Toddlers on a plane can be scarier than snakes on a plane. Although being trapped on a plane at 30,000 feet with snakes makes my skin crawl so I think I’d rather be on a plane with toddlers. On January 5th we put Sammy on a plane for the first time in his life.
It was a direct flight from Sacramento to Maui that took 5.5 hours going and 4.5 hours coming back. Now, behind my calm exterior, I must admit I was quite worried. I was worried that I was going to have THAT kid on the damn plane that made all the kidless people wonder what the hell we were doing. I also imagined there being ten other kids on the plane and that they’d be perfect while Sammy was running up and down the aisle screaming and throwing empty Vodka bottles at passengers.
I mean, if you’re going to throw Vodka bottles make sure they’re full, right?
I was also concerned about take-off and landing because everybody warns you about ears popping and children screaming over it. Guess what happened? We went prepared with things for him to chew on plus his sippy cup and…nothing happened. He was fine. In fact, he didn’t really use anything we brought to help with the ears and all went well. More worrying for no reason.
The flight home he did even better. He even fell asleep about five minutes after the wheels left the ground and proceeded to sleep for an hour and a half-ish. I would say there were about 45 minutes on each flight where he just got bored enough to be a little antsy. Other than that, he was awesome.
Add to that the day prior to flying to Maui we drove from Paso to Sacramento (4.5 hour drive) and the day after we flew back to Sacramento we drove from Sac to Paso. The kid did well sitting in the car, sitting on the plane, and so on. Why the hell did I worry so much? Part of it is just my nature. I don’t want to put other people out because I have a kid I can’t control but the other part is that everyone is so eager to tell you THEIR horror stories.
Remember, THEIR horror stories are exactly that, THEIRS! Their horror stories of traveling with kids do not have to become yours. Take a deep breath, be smart about the travel aspects, come as prepared as possible, and beyond that…just take a deep breath and let it go.
One of the main reasons Annie and I agreed to do this trip was to test ourselves and push our comfort zones. The test went well and we were certainly pushed out of those pesky comfort zones. The trip proved that we are capable parents and it convinced us that there will be more plane travel in our future.
The most important thing to remember when traveling with kids is to be prepared with distractions. Toys, books, iPad, iPhone, or whatever it is that will keep the kid entertained. Planes are not the time to have the “no screen time” rule in place. Give in to any of their demands in order to make the flight smooth for you, for the kid, and for the other humans on the plane.
Below you’ll see some pics of Sammy on the plane.