How to Not Get Kicked Off the Plane - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 11-05-2009, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My three year old is great. Most of the time.

I am bringing tons of snacks and entertainment but SHE'S THREE.

Please, share your tantrum-stoppers and attention-getters. Anything that is kind, respectful, but extremely effective and quickly, for a child that normally doesn't respond to anything.

(Not tantrum preventers, like, "well-fed, well-rested" blah blah blah because of course I am going to do that. But lately, that doesn't seem to cut it. And no, we do not ever, ever have anything with artificial dyes or sweeteners. Ever. Or use anything other than the occasional Shout for stains, all other cleaners are 100% natural.)

I am so afraid we are going to get kicked off. We have waited so long to go live with DH... it would just be horrible. My daughter is really cheeky when she wants. I have been trying to drill a sense of fear and respect into her because gentle just is not cutting it, she absolutely HAS to be able to sit in the seat, to follow the flight attendant's instructions.

We flew before, many times, but either the stakes weren't too high, or it was before so many kids had been kicked off.

Help me re-gain confidence.

Also, any laws about the rights of ticket-holders under the age of 18 are welcome.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#2 of 24 Old 11-05-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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Things that have worked for my kids on planes (they're 7.5 and 5 now, but we've done a lot of flying since they were newborns):

*sticker books. It's fun to put the stickers in the scene or even stick them all over the seat. They come off easily and are easy to clean up.

*Play dough or silly putty.

*magnadoodle

*little plastic figurines

*something cool to listen to

*movies, especially if they are a treat

My biggest trick for flying with little ones is first, to relax. If you are freaked out, she will feel it and respond accordingly. Second, it helps to have a bunch of little novelties to pull out right before she gets bored. My kids like to fly and still love to plan fun treats and activities for that time when we all have each other's undivided attention.

You can totally do this!
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#3 of 24 Old 11-05-2009, 05:28 PM
 
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Don't worry, you can't get kicked off once the plane is in the air so although if she tantrums in the middle of the flight it would bother you and others, you'll still get there.

DVD's on a laptop (or portable player) are great. Make sure to bring headphones that she can wear.

A handheld game for young kids like those leapfrog things maybe, often enthralls otherwise naturally raised kids.

Snacks, fun ones she never gets but won't make her go crazy if she eats too much of (for DS that'd be something like string cheese, veggie booty, and unsweetened dried fruit).
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#4 of 24 Old 11-05-2009, 05:40 PM
 
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For getting settled on the plane, I would get some lovely, all natural treats that she never otherwise gets. Something like a lolly pop (or 10) or a honey stick that takes a while to eat. What you need is something to keep her entertained while the plane takes off. Once it's in the air, they're stuck with you!

Don't board early. Yes, it's more of a pain boarding later, but really, you don't want to add more waiting time than absolutely necessary.

Bring a CD player and headphones and some CDs with calming music she can listen to while she waits.

Let her run around a lot before boarding. About 5 minutes before you board, begin some calming, winding down. Read a book, sing some songs.

Bring her car seat onto the plane. Having a familiar place to sit often helps a child calm down.

Be unfailingly polite to the flight attendants. If you don't make them mad, they'll most likely be on your side.

Take a deep breath and keep yourself calm. The reason that those stories about toddlers getting kicked off planes make the news is that they're so rare.

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#5 of 24 Old 11-05-2009, 07:59 PM
 
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My 2 yo screamed for an hour while on the ground in Orlando and didn't stop until we were in the air and the pilot turned the seatbelt light off. If we didn't get kicked off I doubt you would.

(and yes, we tried everything to comfort him - went through my whole bag of tricks, plus a bag of organic lollipops! He was fine once we were in the air and he could snuggle in my lap).

Martha
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#6 of 24 Old 11-05-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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As long as she is in her seat buckled for takeoff you are fine. That being said, I highly suggest bringing a 5 pt harnessseat she can't unbuckle.

Happily married to my dh, mama to ds1 (01/2005), ds2 (07/2007)  and dd (07/2009).
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#7 of 24 Old 11-05-2009, 11:03 PM
 
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You can totally do this!

My DD is the queen of shreaking,and we were allowed to stay on the plane. I bet the others were glad to see us go,but the staff was ok with it..

Doing what I can to make better choices every day!
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#8 of 24 Old 11-05-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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I've gone on 5-hour plane rides with my DD and I can relate to how you feel.

I like the suggestions you've received so far.

I've also found it helpful to give a cheerful smile to the people seated beside us and make a joke about how they must be wishing they could switch seats. I find it disarms people if I do it preemptively. They almost always say "don't worry about it" or "I have kids" or "I have grandkids." Personally I find acknowledging there might be some noise, fidgeting, and messiness with a small child nearby gets them on my side.

