Flying with twins (15 months) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 08-18-2006, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This isn't a question about the recent flight changes, I'll have to think about that later...

My Mother in Law is buying us tickets to fly across the country for Xmas this year, the boys will be 15 months. She is buying 2 tickets. I have heard parents talk about how great it is to fly before babies are old enough to need their own seat (is this 2yrs?) as they fly free. However, when there are 2 babies... each of us having one in our lap the WHOLE time, seems like it might be a bad idea. Right now (11 months) they are just starting to get really mobile, starting to walk, etc, I can only imagine that increasing.

My husband and I decided we should buy a third ticket, and at least have the whole row to ourselves, and have the option of putting one or the other in the middle seat if/when needed.

Questions:
1) any advice from those who have done this around that age?
2) Can they just sit in the plane seat or do they HAVE to have a car seat?
we were planning on renting a van with baby seats at the other end and not lugging our carseats around
3) Is this going to be really misreable, or will it be OK? (just kiddin, but I'm pretty stressed about it)
4) Anything else I may not be thinking about?
5) just thought of another - where do you change diapers?

we are going to try to book the flight out at night, so they will be sleepier... which of course means they might be screaming until they can settle in and nurse - can you nurse at the same time on a plane? I can envision it working.

thanks for any thoughts/suggestions/support

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#2 of 25 Old 08-18-2006, 08:02 PM
 
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Before you get ahead of yourselves you and your DH should know you won't be allowed to sit next to each other UNLESS you get that 3rd seat. Since the babies are so young you could sit them on your lap, but due to O2 mask placement you wouldn't have enough in one row. If you get that 3rd seat you should be ok. Next, I would request bulkhead seating if possible. It will give you more room for your gear and to move about. As for diaper changes, I don't have any good recommendation for you. We didn't fly that far so we were able to do changes at the airports. Flying with DD at that age wasn't horrible, just pack lots of snacks, and put some surprises into the bag, like new toys or books. HTH.

Mama to 4 darlings. A ('03), O and K ('06), A ('09), and wife to M since 2002.
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#3 of 25 Old 08-19-2006, 03:36 AM
 
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Well, I'm going to give it to you straight. We fly every year x-country with our twins (now 3.5yo) and the WORST experience was when they were nearly 2yo. Second worst when they were almost 1yo. Last year, when they were almost 3yo, it was fine.

I'll give you the experience I had when they were almost 2yo, since that is close to where your kids will be....

I would seriously advise AGAINST the nighttime plane ride. You THINK they'll be tired (theoretically they should be, right?) but we did that with mine and they were so hyped up from being on a plane, bright lights in the airport, etc, that they became overly tired and therefore totally psychotic and whining, crying, screaming, fighting, and... I wanted to jump off the plane. Along with the rest of the passengers.

We had 3 seats, so we just traded off who sat by themselves -- and I think we ended up with both of us holding one baby and the extra seat empty. Dh and I each had an aisle seat, and I had a seat next to me.

It was misery. We flew from SoCal to Fla, and I seriously contemplating moving permanently to Fla so we'd never have to fly home.

HOWEVER... my experience was really extreme. When they were almost 3yo, they were fine. And I've never talked to anyone else who had THAT BAD of an experience so yours will probably be better.

A friend of mine took her nearly 2yo twins to Australia -- 18 hours by HERSELF -- and they were fine.
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#4 of 25 Old 08-19-2006, 06:22 AM
 
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OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I understand, not everyone has the knowledge that I do, so I want to give you some advice. My husband is an A&P - he fixes airplanes. NO ONE on that airplane should be without some type of restraint...i.e. seatbelts. Do you know that there are a number of deaths each year due to turbulance? (The person isn't wearing their seatbelt, and the plane drops, the person in turn ends up against the ceiling!) Did you know that most airlines only charge half price for kids under the age of 2? You may be able to call the airline and tell them that you have twins and need seperate seats due to them being in their carseats. (Also, this way, the kids usually realize that they need to chill out...they are in "travelling mode." As for the seating arangement, it was window seat (one kid in carseat, aisle seat me, aisle, single seat across from aisle other kid in carseat.) The workers at the airport will make every effort to have loading and unloading work easier for you....letting you get on first, giving you a little time to get things settled (and all the stuff!) As for take-off and landing, I know you said you were nursing, this is the most important time to have them restrained. Are your kids starting solids? What about giving them something to nibble on....toast or perhaps a bit of banana in one of those mesh bags? (Just a suggestion...)
I so understand about flying with twins. Me and the girls have been out to PA twice, once when they were 11 months, and again at 4. (Much easier at 4 I must admit!) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't fly without your kids in their FAA lic. carseats! Would you fly without your belt?

