Anyone with a young child, or better yet multiple young children, will most likely tell you flying with children is quite a feat, pandemic or not.
Whether traveling to see family or for the sake of fulfilling one’s wanderlust, doing so with children is not for the faint of hearts. If you know, you know. It’s actually a battle like no other! However, through time and practice, you can get this right or achieve some level of success in your mind at least—even in the midst of a pandemic.
As a mom of four, I can attest, every kid is so different, and on the day you travel, they could have a good/bad day regardless of their typical behavior or previous trips. This is for my fellow mamas and papas ready to embark on the battle in hopes of having a successful or somewhat successful flight with your young child or children. I for one am not usually a tips or advice giver, so please take this how you’d like. You can get some ideas for your next trip or just take this opportunity to look into how my crazy family of six travels.
So let’s start with a little background
I am no newbie to traveling with little ones, trust when I say this. I once took my teething six-month-old across country, 14-15 hours by myself. And remember when I said there are good days and bad days? Yes, we had both, one good day on the way there and one bad, well, pretty much awful day on the way back. I remember thinking what a breeze my little six-month-old was on the way there. We were set up for success, bulkhead cot requested and prepared for a fully nursed baby to sleep angelically through the sky.
She did great! Anyone from that plane trip would tell you, “What a dream baby!” So you can only imagine the confidence I had as a new mommy ready to embark on the same journey back home, but two weeks later, with my newly turned seven-month-old who’d also learned to take her first steps on our trip, little did I know she was going to cut her two first teeth in the sky.
Despite being prepared with pretty much anything and everything you can imagine packing, Motrin and Tylenol included. It was horrendous! It was one of those incidents that would ruin you as a new mom like a “Why did I do this to myself?! What have I gotten myself into?!” kind of ordeal. Not even 30 minutes into our flight, she started screaming inconsolable with nursing, a pacifier, toys, snacks, etc. Then, within an hour, she had a fever of 101.2 degrees, which just wouldn’t come down even with medication. And as if things couldn’t have gotten worse in my mind, it was like a tumbleweed of awfulness that kept growing in size as each hour passed by in the sky.
All in all, we made it home, landed at our terminal 15 hours later. I wanted to bawl my eyes out I was so relieved to be done. I couldn’t wait to run away from all the passengers who either looked at me with pity, sadness, anger, annoyance, and pretty much every feeling you could have ever felt while hearing a nonstop crying baby and flustered mommy for hours on end. Even as I type this, I begin to sweat and my head starts hurting. But what’s done is done (insert sweating sad emoji here).
So there you go probably the hardest trip I’ve ever done in my life. Lifted off my chest, baring it all for you to imagine. Worst of the worst in my case, and I pray never in your case. However, there can and will be good days, and boy do those good days outweigh all the bad ones!
Our latest trip
Now sitting here, seasoned parent in a plane high in the sky on a three-and-a-half hour flight headed back home from a week and a half long trip with my crazy family of six during this pandemic. My children ages six, five, three, and one, all wearing masks, all in their own seats (because we don’t do lap children anymore and will always take paying for a seat over fighting a mobile child in a lap).
Look how much I’ve already written. I have so much time on my hands as my four kiddos sit quietly in their seats, buckled and content. My husband sleeping through the whole flight right next to my one-year-old who is strapped in his travel car seat over by the window ever so often waking up for a couple seconds to have a pacifier shoved back in his mouth. While I sit in the aisle seat slightly in front yet slightly diagonal to my three big girls prepared for any “Mom, Mommy, and Mamas” spoken in my direction.
We look like a perfect traveling family right now, and with only twenty minutes left, we’ve almost got this in the bag. This, my friend, is the successful trip we had hoped for. My stories can go on and on, so I’ll tell you, we did bring iPads, snacks, toys, activities, sanitizer, wipes, extra masks, etc. I think the key for us has been consistency and expecting the worst so we could be surprised by the best! And, knock on wood, so far this trip been an uphill climb instead of an uphill battle.
Now ask me anything in the comments below! What do you want to know? I’ll do my best to answer your questions “in true Tiffany-fashion” as my husband will tell you, which is always genuine and candid. And, remember, wherever you may be going, you’ve got this! Even with limited passenger capacity, I promise if there’s another parent on the plane with you, flying in solidarity.