We have a trip coming up in a couple of months, and I was wondering if anyone had some tried and true methods of making air travel with a 1 yr old as smooth as possible? Dealing with TSA? On the plane? Calming baby? Ect...
I traveled with my daughter at 8 weeks old. And recently again and she was just over 2. Pack their clothes with you so you have less bags. If the baby is in the carrier still, then bring that and the stroller so you can snap it in and that way you have a car seat with you. Bring a few books, some favorite toys, and an IPad with kid movies. You shouldn’t need to buy a seat depending on if you take going to be wearing the baby. Always have snacks and something to drink. Once the seat belt sign is lifted, hold him and play with him like you would at home. Hope this helps’
I’ve been traveling with our son since he was 4 months. We traveled when he was about 1yo to Hawaii. And we packed books that you can read and look at the objects and point out, etc. helps with taking longer on the book. And reading more than one way. I kept some of his toys that we were going to bring away for about a week or two to help bring new interest to them when we traveled. I had my son pick one “friend” (stuffed animal toy, doll, etc). So it was his travel buddy (a small travel buddy). Lol.
We used a paci to help calm him when we took off and landed. I was also still breastfeeding so that helped too. Packed some snacks that were for the same time he smacked at home. Also purchased a meal for him but you can just bring a meal of you’d like. We forgot to pack one so it helped being able to purchase.
Had us walk up and down aisles when he got antsy. Passengers were very nice. My little one is a big flirt so he makes new friends easily. Lol.
Through the airport we used the stroller and carrier. It depends on the trip and how occupied your hands are. Checked the stroller at the gate. Our travel stroller is pretty small and can be worn as a backpack.
We purchased a seat for our son. I know it’s more expensive but it gave us more room and when he had a nap he didn’t have to sleep on me. Plus it is safer. So we brought his car seat on the plane with us and gate checked the bag for it to roll through the airport.
If your little one is still in their infant seat this is even easier if you have one that attaches to the stroller. (I miss those days. Ours is nearly two and has a bigger car seat now).
TSA is easier as long as you are calm and polite. They’ll ask you to put your car seat through the scanner with your bags. If it won’t fit (like ours now) they’ll just check it out themselves. Easy. Just get there a little bit earlier knowing it will take a bit longer with the little one.
If you're bringing a carseat onto the plane make sure you can locate quickly the writing on it that says it's okay for air travel. We've been asked right as we're boarding and it's taken us a long time to find it even though we know it's there. Most times they don't ask though.
Things I have found helpful:
1) if you’re taking him/her as a lap infant, call your airline ahead of time and get his/her name added to your ticket as a lap infant. Ask if they need any documentation. I’ve flown Delta, United, Alaska, & Southwest with my daughter as a lap infant. Southwest made me bring her birth certificate to the airport to prove she was under 2. TSA doesn’t require anything extra.
2) verify with your airline that you can check your stroller and car seat for free. Every airline I’ve flown with my daughter has allowed this, but you never know. I personally prefer to check both at the ticketing agent and carry my daughter in an ErgoBaby through the airport. I just don’t like fumbling with all the extra stuff and I like having my hands free. I’ve almost always flown alone with her so I didn’t have my husbands extra hands to help. You can also take the car seat and stroller thru security and check at the gate, it’s just more stuff you have to deal with in the TSA line. I also take a vinyl laundry bag and put it over the car seat to offer some protection from weather and handling etc.
3) when you get to the gate, ask the agent if it’s a full flight. If it’s not, they are usually very accommodating and will put you next to an empty seat so you have extra room with your kiddo. (If you have an open seat, you could put your car seat in that spot as others have mentioned).
4) have a bottle, pacifier, breastfeed, applesauce pouch... something available for him/her to suck on during take off and landing. It’ll help his/her ears pop and equalize with the pressure changes. And if you’re lucky he/she will fall asleep on takeoff!!!!
5) I prefer a window seat so I can kind of corral my kiddo in. Otherwise she sees the aisle and thinks it’s a fun place to run and play. I also hate with an aisle seat when we’re comfortable and distracted and then the person on the inside needs us to move so they can go to the toilet.
6) I take a lot of activities- notepad and pen to draw, books, a few small quiet toys, restickable stickers (Amazon), and always have a movie or game on my phone as a last resort if nothing else is working to keep her busy. (If you’re lucky, your kiddo will sleep. Mine rarely does.) Also some yummy interesting treats are always a bonus. I start with the healthy stuff (apple slices, bananas, grapes) and slowly move to the more interesting less healthy as needed to keep her interested and quiet (teddy grahams, fruit snacks, animal crackers...)
The majority of people are super friendly and understanding of the challenges of traveling with a child and they want to help as much as they can.
I hope this is helpful to you. Good luck.
We flew to japan when my baby was 11.5 months old and he was most interested in the stuff in the seat pocket such as the inflight magazine and emergency instruction pamphlet. We also brought a giant ziploc bag full of small new cheap toys from the dollar store and target. Also when entering the airport security line, ask if there’s a family line which will be a shorter line if they have one. And I always take all my liquids like milk and purée pouches out of my diaper bag and put them in a bin by themself for the X-ray machine. That way only that bin will get pulled for further inspection rather than the entire diaper bag and risk the agents pulling all the belongings out and making a mess.
Snacks all the snacks you can take. We also flew early morning so he had just woken up and was way happier than nap time. Also we gave him his tablet and some juice as special travel treats