DH Cain Mamma to 3 girls LO due 2/15
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#5 of 25 Old 08-19-2006, 01:08 PM
 
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So here is my non-twin flying experience and adavice (and thank you for bringing this up as I am trying to figure out the best time to travel back east with my twins due in october)

I will be very honest, traveling with mobile children is very hard. I would say that until 7-9 months, it is a piece of cake. For us, it was pure misery until about 2. I never did buy seats for my kids until 2 (frugal) and I do believe from now on I will find a way between those ages. Not because of safety (I know I sound terrible) but babies just know that when thay are in their car seats, they are not getting out and they have to chill. When my son was about 15 months old, he wanted to run up and down the asile and would scream and thrash to be let down. I ended up sitting in the back of the plane by where the stewards hang out and held him while he screamed until he fell asleep simply because anything else was completly unsafe. It was pretty awful. My daughter is about 17 mos now and despite a very happy temperment, she will fight to be put down when there is something she wants to do. I couldn't imagine handling that with 2. I definately couldn't. At 2 when I started buying a seat for my son, flying became easy. I brought a car seat until he was big enough not to need one to be comfortable in the seat. That corresponded to when he was mature enough to handle plane rides relativly easily.

My experience is also that night time flights can backfire. the best time of the day for us has been first thing in the morning. We usually arrive at the airport with the kids still in their pajamas. I make sure I got enough rest so that I can handle the challenge without losing my mind and morning is usually my kids best behaved time of the day. Arriving somewhere late at night when I am tired and they are tired is not usually a pretty picture.

Pack light for carry on. Juggling too much can be a huge challenge. You want to have enough for the day of travel but not much more. In the beginning, I packed the carryon for any possible need and then spent the day juggling my baby plus a huge, heavy bag that I barely needed to touch.

So, pack light, GET THE EXTRA SEATS FOR YOUR SANITY, get plenty of sleep, and travel early. In my expereince, this made traveling pretty simple....

Now, my twins are due in October and I have no twin knowhow, hopefully that will come from everyone else!

Tassy
DS 5, DD 17mos, g/g twins due Oct 12

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#6 of 25 Old 08-20-2006, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for all the replies...
I admit I haven't thought all this through too much.

One thing about the carseats in the plane, I was trying to think if I have EVER seen anyone using one... and I couldn't, and when I was talking to my mom she couldn't either. Is it not very common? I remember seeing carseats and strollers getting checked right at the plane entrance.
Plus we don't have the easy small snap in seats, we have the big convertible ones... a pain to lug around, pain to install in cars so we always leave them put. Maybe we'll consider buying a used smaller type...?

As for nursing on the plane, I just heard that the take off and landing can hurt their ears and that nursing is the best way for them to be able to equalize. They will be eating snacks and I will have some along.

Luckily my husband will be along (it sounds like some of you traveled alone with twins, which I couldn't imagine!).

I am tending to agree about the night flying backfire... we tried that once just driving somewhere and they screamed and screamed - even after stopping twice trying to soothe them, it was the most awful experience - can't imagine (or I CAN imagine) that happening in the air with everyone else having to listen too.

would you all recommend having a stop over in the middle somewhere or trying to go straight? We are going from Cali to NC. The only thing about the stopover that might be nice is, easier diaper changes if needed, get up and stretch, etc.

I'm excited about the possibility the seat for the kid(s) might be 1/2 price!

thanks again, continued advice/ideas will be great!

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#7 of 25 Old 08-21-2006, 03:46 AM
 
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For the love of all that is holy -- GO DIRECTLY THERE, DO NOT STOP!

