Family holidays are, as a general rule, the source of a thousand precious memories. But they also involve a lot of planning as well as tons of luggage or, at least, that’s what you fell when rushing through the airport to get aboard the plane. With your entire wardrobe and your kids to take care of… you might be thankful to that moment of inspiration when you stopped and planned everything in detail.
First, pick up a CABIN BAG that would suit all your needs as a parent. You can opt for a BACKPACK: it will allow you to have your hand free to deal with everything else. Choose one that has plenty of room to help you organize your stuff. If you do not necessarily feel that you really need your laptop while travelling by plane, you may as well replace it with a good book. Books occupy less space and make room for whatever baby equipment you may need on the plane. You already know that you’re allowed to have baby food with you.
Check the TSA 3-1-1 rule for Carry-ons which permits you to have baby formula and food, as well as breast milk aboard the plane in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces. Furthermore, the same rule does not necessarily oblige you to have these items in the zip-top bag. Nevertheless, you need to declare them for inspection at the checkpoint. So, they need to be put in such a way that they are easy to take out because they will definitely be inspected at the security checkpoint.
The same goes with the documents, too. Put them in easy-to-reach but safe pockets. Then, if you’re travelling with your baby carriage, make sure you have one that folds easily since you’ll have to remove the baby from the stroller and hand the carriage for inspection.
Finally, do consider the clothes you wear at the airport. Avoid, by all means, wearing belts or any other types of accessories made of metal. Take off your and your kids’ jackets and remove all the contents of the pockets before going through the security checkpoint.
Furthermore, you’ll find family lanes in most of the airports. Such lanes allow both parents and children go through the security procedures faster and less fussily that the common lane. These lanes are regulated by Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
For example in San Francisco International Airport, they are available at all security checkpoints and allow families, individuals unfamiliar with air travel and travelers with special needs to go through security at their own pace are. In case you do not manage to find such a lane, than you may resort to an express lanes that are commonly reserved for frequent travellers. Ask a SECURITY AGENT to allow you to go though this security point with your children. If you’re polite and the agent is kind enough, you’ll have to issues with this.
Still, if you happen to be stuck in a long queue, you can use the time to talk to your kinds and remind them about the screening procedures. Remember that all carry-on baggage, including children’s toys, bags and items, will be screened. Let your kid know that his or her favorite blanket or toy will need to go through the X-ray machine and then will be returned to them. Last but not least, make sure that your kids do not make any jokes about bombs or firearms. The security personnel won’t take them as jokes.
Furthermore, babies and small children may be carried through the metal detector, but if the alarm sounds, the security officer will have to conduct additional screening on both the passenger and the kid. If an infant is carried through the metal detector in a sling, you may be subjected to additional screening even though there isn’t an alarm.
Once you’ve finished with all these procedures you can ask a security officer for help gathering bags and equipment, if necessary… or get your kids involved if they are old enough.