And once the plane is airborne, they aren't going to kick you out.

Have fun!

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#9 of 24 Old 11-06-2009, 04:22 AM
 
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What kids have you heard about getting kicked off planes?? I can think of ONE publicized case in the past few years, and it got attention because it was not normal that it happened.

Honestly, you'll be fine. Bring toys, food, books, and the knowledge that however awful it may get, the flight time is finite and you'll be where you're going and it'll be done. And it won't actually be that awful.

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and DD2, 11/2004
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#10 of 24 Old 11-06-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
For getting settled on the plane, I would get some lovely, all natural treats that she never otherwise gets. Something like a lolly pop (or 10) or a honey stick that takes a while to eat. What you need is something to keep her entertained while the plane takes off. Once it's in the air, they're stuck with you!

Don't board early. Yes, it's more of a pain boarding later, but really, you don't want to add more waiting time than absolutely necessary.

Bring a CD player and headphones and some CDs with calming music she can listen to while she waits.

Let her run around a lot before boarding. About 5 minutes before you board, begin some calming, winding down. Read a book, sing some songs.

Bring her car seat onto the plane. Having a familiar place to sit often helps a child calm down.

Be unfailingly polite to the flight attendants. If you don't make them mad, they'll most likely be on your side.

Take a deep breath and keep yourself calm. The reason that those stories about toddlers getting kicked off planes make the news is that they're so rare.


Awesome advice!

Libby blahblah.gif, momma to my precious little girl (6/29/07) 
                        and wonderful little man (12/1/10)

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#11 of 24 Old 11-06-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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We fly from Europe to America twice yearly with three kids. My top tips:

- bribery. For us it's potato chips. Pick your poison. I am a bad mum. I use them like doggy treats when traveling. It works.

- let her run around as much as possible before boarding. My kids roll a ball around and chase it. Whatever works. Racing in an out of the way area works too. Anyone who gives you any lip, ask would they rather have at the gate or ON THE PLANE?". Yeah, I thought so.

- we bring car seats because we need them at the destination. Your call, but my kids are used to sleeping in car seats.

- chill. Everyone was a kid once. I find people are actually pretty good, despite what the press tells you.

Have a great trip.
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#12 of 24 Old 11-06-2009, 01:48 PM
 
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I really don't think you have too much to worry about. I know there was the one case recently of the kid and mom getting kicked off, and I think I have heard of another case of two over the years - but really, it is pretty rare. I have flown a lot with my son. He was loud, screechy and prone to tantrums for a while - and we never got kicked off.
A few things work for us.

We let DS watch a movie on our computer. We limit TV, so this is a pretty big treat and totally keeps his attention.

Another thing I used to do is make a special bag of treats that he would get once the plane took off. It had things like snacks, new stickers, new crayons, new playdough (although, once that was taken in security!), etc. Spending $5 or $10 at Target would get me a lot of quite time! I would let him know I had the special treat bag beforehand, but didn't let him know what was in it.

Finally, we let him pick a candy at one of the stores in the airport that he can have once the plane takes off. We never buy candy bar type things (outside of airports!), so this is also a huge treat.

So, I think he sees it as a chance to get all sort of treats he doesn't normally get and really looks forward to flying.
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#13 of 24 Old 11-06-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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Yes, the "novel things" works wonders. Target has some great stuff in their dollar spot right now (stocking stuffer type things, so small but entertaining).

Happily married to my dh, mama to ds1 (01/2005), ds2 (07/2007)  and dd (07/2009).
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#14 of 24 Old 11-06-2009, 02:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
And no, we do not ever, ever have anything with artificial dyes or sweeteners. Ever. Or use anything other than the occasional Shout for stains, all other cleaners are 100% natural.
There goes my candy suggestion. I bought DD a tinkerbell pez because she loves tinkie, so it was great incentive for her to "sit still and be quite so the pilot can get us safely into the air".

I also put her in the window seat and let her look outside at the lights and stuff. She's FASCINATED by looking down from the windows that that alone is almost enough to keep her busy.

I also take her to the store and let her pick out one small special toy or colouring book for the plane, and it gets stored away until we're in the air. I really stress the need to sit still and be quite during taxi/take off and then she gets to play when we're up in the air.

We also gave her her own rolling suit case for her toys and snacks, and she LOVES being involved in "packing" her own suit case. I let her pick 1 or 2 small toys from home that she can bring with her that she can, of course, play with once we're IN the air.

I've also taken the portable DVD player in the past (though she didn't really care for that and it was a waste of time and effort). Another time we flew she had her own seat back TV and she watched cartoons. That was probably the quietest flight ever.

I find that getting her involved in the packing and preparation part of it and then really stressing the fact that we have to be quiet so the pilot can concentrate was good enough. She then looks forward to using the new toy she picked out once we're up in there.

