Flying Alone with (Very) Small Kids

Flying Alone with (Very) Small Kids


Illustration by Barry Falls

It’s wonderful to BE home for the holidays, but not always so wonderful actually GETTING there. This year looks like a particularly fun time for travelers, what with the winter storm creating chaos in the Midwest. And even in the calmest of weather there is the lugging of gifts, and children, and the occasional fruitcake through security.

I received an e-mail this morning from Motherlode reader Stephanie, who is about to run this gantlet, and is in need of advice. Well, what she really needs is to sprout an extra pair of hands, but since we probably can’t swing that for her, let’s try for some advice:

I thought maybe your readers could help, at least to calm me down. I have two children, age 6 months and 22 months. My parents live across the country (I am in New York, they are in Seattle), and tomorrow, Christmas Eve, my husband and I were supposed to fly out there for Christmas. But unplanned work and airline complications mean he went straight there from a business trip and now I have to fly out with the two children by myself.

I am a nervous flier in the first place, and the thought of doing this alone with two kids is paralyzing to me. The past two years my parents have come to us for the holidays, so this is the first time I will be on a plane with my kids ever. Ever. How do people do this? What food should I bring? (I am still nursing the baby.) What if one needs to be changed, how do I fit in the tiny bathroom with them both? How do you cope for five hours with two little kids surrounded by people who are just waiting to hate you because they cry? READ MORE