How to Look Like You Know What You’re Doing During Air Travel, with Kids


CoCo traveling solo with 3 year old Ava, and and a 1 year old Sloane

Traveling with a baby can be challenging under the best circumstances. But traveling with two, by yourself, is an all out obstacle course. Worse, I can think  of no situation where strangers feel more justified in making “helpful” observations about the state of your child’s hunger, teething, need of a nap, etc. Stop those busy bodies before they start! Below is a list of tips on how to “look like you know what you’re doing” during air travel, with kids.

  • Check your bag, preferably curbside. Traveling with out kids I love being able to breeze past baggage claim with my 20 inch roller bag. But with kids, I find it’s better to keep your hands free to juggle only the essentials. You’re less likely to loose anything!
  • Put your carseat on wheels. We’re all familiar with the idea of putting your infant car seat on wheels, but not for the larger convertible seat. Thankfully some smart engineer changed that recently by outfitting a folding luggage rack with hooks that allow you to clip your “big kid” car seat in, child and all. I’ll admit to feeling very smug as a wheel past a dad who is struggling to carry an awkwardly large carseat, sans wheels. Does that make me a bad person?


  • Order a wheelchair assist. Not all airports offer them, but the larger ones do, at no cost to you. And it’s totally at your own discretion whether you “need” one or not. No physical justification necessary! I find it’s better not to waste too much explanation on the gate agent. Just make the request, and when the person arrives, ask them to ditch the chair and pull one of your carseats. The best part? The assist bumps the line at security so you and your babies just breeze on through! I usually tip the person between $5 and $20.
  • Outfit toddlers with their own (small) backpack. Inevitably your toddler will want to get out of the carseat to explore the gate area. A small back pack with a few select toys can go along way to keeping her entertained. We also have a fancy version that can double as a tiny roller bag, but I find that I end up carrying it, more often than not. The plain old back pack tends to stay put longer.


  • Bag your carseats in the jetway. All airlines will let you check your carseat and stroller, alongside your oversize luggage, for free. But what if they lose it? They all say they have loaners, but really? Enough for all six kids on the plane? In good repair? I’d MUCH rather gate check my $400 carseat to have it waiting for when I deplane.


  • Wear your baby in a sling. I like the Second Skin for infants, and the Ergo when she gets bigger. The sling essentially helps the baby to sit on your lap, and, ultimately fall asleep on your chest. The flight attendant will make you unfasten it for take off and landing, but, outside of that, you have a happy baby. It also makes for very discreet breast feeding. And, the best part is that, it leaves your hands free to read a magazine! Or feed the toddler sitting next to you.
  • Pack Pirate Booty. Pirate Booty, or it’s generic corn puff equivalent, is the ideal snack food on a plane for several reasons, not the least of which is that it’s delicious, and, inevitably, mommy will need a snack, too. Eating Cheerios is demoralizing. They’re still calories, and they don’t even taste good. I also like Cheetos, but the orange paste can make a mess. The solution there is to dress your children in orange, so the stains are less apparent. No, I’m not kidding.


  • Have the person picking you up get a gate pass. You can also request another wheelchair assist! The flight attendants are super helpful, as they are not allowed to leave the plane until every last passenger is gone. Again, don’t forget to tip. The twenty dollars I mentioned earlier went to a guy who not only helped me off the plane, but also loaded my things onto a cart at baggage claim, then hailed a cab and strapped in my car seats! After that, go home and put your feet up! You’ve earned it.


Got a travel tip to share? I’d love to hear about it!

  • The 40 Year Old Mommy




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