Last week I shared 5 tips for flying with small children. These are tips I picked up over many flights, but they definitely were not learned without pitfalls. So, I thought it might be insightful to share my two biggest mistakes.
#1 Overbooking your itinerary
One of the drawbacks to being a road warrior is that you can have such a gigantic level of self-confidence in your travel finesse that you can over-think and over-plan the simplest itinerary.
My worst travel experience was a return flight from Toronto. When I planned this trip, I wanted to get the maximum bang for the buck. I booked the crack-of-dawn flight to get to Toronto early and the latest flight home so I can spend maximum time with my extended family. Plus, flying back to California you gain three hours, right? So, with the three extra hours, we could spend a day at Canada’s Wonderland, leave at 3 PM, beat rush hour traffic and check in for our 8 PM flight. Perfect, right?
What ensued was a six hour flight of two over-tired, over-stimulated kids (3 and 1), who both cried, screamed, yelled, kicked and threw fits, tantrums and toys. If my friend Diana was still a flight attendant and worked my flight, I would be the very reason she hated her job.
Out of desperation to calm our children, I started pulling out “treats”. First came the chocolate panda cookies, then gummy fruit snacks, then juice. Then realizing our stupidity and coming to our senses, we purchased anything available in flight that did not contain sugar. But by then, there was no hope. No way could we settle down the kids. We basically took turns holding the unruliest of the two, whoever that may be, and just did whatever we could to contain the chaos. We did this the whole flight. And of course, they both promptly pass out, asleep, when the wheels touched the ground.