I say this because once we had a connection. Kids slept BEAUTIFULLY -- for about an hour, during our first flight. We got to our connection, and they screamed from the moment we got on the second flight til we got to our destination.
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#8 of 25 Old 08-21-2006, 04:49 AM
 
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NO ONE on that airplane should be without some type of restraint...i.e. seatbelts. Do you know that there are a number of deaths each year due to turbulance? (The person isn't wearing their seatbelt, and the plane drops, the person in turn ends up against the ceiling!)
:

Also, the highest risk for an incident is during takeoff and landing and the safest place for your child is strapped into an FAA approved seat. You would not be able to hold onto your child in the event of an accident and your child would just be launched out of your arms. I really don't know why they don't make this the law.

I've traveled a LOT w/my son and have lugged even my son's HUGE Britax Wizard (Marathon) on my back. It's totally worth it to be safe and also has the side benefit of being more comfortable for your child (AND you) once they are on the plane. They are used to the drill of having to sit in the carseat and be strapped in. For ear comfort I'd suggest pumping and bringing some along for landing so you can give them a bottle. Or, if you do juice or milk you could get some from the flight attendant and give that in the bottle. Takeoff doesn't seem to cause as much discomfort. If they won't take a bottle bring along lollipops or gummi bears for them.

I second trying to get the bulkhead. If you do, you can do diaper changes on the floor in front of your feet. An added bonus is that they can't kick the seat in front of them! One bumer about bulkhead is that you can't store stuff under the seat in front of you. You'll have the little magazine rack thingies which are only good for a few books, toys, snacks. Everything else has to go in the overhead bin.

Seat selection will depend on the plane configuration. Sometimes a good strategy is to reserve seats w/a gap between them and hope no one sits there. I.E. if it's a 3 and 3 configuration (JetBlue) then you could reserve aisle/window and aisle window across from each other. More than likely if someone sits in one of those seats they'll WANT to swap.
For info on the various plane layouts, first figure out which airline/flight it is so you know the plane type and go to http://www.seatguru.com.

Also, regarding airline selection: My favorite for travel w/in the US is JetBlue. They typically have friendly/more understanding flight crews, they allow pre-boarding (most airlines don't anymore) AND each seat has it's own video screen. That way, if they are showing something scary or inappropriate you don't have to spend 5 hours trying to distract your child from watching the screen. You can choose to have them on or off.

Some of the big carriers (United and American) fly either 767's or 777's for some of the coast to coast flights. These can be nice because they have the middle row of 4 or 5 seats. Also, I believe these are the only planes which have changing tables in the bathrooms. My son has always been big and didn't fit on one past the age of one so I didn't really use them much.

Oh, bring LOTS of that hand sanitizer and wipes. I recommend wiping down ALL surfaces they might touch once you sit down. Planes are the best place to catch something IMHO and you don't want to travel back w/a stuffy toddler

Good luck and happy flying!!
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#9 of 25 Old 08-21-2006, 04:53 AM
 
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We fly X- country every year during holiday time, and this is what I've learned: #1. Babies don't get to fly free as "lap babies" after a year old. They'll each have to have their own seat. #2, DH and I had to sit in different rows because they only put extra o2 masks on one side of the plane. They won't let 4 of you sit in 3 seats if there are only 3 masks. My best advice would be to get a middle and a window seat in 2 rows, and bring lots of snacks, drinks, etc. (I'm hoping they lay off the current restrictions) Also, pack two diaper bags so each of you can be ready if you are separated. Make sure you pack Tylenol and give itt o them at takeoff. And buy them a special activity bag with toys ands tuff that is brand new, as well as a familiar lovie. If they have something to suck/swallow on (bottle, sippy, or breast) it will help their ears during takeoff, but during decent is when it really hurts and it can sometimes take a long time to get on the ground. I've worried every time we fly with kids, but each time it turns out to be cake.
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#10 of 25 Old 08-21-2006, 05:43 AM
 
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What do you reccomend when traveling from Europe to the States? Our FAA approved car seat has been refused because it didn't fit through the X-ray machine.

