Thursday, October 24, 2013

Flying with a Toddler

Sorry to be MIA for the last week. My life has been cah-ray-zee and I feel like I am in a perpetual state of playing catch up.

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of flying with Jack for the first time. We flew from Huntsville, Alabama to Buffalo, New York with a layover in Charlotte, North Carolina on our way to Toronto, Ontario for my cousin's wedding.

Originally Daniel was going to come and we were going to drive up. In a lot of ways that would have been simpler, but it would have also been a harder trip. Plus we are trying to get our house on the market and we both felt like he needed to stay behind to wrap up some projects.

Since we live out of our suitcase during the week, weekends are the only time we can make any progress on the house. It was a tough decision but we think it was the right one.

Upon deciding to fly, I did some preliminary research on flying with a toddler. The biggest things I gathered were 1) use suckers (or a paci) for take off and landing; and 2) don't be afraid to break your normal rules (like screen time or letting your child use their paci for more than just naps).

I used both of these ideas and the traveling part of our trip was incredibly easy.

We had an early morning to flight to catch (we left our home by 4am), so I hoped Jack would sleep on the first leg. It turns out that flying is super exciting for my little one and he would not nap on that first flight.

In Charlotte we had 10 minutes to run from Terminal E to Terminal B to catch our connecting flight. Thankfully I had my umbrella stroller stored in the overhead compartment. I also had an Ergo* baby carrier, so I opted to carry the stroller and strap Jack to my chest. We literally ran through the airport.

At the time I was annoyed about the short layover, but I think it was actually a blessing because we didn't have time to be bored (we had the same thing happen on the return). I changed Jack's diaper right before we boarded our second flight (but ended up having to change a dirty diaper mid air – I was surprised that the lavatory had a changing table!). 

I decided to do the early boarding for families with small children on all of our flights and this worked out well for us since it was easier to get settled and it gave Jack a chance to play with the lights and air above the seat.

For the flight, I put a backpack in the overhead compartment and had a smaller shoulder bag that I filled with snacks (suckers), his paci, water, my Kindle, a small blanket, a diaper and changing pad as well as a coloring book and a couple of small toys (anything I thought I might need during the flight). The ONLY things we used from my carry on were the snacks/water, his paci and the suckers.

I guess my biggest piece of advice for flying with a little one is to know your child and pack accordingly. I have a really laid back kid. He was happy to sit in my lap. I told him ahead of time about take off and landing. We talked during each experience. I told him what to expect during security checks and it was all smooth sailing. I had extra stuff just in case, but we really didn't need it. The traveling part of our trip was truly a breeze. The rental car and car seat; my cell phone/data/gps NOT working in Canada; and going to a wedding WITHOUT my significant other; well those things were way more challenging...

*The Ergo is fabulous, but the stroller was the best because I was able to hang my shoulder bag on the back of it. Plus Jack was happy in the stroller and it was nice to have for the wedding reception.

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