Random Observation/Comment #673: I’m okay with not flying for a while
Why this List?
In order to move cross country, we decided to suffer 4-hours and take the airport risk rather than driving over 3 days and take the hotel risk. Here are some tips we used on prep and execution for this flight.
Prep — Things to Buy
- We limit screen time, but having a tablet was critical. We bought an Amazon Fire7 tablet for $60. Comes with a nice kid proof case.
- These over ear headphones were in case the lift-off got too noisy for her.
- Sugar-free Gluten-free clean teeth flying lollipops -It was her first lollipop special for travel
- Cover for Car Seat — We had to check our huge car seat — Check online with your airline as car seats should be a lower cost for check-in.
- Kids toilet seat with handle — Airplane toilets are so gross. Definitely get a seat with a big handle so she doesn’t touch the actual seat
- Clean disposable floor pads — When we entered the airplane, we put these by her feet and also on her chair in case her food falls on the floor
- Disinfectant Wipes — We’ve been looking for these for a long time, but luckily we had some we could keep on hand. Recommend buying these online ahead of time because they’re sold out at most places.
- Favorite snacks — Whether it’s goldfish, snack bars, or craisins, you really need to get some options. When she got fidgety, we basically leaned on having a snack for 10 minutes of non crying.
- Face mask with favorite character — We eventually bought her a cute peppa pig face make she likes to wear. For day-of, we used one of my mom’s face shield invention.
- Buy First/Business Class tickets — You may think you can’t afford it, but my Delta Comfort+ tickets were only $50 more. It’s a completely separate search result from economy/economy+, so at least check it out. It was definitely worth it for the extra legroom and boarding options. Our flight was not full and middle seats were not booked.
- Try to book a morning flight — Morning is easier for the toddler because there might be a nap time (it didn’t happen for us). She just wound up being cranky the last hour.
Prep — Things to do a Week in Advance
- Setup the tablet and download shows for offline usage — We installed Disney+ and downloaded 3 movies and most of Mickey Mouse Club House. She didn’t watch it all, but it was an idea
- Download an offline game — We installed Toca Pet Doctor and she really likes making the animals feel better and feeding them. There are some pretty weird ones in there.
- Get her used to wearing a mask — We had an awesome face shield my Mom made, but in retrospect, it would have been great to have her wear a mask. With a 4 hour flight, it was literally 6 hours of flying
- Get her used to wearing the headphones and tablet — She had a good 2 or 3 hours of usage.
- Read her a book about planes — We wanted to make sure she knew we were going on a plane to get her excited. Do not overlook this step because it’s better to not make this long trip a surprise. The plane book went through the airport.
- Make sure she has her documentation in order — We had ordered her passport before she turned 1, but these may take time with covid.
- Make sure all devices are charged — Amazon Fire turned out to have a 5 hour battery life, which was pleasantly surprising.
- Pack a toys backpack — This has her tablet and a few other random toys she likes.
- Pack a convenience bag for access to snacks — We had so many snacks…
- Pack a clean bag for access to wipes, hand sanitizer, and masks — This was used very often. Put it in a fanny pack if you have one.
- Bring a fold-able stroller — I can’t emphasize how important this was. It will be checked by the plane and we tried to keep her in the stroller at the airport until she cried to get out.
- Don’t arrive too early (1.5–2 hours is fine) — The airport is not that crowded, although you should be there slightly earlier if you have a lot of luggage to check. If you’re there too early, you wind up standing too close to the arrival gates around people. All the lounges are closed.
- Be ready to go through security — Pack your things such that you can go through security quickly. That means no metal clasps on shoes or jewelry for the toddler.
- Take your time walking and have fun on the sky walk — My daughter loved going on these escalators. We burned 30 minutes getting there and it was better than sitting down by the gate.
- When time to board, have one parent go in first and have the toddler enter last — My wife setup the whole area properly and wiped everything down while I hung back. It’s not that much less time in recycled air, but she liked waving to people boarding the plane.
- Don’t put down the disposable floor mats until after take off — Apparently the floor mat is a hazard. We wound up picking it up and putting it back down.
- Don’t forget to show her the view of clouds and mountains — She sat in the middle seat during take-off, but we entertained her by switching seats a few times. She loved looking at the fields and little cars.
- Snacks saved us — Also remember to buy a small package of milk with a straw. We basically skipped lunch and just ate junk food for 4 hours.
- Have a drink — Yes, it was 10AM, but don’t judge me. I’m flying with a toddler during a pandemic.
~See Lemons Fly During a Pandemic