Flying with 2 and 3 yr olds


Earning My Ears
May 11, 2001
I posted a similar message on the transportation board, but someone mentioned posting it here to get more ideas. I hope you all can help!

In May, my husband and I are flying to MCO from Indy on SWA with a 2 yr old and 3 yr old. My husband and I have flown before, but not with two toddlers in tow! We are a little apprehensive taking them on an airplane.

Some questions I have...
We will have to leave our car in long term parking. Should we unload luggage at the curb side service first and then take the car to long term parking? Or is there a better way?

How well do strollers work in the airport? Would it be best to leave them at home and get some at Disney or rent a couple when we get there from Baby's Away?

What is the best way to haul carseats around the airport?

What things can/should we bring on the plane with us? It's a two hour flight.

We will also be renting a car when we get there from a place in the airport. What is the best way to do this when trying to get luggage, get the car, and keep track of two children?

A lot of questions, but since we haven't had this experience before, we need all the help we can get!

We would like things to go as smoothly as possible since this is our kids first time on an airplane.

hi - we've travelled with our kids since they were about 18 mos old (respectively) - and
found some helpful hints we could pass along

first - we've travelled w/o & w/stroller in the airport and have found that taking the stroller
into the airport is so helpful - no wandering or worrying about carrying little ones & the
carry-ons - and this helps for the next hint

we've always used curbside dropoff - and when the kids were small we've done it two
ways -

depending on how much traffic there is - you may not get enough time for two people
to check in luggage - so we've set up the stroller & put the kids in them & then checked
in the bags - and if there's a lot of traffic - it's easier for one person to check in the bags
and the other to take the car when the kids are already in the stroller -

because of identification - the other person will have to show id - but you could wait at
baggage check-in for the car person to come back or move inside and then proceed together
to the counter - (if there's no traffic both can check in at baggage check-in and everything
is okay after that)

for carry-ons - we always bring juice or milk boxes (enough for take off & landing to pop e
ears) - and snacks (kids definately don't like the "meals" that are given) - and we've
actually gotten tape or cd players for the kids to use - it's a treat - and disney books
on tape will make the time go by - we've also collected kid's meal toys from the fast
food restuarants & give them to the kids for the flights - they're not their real toys
so if they're left behind there's not too much crying

another thing we bring is benadryl and/or sudafed incase they're ears have a little
fluid -

and lastly - a stuffed animal - the plane noises are not so scarry when they have a
stuffed animal with them

good luck - and don't worry - there'll be lots of kids with you on the flight - so everyone
else is going to be in the same boat (plane) as you

keep them interested - one is to hone adult watches the kids and the other takes
care of the
We were not allowed to do curbside checkin for a November, 2001 trip (post 9/11 climate?) so verify in advance that it is possible or it may throw a monkey-wrench into your plans. Definitely bring a stroller. We found a double umbrella stroller by Kolcraft (it reclines partially and has sunshades) and we were able to sling the carseats over the handles of the stroller in back. It was a little awkward to push, but I don't know what the alternative would have been because we had quite a few carry-ons (diaper bag, video camera, backpacks, etc.). It's not the easiest to push, especially when loaded up with kids and carseats, so we chose to rent a couple of times while at WDW, but it was a lifesaver at the airport. Good luck and have fun!
WE have been travelling with our child since he was 6 months old. Here i swhat we found out use.

First, each child is different, he loves flying and has since his first trip, so airplanes are not a problem. But, beware my niece's son (age 5) hate them and is more of a challenge.

Stroller - yes - use it. as stated in another post, it is a great way to keep track of the child while in a busy, confusing place. WE use a Sit-n-Stroll, it is a car sedat and stroller in one - greatest invention I found for travel with a child.

Things for the plane: Child's favorite buddy/stuffy that is small, juices, snacks, hand held games, colorbook and some crayons, pacifier (if child uses one - great for keeping ears clear during take offs and landings).

Car rental - we always take eveything and go get the car together - faster in the long run with less hassles. Remember to take a few tie downs with you. With children you use up a lot more space - nevr hurts to be able to expand the trunk a little bit with a tie down or bungee cord.

Good luck, our first experience with the child was a lot of fun.

WDW with children, nothing beats it :pinkbounc

Just a suggestion, especially at the Orlando airport. Have one of the porters help you. They have a nice size cart. Scoop up all the luggage, will take you to the rental car counter, and also right to the rental car! It can be quite a walk to cover all that area. It is worth the tip to do this!
Ditto to what kiddisney said! We usually do the same.

With Orlando and car rental, you may want to first go to baggage claims and then go to rental counter together, since you haven't done the trip with your children before. There are luggage carts you can rent for a dollar or two in the baggage claims area. One of you can push the stroller while the other pushes this with luggage and carseats stacked on top.