Paula
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#11 of 25 Old 08-21-2006, 09:37 AM
 
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I am only pregnant with twins, but I have flown with my now 3 yr old more than 15 times for sure, and five times transatlantic (Europe-US),three times before her first birthday.
I think as long as they are breastfeeding, breastfeed them as much as they will take. While my daughter was breastfeeding she woud spend the whole planeride (transatlantic 8 hours) attatched to my boob intermittently feeding and sleeping.
Later it helps to buy a couple of sticker books, a few new books, crayons and snacks she usually doesn't get (juice boxes, chocolate covered granola bars, gummy bears, etc.). Also if your kids drink milk make sure to bring some as a many airlines don't have any milk onboard (even on those long flights). Our newest discovery is putting a few episodes of her favorite show (dora the explorer) on my husbands video ipod. And make sure to bring some tylenol, just in case.

As for changing her diaper I used the mat from my diaper bag and changed her on my lap when she was little, and when she got bigger I would take her to the bathroom and change her standing up with the bathroom door open.

I have to fly with her again in October and am seriously hoping they lift or at least loosen the restrictions as most of my strategies will be out the window otherwise!
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#12 of 25 Old 08-21-2006, 12:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbelly2006
What do you reccomend when traveling from Europe to the States? Our FAA approved car seat has been refused because it didn't fit through the X-ray machine.
Sadly, I've been hassled by pretty much everyone from the ticket counter agent through security to the gate agent and flight attendant. Our Britax Wizard is about as big as they come and doesn't fit through some x-ray machines. I've always been able to have them hand inspect it though.

European Airlines are much worse about car seats. I did have German Wings and that low cost British Airline (can't remember the name right now) refuse to let me bring the seat on board. I argued for like 10 minutes w/flight attendant because she tried to tell me it wasn't safe. Yeah, like holding my baby on my lap is safer than putting him in a 5-point harness!!

If you're flying to the US I don't think you'll have this issue though, just w/in Europe.

I believe British Airways might have child seats available to reserve on some of it's transcon flights.

Anyway, I would recommend printing out the airline's policy on car seats and bringing it with you.

Here's a link to the FAA child seat page: http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/
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#13 of 25 Old 08-21-2006, 02:55 PM
 
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Just got back from flying last week w\my 20 mo old twins we have been flying on & off since they were 6 weeks old they have probbly flown 18 x and I have had help 2x . Take your car seats you don't know what shape the rental agencies seats are in if they have been in an acident don't risk it. I fly SW just because they always let me preboard and help me get the car seat strapped in for me will help out when one of they guys gets fussy and bord I have had flight crew walk them up & down the isle with them. I take snacks and emptly sippy cups they will mix juice and water for me in their cups. I would also carry some little cars for them to play with on the plane and a travel magna doodle they love it. Take 2 diaper bags just in case you and DH are seperated. I change diapers right before we board and then again mid flight I usually use my seat and just chage them on the seat with my pad from my diaper bag. Most people don't get to angry if you have a toddler who has a melt down most people have kids too. And if they are upset what are the chances you see them agin? Have fun mine always travel best on the early morning flights anytime we have taken a late night flight they don't sleep and get into the too tired mode and then causes big problems for 2 days to get them back on schedule. Also if you get delayed in the morning it's not that big of a deal but at night you can end up stuck in another town till the next day anyways so take the first flight out in the AM.
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#14 of 25 Old 08-21-2006, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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aaaaaggggghhhhhhh

this is making me not want to go now...

it all sounds so complicated.

:

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#15 of 25 Old 08-22-2006, 01:30 AM
 
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We've all done it and survived, it seems

It just takes a lot of planning, and bring wayyyyyyyyyyy more crap than you'll ever need on the flight, "just in case."

ALSO, nobody has mentioned motion sickness: my twins do not get it but my 1.5yo does, and I use Hyland's Motion Sickness pills and also Motion-Eaze.

I flew alone with my 1.5yo puking every hour and that was far worse than traveling with twins!
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#16 of 25 Old 08-22-2006, 12:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by scoobers

I second trying to get the bulkhead. If you do, you can do diaper changes on the floor in front of your feet. An added bonus is that they can't kick the seat in front of them! One bumer about bulkhead is that you can't store stuff under the seat in front of you. You'll have the little magazine rack thingies which are only good for a few books, toys, snacks. Everything else has to go in the overhead bin.
I've always been told when I was flying that people with children could not get the bulkhead seats due to the emergency door being there. I guess it could be different with each airline but you may want to check before buying the tix. Oh, and most airlines will let you board before the rest of the passengers to get settled in.

