Thursday, July 03, 2008

HOW TO TRAVEL BY PLANE WITH CHILDREN

How to travel with children.
How to travel with children with one parent.
How to travel with three children and one parent.
How to travel with three children ages almost 2, 4, and 6, and one parent.
How to travel with three children ages almost 2, 4, and 6, one parent and all children are boys.
You just don’t.
Period.
End of Story.

But if you should chose to disregard this lovely and ever so kind warning about children and airplanes and ears and snacks then suit yourself, but don’t come back to me with that whiny voice of yours that expresses dismay over the fact that you didn’t have a single ounce of time for yourself while on the plane, traveling three hours to visit your husband’s family, by yourself, with your three sons, ages almost 2, 4, and 6.

If you are going to disregard this warning of NEVER DO IT ARE YOU MAD WOMAN?Then at least look into the following suggestions or tips or whatever you may want to call them…

If you are traveling by yourself with your children and one of your children has yet to turn two, the good news is that he/she is free-with a ride on your lap- naturally. So think long and hard about the benefits of this freebie because your knees and thighs will be numb from remaining clenched for the duration of the flight with hopes that your little lap child won’t kick that seat again.

Those glorious colored "large” brown and orange airplane seats, which carries a big boned man who is trying to sleep. He has hairs out to there, crawling out of his ears, his nose, his neck and pits. Okay maybe I just should have said this was a big boned bearded hairy grumpy man, instead of making mention of the strong resemblance to that Harry Bumble guy from the old animated version of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

So back to the point of traveling with children, traveling with a child under the age of 2 has it’s benefits as far as cost, but be careful not to forget the form of identification that shows the child’s age- his birth certificate- especially if he is beyond the age of one because they will ask for it, you will need it and if you don’t have it then you will be required to provide a hefty charge for the full priced ticket of your budding 25lb child that has been practicing seat kicks ever since he heard you mention to his dad that you, are taking him on a plane to see his Grandma, along with his two older brothers.

But, I strongly urge (and no, I am NOT being compensated for this from the airline company) that if you have to travel alone with children and one of those children being considered a freebie because he won’t turn two until July 17th which means that he’ll have to sit on your lap the entire time, fly Southwest airlines.

Here’s why: because you don’t have assigned seats so if you’re smart you’ll carry on your Childs car seat and hope that the flight isn’t a full one because you can stick that puppy down in the window seat and happily place your magazines in the nook next to you with the nightmare replaced with the dream of reading on an airplane with your BIG ALL GROWED UP PEOPLE magazines, as your almost two year old is strapped in his car seat gazing out the window as you taxi from the gate for departure.

Plus, with Southwest, all families are allowed to board immediately after GROUP A, which means you will have a better selection of seats versus if you didn’t check in online and did at the counter and ended up in GROUP C, 55-60. But might I suggest to head straight for the back of the plane, as far back as the second to last row of three and then aisle and then three seats again, directly in front of the galley of the plane where the attendants work their peanut magic, near the bathrooms at the very back of the plane.

Granted this is my own version of warped logic, but I have flown enough with children to recognize this, that most singles and business men simple enough to travel Southwest will try to avoid the back rows because of the hustle and bustle of their lifestyle, and who wants to sit near little kids crying at take off and descent because their little ears are just not developed enough to handle the cabin pressure no matter what the parents do.


So folks, what have we learned here?
Don’t travel alone with children young. But if you do, travel with Southwest and carry on your “lap Child's” car seat, but don’t forget to bring his birth certificate.


Worse case if the flight is a full one, they’ll ask you to remove your child from the car seat and the attendants will check it (the car seat folks) for you right at the gate and immediately upon your arrival that precious car seat with be right outside of the planes canvas dome gate doors.

AH, but what or how in the world are you supposed to carry all that stuff, 3 big carry ones (for as long as they’re not charging for them) plus your children, and the umbrella stroller all the way from the check in counter to the gate? With a shoe removal at security for all of you, mind you.You ask for a nonpassenger escort pass. The person that is taking you to the airport (in my case my husband) will have to park the car and pay for parking, but will be able to assist you with all your items and children straight up until you board the plane. They will need to request this pass at the check in counter and provide a drivers license, but let me tell you, it will make a world of a difference.


The hardest part will be walking in the dome of the gate onto the plane, but if anything, prior to the boarding process when you go up to the gate counter to check your umbrella stroller, ask them for some assistance getting onto the plane by either helping with the children-which most likely they won’t do especially if the babies are young considering it’s a liability-or they’ll carry on your car seat and any extra bags that you may have for you and your little ones.

The same goes for the loved ones that will be picking you up at the airport. They too may approach the ticket counter and request a nonpassenger/traveling escort pass. Make sure they have your flight information and just like the old days when life was safe, you’ll see your loved ones waiting as soon as you walk out of the gate.

