With George Bush Intercontinental Airport a mere 15 minutes from Balmoral, our residents can easily get anywhere in the world. Doing so with kids — especially young ones — can be a little challenging. Here are a few tips that will ensure your flight is a success:
Talk to the Kids
If your kids are veteran flyers, they know what to expect. If this is your child’s first flight, talk to them about what will happen, including going through security, boarding the plane and rules for staying seated.
Book the Right Flight
It’s worth the extra money to book a direct flight — or at least choose flights with fewer layovers. Fewer stops mean not having to deal with connecting flights, delayed layovers, multiple takeoffs and lost luggage.
Think About Seating Arrangements
When booking your flight, pick seats that are together even if it means additional fees. You don’t want to rely on strangers to give up their seats. Consider buying a seat for your baby or toddler. Purchasing a seat for your baby means you have a place for your car seat. Having a squirming toddler on your lap for an extended flight is never fun.
Find Kid-Friendly Airlines
Check with your carrier to see if they have amenities that make flying with the family easier. Jet Blue offers plenty of legroom, free inflight Wi-Fi and personal TVs at every seat. They are also generous with the snacks. With Southwest Airlines, bags fly free and families with children under age 6 board together. Alaska Airlines reserves a couple of “family rows” for each flight and provides a snack basket for kids shortly before landing.
Pack everything you need, including snacks, drinks, toys and entertainment for your kids. Bring extra bags for your trash. Pacifiers, gum and lollypops help children deal with air pressure changes. Don’t forget to charge all electronic devices. You may also want to bring a change of clothes in case of spills or accidents.
Build in plenty of time to get to the airport and through security with time for bathroom breaks. For domestic flights, arrive at least two hours before your flight. Leave even more time for international flights. Make the move to Balmoral and you won’t have to get up quite so early to drive to the airport.
Less is More
Carrying a child and heavy bags is not fun. Check as much as you can. Think about whether you can borrow or rent playpens, highchairs and other items when you get to your destination. Strollers can be rented at your destination, but if your child is comfortable in their own, bring it and check it at the gate.
Getting Though Security
Talk to your kids before getting into the security line. You do not want your child melting down when they find out their favorite toy must ride on the conveyer belt.
Slip-on shoes make life easier. Avoid bringing unnecessary liquids but know that the TSA has said that formula, breast milk, juice, baby food and even liquid medications in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces are exempt from the 3-1-1 liquids rule.
Tire Them Out
Kids need to move, and that isn’t possible on a plane. Help kids burn off some energy by walking them around the airport. Challenge them to walk on all the moving walkways or take them for a walking tour of the gates.
Relax, It Will Be Fun
The best thing you can do to prepare for your flight is relax. Kids pick up on parents’ anxieties, so react accordingly. Model good flight behavior and encourage your kids to follow your lead. Relaxing also helps get everyone in the mood for the best vacation ever.