Over the River and Through the Air…

If you are planning to fly, the trip to Grandma’s house may take a little longer than you would like. Here’s what to expect at the airport.

By FamilyTime


In the best of times, traveling with the kids can be stressful, but these days with increased airport security, even the calmest parent can be challenged.

At no time will this be truer than during the holidays, when the airports are at their busiest. Before you leave home, know what to expect.

Pack Smart
Airlines have limited carry-on luggage to one piece plus one personal item. The personal item might be a tote bag, briefcase, or laptop computer. If your carry-on bag is large, you may be asked to check it.

Child restraint seats are not considered carry-on luggage. Bring them for children young enough to need them in a car and strap them into the airplane seat. Your child may just fall asleep as he does in the car!

The kids can carry a small backpack with their books, hand-held electronic games, and treats. Don't pack any food or liquids that are not permitted through security.

Be smart about what you and the kids pack. For example, don’t pack a blunt kitchen knife with the idea that you will slice an apple in flight. Slice the apple at home.

Don’t let your children bring any toy that resembles a weapon. While you might think a water pistol is perfectly harmless, the airlines will not share your view.

If your kids plan to draw or color on board, let them bring crayons, pencils, and markers packed in a clear, zipped plastic bag. The airlines may want to examine them. Leave scissors, even blunt ones, paints and glue at home.

Even safety pins are banned from planes, so if you use pins and cloth diapers for your baby, switch to disposable diapers for the flight.

Both you and the kids should be prepared to turn computers on when you go through security -– even small hand-held ones.

If you or your child has medical needs requiring syringes, be sure to bring the medication in professionally labeled packaging. Call ahead to determine if the airline needs more verification.

Finally, suggest that everyone wear shoes that are easy to take on and off so that you can remove them when you go through security. Be sure jackets and scarves are easy to remove, too.

Leave Lots of Time
Airlines advise passengers to arrive at airports at least two hours ahead of time for domestic flights and three hours for international flights. On Thanksgiving and other major holidays, allow even more time.

Allow extra time for parking, too. You may be required to park at a distance from the terminal and take a shuttle bus.

If you drop your family at curbside before you park, do not leave the car unattended for even an instant. Airports are diligent about ticketing and even towing unattended cars.

Security officials are not too patient with dawdling families and prolonged goodbyes at curbside, too. If you are dropping loved ones off at the airport, say goodbye at home!

Use public transportation, airport vans, or car services, if possible.