How to have stress-free air trips with children
April 25, 2013 10:50 AM

I’d never seen a stranger grimace at the sight of my children until the first time I walked onto an airplane with them. No one wants to find themselves on a plane with children. I was apprehensive about it myself, and they’re my little darlings.

My sons were 3 1/2 and 9 months old when we set off for Tallahassee en route to St. George Island, off the panhandle of Florida. Air travel is torture to begin with, and as our departure drew closer, I worried about Rushton, my older son, disappearing into the crowd at the airport; or Devlin, the baby, screaming his head off, or a delay stranding us in an airport.

Only one of these three things happened. On the first leg of the flight home, Devlin was inconsolable. But on the whole, it went better than I expected. Here are things I learned:

We wanted to eat and get the kids settled before we got on the plane, but it was a mad dash.

And speaking of boarding passes, you have to ask for one for your lap-child, even though you didn’t buy a seat for him. We didn’t get a boarding pass for Devlin when we checked in, which led to confusion and delay at the gate. An airline employee had to create one while I stood there, holding up the line.

The airline might ask to see proof of age if your child is approaching the cutoff for lap travel (2 years old), but otherwise they assume you’re allowed to be traveling with the kids you have with you. No birth certificates necessary.

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