From Geesebaby: My husband and I are thinking of flying to Florida, from Ohio for our vacation this summer--babies will be around 18 months about then. I am totally scared to death!!! Not for safety, although that is in the back of my mind. But because I know trying to get them to sit still for more than a half hour is a feat. I think that maybe flying at night may be a better option, maybe then they will sleep??? How do you do it? Did you have your toddler sit on your lap? Extra seat? With 2 kids we really can't switch and give each other a break. Also, I worry about crying and upsetting the other passengers (the babies and mommy too ). My son is pretty laid back, but my daughter is borderline high needs. Someone had mentioned giving them Benadryl, but I'm kinda mixed on that. Any ideas or help? Sometimes I think that driving would be just as bad, but at least if we fly--we'd be done in a couple of hours.
From Lutey: We flew with our kids when they were right about 18 months. We flew from Montana to Hawaii--3 flights of 2 hours, 2 1/2 hours and 5 hours with a total of 6 hours in layovers (obviously we were not the ones planning the itinerary!). I packed two bags full of new toys, favorite books, snacks, anything I could think of that would help entertain them. I had 2 bags since we knew that we would be sitting apart and I didn't want to have to be running back and forth between our seats. I thought I had overpacked but we ended up using pretty much everything.
We took 2 small strollers that we used during layovers; we checked them at the gate on each flight and that worked really well. We let the kids run around in small areas but it would have been really difficult to keep track of 2 toddlers while carrying the bags and trying to find various gates.
We did okay until the 5-hour flight which was the last leg of our journey. By this time the kids had slept a total of 30 minutes in a 12-hour day. They were exhausted but they just don't sleep well in our arms anymore and we didn't have a spare seat next to us. We did give them Benadryl so they were drowsy but they still didn't sleep. It was a miserable flight for us and I was silently swearing to kill anyone who ever suggested that we fly with 2 toddlers ever again.
Before we flew home I found out you can ask to have your seats rearranged so we changed our seats so we both had empty seats next to us. It was a flight that left at 10:00p.m. and flew all night so the kids were really tired. We gave them Benadryl and laid them in the empty seats next to us. They zonked hard for the whole flight. It was wonderful; DH and I even got some sleep too.
So I guess my recommendations are: pack lots of stuff, fly at night, ask to have an empty seat next to you if you aren't buying seats for the kids and check small strollers at the gate.
As far as the Benadryl, I don't think it helped very much with my kids. Some kids have a reverse reaction and become very hyper on Benadryl so if you are thinking of using it, be sure to try it out on them ahead of time.
From katyasmommy: Can't help you out on flying with twins yet, but we flew with our daughter all the way to Germany when she was just under one year old (to celebrate her first birthday with the german grandparents...) Our doctor did recommend the Benadryl as well but I still swear it had the opposite effect on her and made her more hyper. We were sitting in the first row of the main cabin and had a skycot which helped a little, but it was still a long 9 hour flight and she slept for maybe 2 hours. Then we needed another 1 hour connecting flight and she zonked out during boarding and never really woke up until we reached my parents house.
I think on the way back we did it without the meds and she didn't sleep that much either... So I guess you just have to try and see.
From Libby: We flew to Florida when the girls were 10 months old and then again when they were 20 months old. It was a very pleasant experience. I had little bags for each of them with a book and a snack and a toy. I strongly suggest you get a seat for each of them, don't hold them on your lap. Children's seats are generally half off. We were told that children go next to the window so each girl had a window seat and one of us next to her - the aisle seat was left empty. We brought their carseats and used them on the flight (which also was great instead of renting them from the car agency which was expensive! The girls had their own carseats which were safer and cleaner). This way you also don't have an uncomfortable ride with either a sleeping child on your lap or a squirming child who wants to get down. I kept them in their seats the whole time, I figure it is like riding in a car- you wouldn't let them get down in a car, why let them get down in an airplane?
We brought strollers also which we checked at the airplane door. This was great since it let us put them right into the stroller to get through the terminal. The carseats we strapped onto a luggage carrier and pulled behind us. Now we did have my parents with us so I had some extra help but it is doable if you and you husband are going by yourself.
From Lutey: Libby's post reminds me that I would also strongly suggest taking your own carseats. We have flown 3 times with the kids. The first 2 were before they were walking so those were easy flights as the kids loved sitting on our laps and getting special attention.
But the first time we traveled I rented carseats from the car rental agency and the seats were horrible. They were hard plastic, very dirty with dirty straps and no one knew how to install them, they didn't have any instructions they just gave the carseats to us and expected us to do everything. They weren't even the right size for the kids--front-facing when the kids should have been in rear-facing. I was really kicking myself for not taking their own seats.
The next time I did take their seats and it worked really well until Delta lost one of them on the return flight. They did pay to replace it though, no questions asked. I think it really helps the kids to have something familiar when they are in a strange location, sleeping in strange beds, seeing a lot of new people, etc. My kids really seemed to relax once they got in their own carseats.