New Parent Air Travel Tips
My recent vacation to Hawaii was an overall success. However, there were some missteps from the start that nearly derailed our getaway. If this is the first time you’re traveling with your child through the air, here are some things to remember.
New Stroller Practice
Our normal stroller is large and bulky. I decided to debut our new Britax Affinity stroller which is smaller and easier to travel with. I folded and unfolded the stroller once in the garage with no problem. However, under the extra pressure of getting to airport on time, I froze. After wasting precious minutes trying to pry the stroller apart, I finally realized there was a safety latch that needed to be pushed to the side. If you do decide to use a new stroller on your trip, make sure you practice several times folding and unfolding it.
Since I carried small boxes of milk for my son, I was required to go through a mandatory security pat down. The security officer explained, since they could not fully inspect the milk containers, they needed to be extra cautious. Every inch of my body from my neck below was patted down. I understood the reason for this procedure, but it burned up more valuable minutes. Make sure to account for this extra time expense.
Special Stroller Handling
When arriving at your gate’s front desk, make sure you get an agent to tag your stroller. This will alert the staff to put your stroller in cargo just before you board the plane. When you arrive at your destination, ask someone specifically where you should wait for your stroller. In Hawaii, we were told to wait at curbside. But in our rush to get out of the airport, we followed the signs to the baggage claim located in another building. After retrieving our luggage, we learned that our stroller was still back at the exit gate. Once again, we burned valuable vacation time waiting for baggage claim staff to retrieve our stroller for us. A friendly baggage claim staff worker mentioned this happens all the time. Perhaps an extra stroller pickup reminder is needed? Thankfully, on our return to LA, we learned from our mistake and waited patiently for our stroller after everyone left the plane.
My first vacation flying with my toddler would have been even smoother if I had been mindful of the three things I mentioned above. I should have gotten more familiar with my new stroller. I should have gotten to the airport earlier. On our return trip, we added a 30 minute buffer to our usual two hour window prior to departure. It made a world of difference as we had time to kill and we were more relaxed. Lastly, I should have been more familiar with the special stroller handling procedures. However, if things do go awry, and they sometimes will, make sure to stay positive and focus on the end goal. You are going on vacation so remember to leave your worries behind and enjoy yourself!