Airport Diversions and other Kid-Friendly Tips
Summertime travel with children, especially when it includes airports, can be challenging. Jerry Chandler, aviation expert and father of five, is a correspondent for Cheapflights’ "Flight News" blog. He offers these tips for families flying with kids.
• Book direct, non-stop flights whenever possible, to avoid airplane changes. On international flights, try to travel at night, so children can sleep.
• Ask about early boarding to avoid crowds; many airlines pre-board families traveling with children.
• If your child requires a car seat, call ahead to ask about on-board car seat regulations and availability; you might need to bring your own.
• New laws require that every child, no matter how young, travel with a valid individual passport for international travel — children can no longer travel on their parents’ passport.
• Keep kids busy! Choose an airline with movies and seat back video games for older kids. For younger ones, pack crayons, paper, books on tape, cards, stuffed animals, etc. in your carry on, but don’t unpack them all at once.
• Bring snacks. New regulations prohibit passengers from carrying liquids through the security checkpoint, so leave time to purchase water and juice in the terminal prior to boarding. Rice cakes, breadsticks, dried fruit and small boxes of dry cereal are great portable snacks.
• Prepare for the worst. Snacks and activities will be especially needed if you are delayed on the tarmac for an extra two hours. Arriving at the airport early will leave plenty of time for crowded security checkpoints.
• Many infants under age 2 experience ear pain when changing altitudes, which can cause cabin-rattling crying. Encourage swallowing, which reduces discomfort, by giving them a bottle or pacifier.
If you have hours to kill in an airport, check out the new, free Kids Airport Diversion Guide from flight deals publisher Cheapflights.com, available at www.cheapflights.com/guides/. The guide features kid-friendly diversions at 22 U.S. airports — everything from Kidports at the Boston Logan and Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airports, to the Kids on the Fly exhibit at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport, to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s Junior Flyer Clubs. Airport activities range from 3,000-gallon fish tanks to live music stages, allowing you to start your kids’ vacation at the airport.