I flew with my almost 4-year-old and 21-month-old twins BY MYSELF from Baltimore to Kansas. We had one layover that put us on one those smaller planes. I had to buy the second seat so I lugged the carseat around as well as a stroller. The stroller is a must have (at least it was for me for obvious reasons) and is nice because you can take it right up to the planes door and then they store it for you until you get off the plane at your next stop.

1) any advice from those who have done this around that age?

Bring a bag of activities and QUIET toys for them to play with. I know at 15-months they don't have a long attention span but it's worth it to have that bag of tricks when needed. Buy new things that they won't see until the trip to keep them a bit more interested.

2) Can they just sit in the plane seat or do they HAVE to have a car seat?

If either baby is going to be sitting in the extra seat then they HAVE to sit in the carseat.

3) Is this going to be really misreable, or will it be OK?

Honestly, for me it wasn't too miserable. The hardest part was getting on and off the planes. Getting all three girls settled in, etc. But there were other passengers who were so helpful and you having your DH with you will make it all the more easier. We did have one flight that was cancelled after we boarded and the babies had just nursed and fallen asleep. I thought I was going to flip out at that point but somehow kept my composure.

4) Anything else I may not be thinking about?

Looks like most of the other posters have covered a lot for you.

5) just thought of another - where do you change diapers?

On your lap, on the extra seat, on the floor in front of you (if at all possible...don't forget to bring a blanket). Change their diaper right before boarding and try not to again unless things get stinky. Oh! And remember to bring bags to tie the dirty diapers up in. No one wants to smell stinky pants the whole flight.

can you nurse at the same time on a plane?

Yep. In fact, you may want to plan on nursing them at takeoff and landing to help their ears.

Karen - Mama to Haven (9/00) , Lillie & Faith (MZ - 12/02) and my first homebirthed baby, Willa (3/08)
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#17 of 25 Old 08-22-2006, 01:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 1Plus2
I've always been told when I was flying that people with children could not get the bulkhead seats due to the emergency door being there. I guess it could be different with each airline but you may want to check before buying the tix. Oh, and most airlines will let you board before the rest of the passengers to get settled in.
This actually depends on the aircraft and it's configuration. This is where http://www.seatguru.com comes in handy. You can figure out whether bulkhead is an option and where the best seats are.

Sadly, it used to be the case that most airlines would allow pre-boarding for families w/small children. However, both United and American no longer allow for that. JetBlue and Southwest still do. Not sure about other airlines.
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#18 of 25 Old 08-22-2006, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wow, I just took at look at flights every way I knew how on the internet and there are ZERO direct flights...

and we've gone on direct flights before from the same locations

that stinks.

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#19 of 25 Old 08-22-2006, 07:40 PM
 
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Have you tried http://www.kayak.com?
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#20 of 25 Old 08-23-2006, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hadn't tried that, it does provide a lot more choices, but... still no non stop flights. I wonder if it could have something to do with the recent changes.

anyhow, thanks for the link!

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#21 of 25 Old 08-23-2006, 01:10 PM
 
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Bummer, I hate plane changes. IMHO that's one of the worst parts about traveling.

Have you looked to see if there's a flight which stops but doesn't require you to change planes?

Good luck!
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#22 of 25 Old 08-25-2006, 12:05 AM
 
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i will say that in my experience, all pps are right, and all are wrong. IME, it compeletely depends on the flight crew and on-ground staff. I've been told that I bought the extra seat, one child (even though he wasn't sitting up - he was 3 months old) needed to be strapped in to the seatbelt when on the trip out, I was told that both babies needed to be held in my lap facing forward. I tried bringing on my Peg Prego infant seat, and it wouldn't fit in the seats - AT ALL. I've had helpful flight attendants, and those that want to know why I didn't bring my carseats for two twins, a singleton, and a dog - when I'm flying by myself - and THEN tell me that the flight attendant's union forbids them from helping to carry or install the carseats due to liability reasons. It has been a total crapshoot as to if the flight is peaceful or a disaster.

