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Summer Vacation: Plane Travel with a Toddler (Volume 2)

My in-laws asked how the flight was...my response: "We're here!" All kidding aside, Mr. G, and his 15 month old rambunctious self did pretty good, even if he didn't dare shut an eye. We had a early evening flight out and it was delayed, so I was sure he would sleep....wrong! Our flight home was right at nap time, so I was sure he would sleep...wrong!

I didn't take that many pictures because we had our hands full keeping him occupied. In my last post, I mentioned our plan to put him in his own seat with his car seat. Here are my take-aways from plane travel with a toddler.

  • Carrying a lightweight convertible car seat through the airport, security, and onto the plane really isn't that bad! Strapping his carseat into the window seat was a breeze since we had practiced ahead of time. My husband boarded with our regular seating assignment and Mr. G and I waited to be the very last passengers, so the car seat was all ready (and less confined time!). I also knew ahead of time that the buckle might wind up in an uncomfortable area under him and that an in-flight magazine placed over top of it between the cover was better than something soft wadded up. 
note: his binky clip is only attached to the car seat during this photo to prevent him from flinging it!
  • We also took a stroller and wheeled Mr. G in it as long as possible, even down the jetway to gate check. Wiggly, 23 pound kiddos are hard to hold in lines!
  • Have a bunch of tricks (and more importantly, snacks) up your sleeve. A new toy, a new iPad app (yes we resorted to that, the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn ones are great), a variety of things to munch on. 
  • Make use of what you can find for new entertainment: the window shade, an extra cup from the beverage service the recline button on the seat (but don't actually go back and forth!). 
  • Take heart, even at the loudest screams, people a few rows up can't even hear them thanks to the engine noise
  • Get there early, not only will your rushing around agitate your toddler, you can make use of the extra room in the gate seating area before everyone arrives to let the little ball of energy run around and explore (with arm's reach supervision of course)
  • Random observation: weekday travelers seemed to be much nicer to kids and tolerant of their behavior than weekend travelers. If our dates are flexible for the next trip, I will choose an earlier morning and midweek flight over afternoon or weekend flights. 
  • Have someone drop you curbside (even with all the baggage) and go park or to get your rental car. Navigating a toddler or stroller through shuttles isn't cool. Do the same for pickup, and if you are waiting outside in arrivals (especially in Charlotte!) check where the designated smoking area is so you don't wind up waiting right beside it. 
  • Carried over from previous flying tips: extra diapers and extra clothes!
  • And an extra pair of socks for the changing table. Until it becomes funny to "awake-for-10-hours-toddler" to put sock hands in his mouth/eyes/your mouth/your eyes.
  • Last, I would say: lower your expectations. If you all get to your destination, you win!
Both, my husband and I, settled back at home, felt like everything went pretty well, but both agreed we're not up for a plane trip again anytime soon. ;)


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