For our upcoming trip, our children will be 2.5 and 4.5, and DH and I will probably split up with the kids. Him taking the oldest to baggage claim, and me taking youngest in stroller to car rental. Also, we're almost certain we'll be going with a Dollar reservation we have. They have built-in child seats in their minivans, so it'll eliminate the need for us to lug around car seats. I'll let you know how that goes!

We wished several times on our trip we had brought a couple bungie cords from home, we would have used them to attach our car seat to the luggage or stroller as we moved through the airport.

Our 2 year old has flown several times, and we found a couple crayons and some blank paper were great for the couple times she was actually awake during the flight. She falls asleep on long car rides, true also about planes. Her best helper on the plane is her favorite blanket from home, it has helped her as she throws it over her head when the plane pushes back from the gate and she is usually asleep before we actually take off. Also it helps in the hotel rooms with giving her something familiar and comforting when she was overtired (easy to have happen at WDW!)

Don't forget to have a pack of extra wipes for the travel time, to clean up hands when the sink is not always available and to clean up dirty airplane trays.

Southwest does allow preboarding for parents traveling with small kids - we have done it two ways - Dad goes on with the seat and gets ready while DD and I run around and get the last bugs out, or if she is already tired or close to nap or bedtime we all board together and she says hi and makes friends with the flight crew while he gets her carseat installed into the airplane seat. They do not offer significant discounts for kids traveling in their own seats, however make sure you ask sometimes it is slightly less than the sale price. And, bring snacks from home - they don't always have something kid safe or in the right quantity for them to snack on.

We used to do the drop-off thing, but it got too problematic with the new security; they don't like people waiting around with luggage anymore, and they are suspicious when members of a seated party check in separately.

I checked around, and I found an offsite commercial lot that we like a lot. It's worth the extra $ to have the driver help you get the bags on and off the bus. (Tips again.)
I dont knowabout the airport where you are flying from, but we always use an airport valet service. This particular one, Pacifico, in Phila. drives you in your own car to the airport, the valet helps you with your luggage and drives off with your car, to be parked in their lot. When you arrive back at the airport you call them and they pick you up in your own car. This is very convenient with small children.

We have found stickers, and sticker books to be invaluable when flying. Our (then) 2 yr old loved this reusable sticker book that we found where he could remake the picture over and over again. Avoid toys with pieces that can (and will) fall on the floor of the plane, we once brought a barrel of monkeys which proved to be a poor choice for a plane toy. Crayola makes erasable markers with special books that can be wiped clean and reused. Crayons are a good standby, but I would limit the number in the plane to avoid having to crawl around the floor looking for them.
Bring small bags of treats, such as goldfish, ritz bits, small boxes of cereal, juice boxes, fruit roll ups. Starburst chews work well during descent to get your child to chew and swallow to equalize ear pressure.
Take the stroller and "gate check it". What you do is go to the gate where your plane is. Tell the agent there that you want to gate check the stroller. They will put a tag on it. You can take the stroller all the way up to the door of the plane, where they will take if from you and it will be brought to the same place when you land.

When you rent a stroller at WDW you can also use it in the parks. So you won't have one at the hotel, going to and from the bus stops, etc. At the end of the day with 2 tired kids you will want a stroller for outside of the parks.
We gate check a wheelchair all the time, so I feel like the queen of gate checking.
I'd suggest you ask about gate checking when you first check in for your flight. Most of the time they will give you the gate check tag then. Occasionally, they will say to ask the gate agent, but it's much easer to get it ahead of time if you can.
Some of the gate check tags have choices on them of where you can have the item delivered; the gate or baggage claim at your final destination or your connecting city (if you don't have a non-stop flight). When you get to the gate, fold the stroller and make sure it will stay folded. Some people bring stroller bags to store it in. At least make sure it is fastened so nothing will pop open. The last step is to make sure you remember to pick it up on your way out. We are usually the last people off the plane and we often see a stroller patiently waiting at the gate for someone who forgot they gate checked it.
We have travelled many times with our now 3 year old, so here's my two cents.

I agree with finding a good off-site, long term parking (if your airport has it). We use Kinney park in Philly, and the drivers always help load and unload the bags.

Definately take the stoller. Keeps the kids contained, and checking it at the gate is no problem. As far as renting from WDW vs. taking your own, I think the rule of thumb is if you take your own stroller to the mall, you take it to WDW. Esp. if you you planning to drive to the attractions, just think about having to haul a tired toddler to the car after you return your stroller.

As for the car seat, we bought a car seat carrier at Babies R Us. I worked out really well for checking the seat. You may be thinking of taking the seats with you on the plane, and I wouldn't discourage you because they would be safest in the seat, but we had the check the seat the last time, because the time before that my DS spent practically the whole flight kicking the seat in front of him.

On flight entertainment. The best thing I brought last time for my then 2 1/2 year old was silly puddy. He loved it, and it kept him busy for a full 45 minutes (pretty long for him). He also like the travel magnadoodle. Plenty of snacks also helped out.

Have fun!


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