To the horror of many, I do not bring my carseats. I've seen the statistics, and for me, bringing the carseats is just not worth the hassle. The risk/benefit is just too low. I did bring it once (was shamed after reading so many posts here) and had to gate check it anyway. I have a greater chance of backing over my children with my car getting out of my driveway than turbulance severe enough to kill them. And when was the last US plane crash? And if you're going to nurse your children, either they or you will be out of the carseats/seatbelts, and there goes the "unexpected turbulance" benefit of the carseats.

Now that behavior profiling is being rolled out, I just want to get through the airport, to the plane and on my way. I don't want to have to fight any regulations, prove any points, bring any FAA-issued materials lest I get pulled off the fight as a risk. I argued with the flight attendant about my not-yet-sitting child not being safe and she pulled the "FAA regulations require passengers comply with all crew member instructions" cra* on me. So fine, whatever.

We fly all the time. Some flights are good. Some are bad. But nothing has ever been so bad as to keep me from flying. I think attitude and flexibility make all the difference. Think the trip is going to be a nightmere, worry about it for months, and watch it turn out to be a nightmere. Go with the 'whatever happens, happens' attitude, and probably not so bad. And I did get some good stories out of the deal.

Like the time my 5 month old had a blow-out, up the back, in the hair, poopy diaper. In the bording area. As we were about to be the last ones on the plane. I flipped him on the floor, whipped off his sleeper/diaper/onesie, wiped him up, tossed everything into a ziploc bag (the one my wipes came in! Yes, I had to use my ENTIRE supply of wipes) and tossed it in the trash. And made it on the plane with the door closed behind me.

Sorry to make this a novel. I just got home from flying today. After a 4 hour delay, 3 gate changes, and 3 tired, cranky kids. And am already thinking about flying again for Thanksgiving.

Good luck with your trip!
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#23 of 25 Old 08-25-2006, 02:00 AM
 
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ACK! You've had a long day.

I never bring my carseats either. I check them with baggage, but I have enough to haul around and worry about. I can't bring the bulky carseats. I've never gotten any trouble like that.

I always pack an extra-light overnight bag that has things like extra onesies, diapers, underwear, and toothbrushes, just bare necessities in case we end up getting delayed and having to stay overnight without our luggage.
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#24 of 25 Old 08-25-2006, 10:56 AM
 
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We traveled with our girls at this age. We didn't purchase an extra seat, but planned to ask at the check-in if there were any open seats. On the way there (Phoenix), there were no extra seats, so we held them on our laps....MISERABLE!!! : But, on the way home, it was not a full flight, so we got to take both carseats on. You can decide at the gate (if it's a full flight) to have them take your carseats from you (this was 3+ years ago). They'll take them like they'll take your stroller and make sure it gets on the plane. The way home...they slept most of the way, and when awake did quiet activities just like if they were in the car. They were not cuddly, want-to-be-held babies, so being held for 3 or more hours (when they'd just learned to walk) was torture for them. I don't know how you feel about TV, but I WISH we had our portable DVD player back then!!! They would watch a movie or two and probably fall asleep on our laps or something, or at least be still for a while. Lots and lots of fun, interesting, wierd things and snacks. "Wierd" things like texture balls, something small that they can open and close with a little surprise inside, mini-magna doodles, magnets, etc.
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#25 of 25 Old 08-29-2006, 10:03 AM
 
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I also would not recommend flying with ANY children not seated in a safety seat!

We are a flying family. We fly all the time. We have ALWAYS had our kids in their car seats on the plane. There has never been a time when we were not able to get a seat (infant block) for any of our kids when they were under 2.

We fly with four kids and until recently we have had to carry all four car / booster seats with us. We would never consider not using them.

As far as keeping the children content on the plane... use small trinkets or toys or books that they have not seen before. That will keep them interested longer.

As far as diaper changes, there are diaper changing pull-downs in many airplane restrooms now-a-days. I have even had to use the airplane seat (gross, but there was no other option).

It is correct that you cannot have two lapbabies in one row. Once, I had to take one of our older kids to the restroom and I gave "my" twin to DH in another row. The flight attendant came over and said we could not do that. I asked her what she thought I was going to do with my baby while I took my daughter to the restroom... she looked around, found a face she liked (I guess) and said, "I'm sure this lady here wouldn't mind holding him!" UH... I don't think so!
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