By J Gardener
When you were single and traveling, you'd watch those families, whose small kids were already screaming, before your flight boarded, and you'd pray that your seat on the plane was far from theirs. Then you promised yourself that you'd get traveling out of your system, before you got married and had a family of your own-you'd never fly with little kids. Too much hassle. Did you really think you'd get away with such a ridiculous dream, considering your parents live a thousand miles away?
Welcome to the holiday season, the stuff of your single-life nightmares. With extended families spread out across the country and even the world, more parents will be traveling with young children this holiday season than ever before.
Since 9/11, which necessitated the implementation of the most stringent security procedures we've ever known, just the pre-flight time in the airport has become a difficult process, even to the most carefree single travelers, much less parents, whose small ones can't begin to understand the need for all the lines and procedures.
Security rules and regulations are fluid and subject to changes, periodically, so if you plan to travel with your youngsters this holiday season, the best thing you can do is to prepare well in advance for what can be a long string of airport lines and waits.
The Transportation Security Administration has the latest information on their website, www.tsa.gov, concerning travel regulations, including a page devoted to traveling with children. Currently, if you want to bring beverages to the airport from home-something many parents find can keep their kids occupied and quiet while waiting in line-you are allowed to bring one quart-sized, clear plastic zip-lock bag, with containers inside holding 3 ounces or less of liquids or toiletries, through the security checkpoint. Baby formula, breast-milk and baby food are allowed, also. Once through the checkpoint, you may purchase beverages in the airport, which you can take onto the plane.
You may carry your baby through the metal detector (you may not hand your child to someone behind or in front of you), though the TSA prefers that small children, who are able, walk through on their own. If you and/or your child are asked to participate in the random screening, the TSA assures parents that they will never be seperated from their children.
Remember, everything you carry on must travel through the x-ray screening machine. If you have strollers, etc., make sure they're folded by the time you reach the head of the line. Assure you children that their objects will be returned, once they've been checked.
As always, arrive at the airport in plenty of time. Parents with small kids are advised to arrive up to two hours ahead of their scheduled departure. And prepare your children for what might be a long wait. Coloring books or picture books can make the time go faster for little kids.
Most airlines allow parents with small children to board first, so that the family can get situated without holding up other travelers.
Any way you look at it, flying with children is no picnic. But you knew that when you were single, didn't you?
About the Author
J Gardener, a writer for Imaginary Greetings, Inc. (
), is an award winning screenplay copywriter and a regular contributing author on many family oriented issues. Imaginary Greetings offers highly imaginative personalized family oriented products and services. For additional tips on how to truly light up your child's eyes this holiday season like never before visit