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#15 of 24 Old 11-06-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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How is she in a carseat to travel? If she is good then get this http://www.kidsflysafe.com/ (I also recommend it for safety reasons too)
I brought Tyr's Leapster2, Nintendo DS (pre loaded with dozens of games), Movies on the I-Touch, A new travel drawing kit (Crayola Colour Explosion) that we didn't open until on the plane.

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#16 of 24 Old 11-07-2009, 02:27 AM
 
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we fly about every other month with my kids (now 5.5 and almost 3). I would definitely bring her carseat on board (assuming its FAA approved), because I see the problem with being kicked off before take-off in not being able to keep your child strapped in, not because they are making noise. If she's in her 5 pt harness, she's not going to be able to un-do it. My kids are just always happier and more comfy in their carseat anyway. We have a CARES harness, too, but they like their carseat much more.

I agree with lots of little novelty items for distraction. (We do have special treats for flying, like lollipops and gummies, but sounds like that wouldn't be a choice you want) My kids go into a trance watching the portable DVD player (and one really won't watch anything on land!) so we always bring one for each of them. BUT I saw a couple of pieces of advice about listening to CD's or DVD's before take-off and I would very much caution against that. Electronic devices have to be turned off during taxi, take-off and until 10,000 (?) feet, so you risk having to pull it away from your child just when they have gotten into it. My kids know to listen for when they announce "you can now use portable electronic devices!".

Have you heard of the DVD "Shae by Air"?
http://www.goodlittletraveler.com/ShaeByAir.html
It's about a really cute little girl and how she gets thru the airport and the flight with her mom. My kids liked it.
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#17 of 24 Old 11-07-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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Good call! Yes, we wait to turn on any electronical gadgets until we're in the air. Offer her a never-before-seen toy just as she is supposed to be seated.

Be sure she'll wear the headphones if you do opt for any sort of "screen device". At that age, it really depends on the child. Try it at home first and explain it to her. No, you can't play it quietly (will be annoying to other passengers).

I fly alone between Europe and California about twice a year. Maybe two trips my dh was with me. Two of mine are very active. I've never had warnings or been threatened by the crew (albeit sometimes they knew me if I were flying my old airline).

ITA about the car seat advice.

BULKHEAD seats! Definitely with such an active child. No bothering those in front of you. Book now if you have to.

I'm torn between the advice on boarding last. This could backfire if you get the wrong seats, etc. I recommend this for couples/at least two adults. One gets on while the other lets the kid(s) run around but if you're alone, you may want to get on and give her some time to get settled and used to her new surroundings. You know her best. Your call!

Yes, parents do occasionally get kicked off flights because they couldn't control their toddlers. On taxi and take-off, the plane must STOP if anyone is up. I once had the captain stop on taxi for a 5 year old who needed the restroom (think of that before pushing back from the gate please).

So that means these toddlers were actually running down the aisle, etc. on taxi. The stories I've read (albeit in the press) usually said that they gave the family warning. I think they're extreme cases. You will NOT be kicked off just for having a child cry or scream IF she's seated. Tell yourself you'll simple hold her down until you're in the air if you have to, which I doubt you will.

In 13 years of flying, I saw hundreds of children and we never had to stop for anyone (except that poor girl). Certainly none so out-of-control that they had to resort to this. I saw some pretty unorganized parents but mostly pity, not anger, was directed towards them. Remember I saw parents with twins, flying under stressful circumstances (i.e. family emergencies), single young mothers with multiple children, handicapped kids, etc. and they ALL did fine. I also worked almost exclusively long-haul international so there were parents with language and cultural barriers, etc.

You will too!

You have my totally non-commercial flying tips?
http://flyingwithchildren1.blogspot.com

Let me know if you have further questions!
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#18 of 24 Old 11-07-2009, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What kids have you heard about getting kicked off planes?? I can think of ONE publicized case in the past few years, and it got attention because it was not normal that it happened.

Honestly, you'll be fine. Bring toys, food, books, and the knowledge that however awful it may get, the flight time is finite and you'll be where you're going and it'll be done. And it won't actually be that awful.
There have been three in the past year, and yes, not normal, but the airlines refused to say that the flight attendant did not have that right, even if the ticket was later refunded.

Lollypops are a fair idea, but I will have to look hard for some without any junk in them. Hmmm.

Toys generally do not have an effect once she's decided to be in a snotty mood.

We have a five-point harness. Last time fortunately she was in her seat I have been worried ever since I saw how she sat in it. We have the CARES for her.

You can sit them on the potty, you can scream, you can do everything, but you can't force them to pee. She generally is good about that. She hasn't had an accident in... a long time, I can't even remember.

