We took the girls on their first trip by airplane this last weekend to see their extended family in Seattle. I was a wreck before we left, trying to plan for a two-and-a-half hour plane ride to the Pacific Northwest. I searched online for tips and tricks and also talked to our pediatrician about her ideas too.
Here’s what worked for us.
Say no to the Benadryl. Apparently between 1% and 5% of all children actually become hyper, which will create a difficult situation on board an airplane. Our pediatrician recommended that we use a small dose of ibuprofen to reduce any ear inflammation.
Earplugs. We became goodwill ambassadors for our family, offering earplugs to the other passengers around us. It definitely eased any tension! Surprisingly people turned us down and were okay with the potential for having a screaming child sit next to them.
Pre-made formula. We purchased pre-made formula before our trip so all we had to do was open the cap and divide the amount into two bottles. The formula container went through special screening in security, but they didn’t open the container at all. No need to mix powder and water. This was offered to the girls on take off and landing to alleviate any ear pain.
Party beads. A quick trip to the local party store before our trip and I picked out sparkly beads for them to play with (supervised of course!). That was a huge hit and it didn’t cost us much cash.
Diaper bag. We packed two bags with identical items in each. I think we could have probably gotten away with just one larger bag for our carry-on. But I always rule on the side of having more items rather than not enough.
Just say no to the free beverage. And to your magazines and listening to your iPod. Our girls are 9 months and sat on our laps. Enough said.
Mail toys ahead of time. If you can, send toys, bottles and other small items that will make your stay more comfortable. We packed a box from USPS that was a flat rate and it was received within two to three days, at an affordable price.
Umbrella strollers are awesome. As a mom of twin girls, we are used to the large double stroller. But to get through the airport, we purchased two single umbrella strollers from Babies R Us. These are light-weight, compact and the wheels gave the girls a smooth ride as we zipped around the airport and the city. We did purchase an optional connector, but never used it. And if it was damaged by the airline (they weren’t) then we were not out a ton of cash.
One last thing — when you make your reservation be sure to understand the policies of multiple infants or children sitting in the same row. We had to do a seat change on the plane, as the reservation staff didn’t give us the right information and sat us across from each other. It has to do with the oxygen bags that drop down in an emergency.
What has worked for you and your family’s airplane travel? Share your ideas in the comments section below.