install the car seat and get sorted out (and I totally understand now why those traveling with small children get priority boarding!).  People were just all around nice and helpful – maybe it was my super cute kids 😉

Having tackled my first journey with two, I’m ready for more adventures.  I’d love to hear your tips for air travel to make our next one even smoother!

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Published in Parenting Travel