I can't bring two carseats. I'm all alone and I have to bring luggage for our first few months of life in Germany, and carry-ons for two children under four. One carseat is all I can manage, in my experience.

Honestly, until the latest kick-off, I didn't think of this. I've been on flights with screaming children. It seems they are cracking down on toddlers.

A DVD player is not really a can of worms I want to open. It's just that it is already hard enough to keep TV below an hour a day, and her dad is all about easy fixes. I"m afraid if we buy one, that's what he'll use every time he watches the kids together.

We took several domestic flights with the two of them and it went well. You are right that I should not be nervous. It's just such a HIGH STAKES flight for us.

Good idea about disarming the other passengers. I"m usually shy about that but I will suck it up, LOL.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#19 of 24 Old 11-07-2009, 02:10 PM
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I don't know if they still make these, but we had some sets of window clings just for airplanes... they're like thin plastic stickers that only adhere to windows and come right off.

Also, some kind of ipod-like device with earphones loaded with some story mp3s and some favorite songs

A friend of mine with two children who flew from the US to China frequently when they were young was just telling me about how helpful an inflatable pillow was for them. I'm not sure where he got it - his wife said it was sold as a car pillow, for kids to rest their legs on - but it was inflatable and could be stuffed into the area where an adult's legs and feet would go, giving a child a larger area to play on or curl up and sleep on. They always tried to get bulkhead seats, too, so there were no worries about kicking the person in front of them.

 
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#20 of 24 Old 11-07-2009, 02:37 PM
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All great ideas here. Also I always try and prepare them as best for security. I find that if we start the day with a melt down over having to take our fave wellies off or put teddy through the big machine, it is all down hill from there. So I role play a lot about security checks and bring "land" distractions for waiting in lines such as I spy, or find 20 people wearing red etc. If we get through the customs/ security check point without tantrums, then a nice big run around the terminal and a late boarding will usually avoid any initial tantrums. I find usually its an hour or so in, when they are so tired but a little over stimulated to sleep. By that point hopefully, you have made nice with your neighbours and the attendants and they will give you a beak. Oh and always have a carry on bag with some distractions and snacks small enough to keep with you (under your seat or hidden on your lap) for those horrible times when the seatbelt sign is on but you are delayed on the runway indefinitely!! You do not want to have to wait to get that, or piss off the flight attendants while you unbuckle and retrieve your bag in order to keep the LO calm!
You can do it Mama. I have been travelling with my 4 since the youngest was 4 mths and have even done a 21hr trip with 3 under 4 by myself, including the one who HATED anything strapping her in (read car seat, stroller, high chair)!! She could scream and she had stamina and I have yet to be kicked off a flight yet! Oh and by the way now she is my easiest traveller! We also did not have dvd players or portable play devices until last year, and even then they share the one so it can be done without electronics.

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#21 of 24 Old 11-07-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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I traveled with three small children without my husband this past summer. One thing that made a big difference was a little book I made about the trip. My son has Asperger's Syndrome and from that I learned about making social stories. My book covered the airport and the plane and explained what would happen, what other people would do, how to behave and so on. It was really helpful to read this book with my children before and during the trip. My ASD son, especially, liked to know all the details so that there would be no surprises. I laid out the rules very specifically and set a timer on my watch for every 30 min. When the timer rang, we would assess the past 30 min period and if they had been following the rules, they got a treat.

If you're interested in seeing the book, I can email you a copy. Just send me a pm.

Good luck! Like the others said, it is not likely that you will actually be kicked off the plane.
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#22 of 24 Old 11-07-2009, 03:39 PM
 
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You can get organic (no artificcial color) lollypops at store like whole foods (these ones: http://www.yummyearth.com/) or Trader Joes has their own brand.

Happily married to my dh, mama to ds1 (01/2005), ds2 (07/2007)  and dd (07/2009).
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#23 of 24 Old 11-10-2009, 02:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone.

I've never seen anyone else travel alone (though I have done it) so this gives me hope.

I think I just have this irrational fear because of my horror at it happening at all. It just seems so irrational that they could do that.

We got our CARES harness and I will look into that pillow. Something to put her feet on would be great!!! A timer is also a good idea. I need one for naptime- she has skipped TWO NAPS IN A ROW, and yet does not appear to be ready to drop it (another subject entirely)- so it wouldn't be wasted.

Thanks again.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#24 of 24 Old 11-10-2009, 10:34 PM
 
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Some airlines have movie players that you can rent for the trip, although I think they only play pre-loaded movies.

I think lots of preparation and talking about what will happen at the airport is important for some kids. I remember my little sister freaking out when security took her special stuffed toy and squeezed it to see if anything was hidden inside it.

You should both be super-happy-fun-times excited about the flight! I'm sure it will be fine.

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