Friday, April 12, 2013

Fear of Flying

The boys and I are going on a trip on Monday.  We are super excited to see friends and family to do special fun things.  I will be extra excited after I have a large chunk of items crossed off my mile-long prepping-for-the-trip-to-do list.  So much to do!

But for now, I'm experiencing a fear of flying.  I haven't had to fly on a commercial flight for about 2 1/2  years (totally lucked out on that one), not since Gunner was still a lap child.  Hobbes has never been on a plane.  Spiff is staying home to work, so I'll be doing this alone.

I looked online last night for tips for flying with young kids.  Mostly, I was looking for fun game and entertainment ideas for the kids.  But what I got was stories like this one, which made me terribly afraid to take my kids on a plane!  Not that I think someone is going to slap my kid, but I guess it's not out of the realm of possibilities.  Other possibilities running through my head are that Hobbes runs away and gets lost in the airport.  Can you say "Loose Cannon", folks?  Because that's what he is.  I lost him in the library the other day.  Keeping track of him in an airport is going to be tricky, to say the least.

So, I'm looking for ideas.  Real ones.  Ones you use with your kids.  What works to keep your kids happy(ish) and cooperative(ish) in the airport and on the plane.
Friends, help me get through this, please!

What we have:
We all have our own seats on the plane.
We have a layover.
The boys each have their own backpack.
I have my Ipad.

Questions I have:
How do I get all my stuff (carseats, luggage, etc.) from the car to the check-in?
How do you handle food/snacks/meals?
How do you decide what to bring in carry-on bags in order to be prepared for all possibilities, without bringing too much to carry?

And please enlighten me on all things I haven't thought of.
Thanks ahead of time!  My love to you all (all eight of you)!


Mhana said...

Well obviously I don't ahve kids. But here are my thoughts.

1) Use a luggage cart to get from A to B. They have them in parkign lots/ by the curb drop off. You have to pay a little, but it seems like the most logical way to load up all of the luggage and your children. Surely people do this every day, right? So there must be a procedure.

2) Food has always been an inducement for me. So maybe in your layover have the TCBY or hwatever they ahve, and run feral for a little bit? Having a treat partway might be good.

3) I have heard of people bringing baggies of cookies and earplugs or some such thing as a goodwill offering to the people sitting around you.

Bring things to suck on to help with the ear pressure so they're swallowing, like suckers or gum or something.

Can you do that thing with pipe cleaners in a jar with a magnet to play with? That seems like a fun quiet game for wee ones.

Good luck!!!

Lauren said...

Do you have someone who can drive you to the airport and wait with them in the car (circling the drop off zone if you can't park) while you do the check in/luggage check? If not the luggage cart idea is good. I'd take an umbrella stroller or a leash for Hobbes so you can contain him. I've done both and it was a lifesaver. On the plane having favorite special snacks is good (one of the only time I dole out candy with reckless abandon) and new apps/movies for the pad. When I flew solo with two I checked one huge bag then only had a diaper bag, and J had a backpack that contained his snacks, toys and blanket, along with a change of clothes in a plastic bag. Only carry on what you absolutely can't live without. I know the horror stories of being trapped for hours on the tarmac, but I take my chances that all will be well. Good luck! We've flown every year so far with the kids and it does get easier!

Kara said...

So, I consider myself an expert in traveling with my children and dog, but every family is different. You know your kids and will have a pretty good idea what will work with them (or not work).
You'll also find lots of good tips with a google search, I'm sure. My strategy revolves around distraction, bribery, and back-up plans for bodily fluid disasters.
In my diaper bag, I keep plastic bags that could be used to hold any contaminated clothing. I also pack an Aldi shopping bag, because if you need to free up your hands you can throw lots of stuff in it (like lunches, jackets, etc). I have a pair of pajamas for each kid as a back-up outfit, because they are more compact to pack than clothes, and also make a lot of sense for a late flight.
You know what your kids currency is, use it. Gigi will do anything for candy, so I pack suckers to be used in exchange for quiet. Henry loves electronics, so a charged device will keep him happy nearly the whole flight. Maybe for your kids it's lego or stickers. If using electronics, practice headphone usage ahead of time.
Moving all your luggage and stuff: I take a double stroller, load my luggage and carseats onto it, and pull a roller bag. I make my kids walk until I have checked he bags, then they go into the stroller. I understand this may not be a good strategy with Hobbes. Leaving the car seats at home makes things easier if someone at your destination can arrange to borrow ones for you.
First thing I do when I sit down is make sure there is an air sickness bag in my seat back pocket. We've only had vomit on three of our flights, but once is enough to force you into making it a priority.

Look sharp. My theory is if you look like a nice, cute family and things aren't going great, people think "Poor kid is having a rough day." But if you look disheveled and sloppy, they assume you're an incompetent parent.

If you're changing planes at Midway, I recommend the Potbelly sandwich shop. Good luck and have a wonderful trip!

Mindy said...

Bless you, my friends!