Any kind of travel with children requires a lot of planning and patience, but flying is the most difficult. Young children are just not made to stay in a confined space for several hours at a time. It’s hard for most adults!
Philadelphia is an especially difficult airport because it is so large, and finding your way can be complicated. Planes at PHL often have to wait in line for take-off or to find a jet way, so it can add extra time to your trip.
If you are going to fly with kids, here are a few things to keep in mind.
When traveling with a child under 2, you will often have a choice whether or not to buy your child a seat. Many people feel strongly about this one way or another, but it is your decision. If you do buy a seat and bring your car seat along, keep in mind that the car seat will have to go by the window and cannot be in an exit row. The airline will not tell you this until you have already managed to attach your seat to the plane. Also not all seats will fit on an airplane seat, so make sure yours does.
You can buy carrying bags and even stroller type attachments to make travel through the airport with a car seat easier.
Take your stroller to the gate with you. They will check it for you as you board the airplane. If you are not using your car seat on the plane, you can check it with other checked luggage at the ticketing counter.
When going through security, remember that DVD players and other electronics should be taken out of their bags. Your children, even babies, will be asked to take off their shoes. Your stroller must be folded up and put through the bag screening machine.
Bring snacks and buy water and juice before you board. The TSA will allow you to bring child-size containers of juice and formula, but they might give you a problem with larger sized items. Buy these liquids at the airport. Don’t count on getting your child a drink on the plane. Some airlines are now charging even for water, and often your child will have to wait for a drink. It’s easiest to have it with you. Snacks are also very important.
Have your child use the bathroom, and change babies’ diapers before boarding the plane. Keep in mind that there will be times when your child will not be allowed to get up and use the bathroom. Plan accordingly. The recently potty trained should probably be wearing pull-ups.
Please don’t drug your kids to make them sleep on an airplane. Your mother-in-law might think this is a good idea, but it’s not right to give kids medicine that they don’t need.
Last but not least, keep in mind the golden rule of travel with children. Your kid doesn’t have to be the best behaved child on the airplane just as long as he’s not the worst.