Bring three diaper and pull ups and stick a large amount of wipes in a large zip lock bag. This will give you more space not carrying around even the small “travel” wipe containers. Bring one change of clothing for your little ones, two unopened juice boxes and a lunchable (or two depending on flight times and amount of children that you are traveling with). One or two suckers (if age appropriate) and some gum. One small book and a tiny not too noisy noise making rattle or wind up toy, or car. I would recommend the traveling aqua doodle, its fun, it doesn’t cause a mess if you spill because it’s just water, and you’re able to have a few minutes of fun until your toddler is distracted by the clouds and bumps of the plane.

Now there is much more to discuss in regards to traveling with children, but I am quite tired and I have to pick up my husband at the airport tonight in Fort Lauderdale at about Midnight. It was a long day and the length of the day has rolled into the dusk of the evening.

Welcome To Crustybeef~
No, I didn’t get a chance to read any of my three magazines or books while traveling with three children, ages almost 2, 4 and 6. See? I told you to avoid travel. With children that is. Alone.End of story. Until the next post.

20 comments:

mosiacmind said...

You are a brave woman. I hope that things are well with you and the family. It has been awhile since I have read you blog..since I do not have the know how to have links on my blog i have to wait until I see a link to one that I like to read. I hope that you and the family enjoy the fourth of july........take care and again it was good to read your blog. if it is alright with you and if you have time can you leave a comment on my blog and then i can get the link from your comment so hopefully i can then read your blog on a more regular basis....take care..........

Mary said...

You deserve a medal for traveling alone with three small boys! Bravery in the line of duty.

Portia said...

I agree, you are a brave, brave woman. And so incredibly, painfully hilarious! I will not forget this advice. It's almost enough to keep one at home. So happy your BDD is joining you now. I hope it's a great rest of the week:)

Kelly Jene said...

Brave doesn't do you justice. Wow. I'm so tired just reading that post. I'm sorry you had to go thru all that. Hopefully the flight home will be easier with BDD with you. Hugs and waterfalls!!!!

Strong's said...

Great Advice cuz! But I will never use it because I will NEVER travel alone with my 3 kids! You are SOOOOOOOO BRAVE! I would never survive. :)

austere said...

You are one amazing lady.

Hats off.. if I were wearing one, that is.

CRUSTYBEEF said...

HiGracie'smommy! I will definitely stop over and say hello!! It is an interesting experience but worth it-meaning the travel time and bonding time with the boys.
Happy Fourth of July!
xo,
elizabeth

Palm Springs Savant said...

oh my gosh i can't even imagine doing that!!!

Cheryl said...

You're a pro, Elizabeth, and this blog post is publishable. Kudos to you, you multi-tasking and efficient momma. I thought it was hard traveling alone with one child and that was before the post 9/11 rules.

Will BDD be traveling home on the same flight as the rest of the family? I sure hope so. Enjoy the rest of your vacay.

Mrs Furious said...

excellent post... clicked over through Blogher

I never knew about the gate pass. Ingenious! I will be implementing that into our flight routine ASAP.

simonsays said...

Yep, I'm with the rest of the crowd, you DO deserve an award. But look at the great material you have for a blog post!

Happy weekend, Elizabeth. :)

Brad said...

I guess this is why God made me gay. I totally would have Nyquiled them.

But good on you for being a good mommy.

Jack said...

There is a reason why I haven't taken the kids on a plane in the last four years.

Golden To Silver Val said...

Yep, you deserve a medal...for more than dealing with the kids. 'Nuf said. I bow to you, Elizabeth, for you are a better woman than I could ever be. Good lord! Big Hugs, Val.

captain corky said...

I'm going to have to save this one cause I know the time is coming...

I flew Southwest to Vegas once. No kids, and even though I felt like I had a pole shoved up my ass by the end of the flight it was so worth it. I heart that town.

Anonymous said...

You are amazing and everytime you do this it just amazes me even more. What is even more amazing is that you are willing to do this and on top of everything you are going to my moms house....That is amazing and You are an amazing wife!!!! Thank you.

bonnie said...

My favorite stories of Jessica's early childhood are ones where we flew across country. The one where she threw peas one at a time at the man next to us, or when she vomited all that (sour) milk on my shirt. But my fave was when I traveled with friends and they insisted on relieving me of her and she peed all over their seat. Passive aggressive at eighteen months. She learned early. But three kids.... never ever ever.

JLee said...

I see the word "brave" appearing many many times in the comments section! haha
I agree. I didn't travel alone with 1 child (a girl)until she was 4. ;)

Gypsy said...

I didn't travel with my daughters until they were 12 and for all the reasons you have written here and because I am a big old chicken. You are my hero Elizabeth.

Portia said...

Hi Crusty! How's it going?? I hope things are well. I miss you and your beautiful, ingenious posts!

later alligator:)