Flying Before Kids Vs. Flying With Kids
I just locked myself in a tiny space with a raging pint-sized bronco. That’s right – I did a solo cross-country flight with my 16-month-old.
Flying used to be a time to decompress, relax and stream movies. My how times have changed!
Here are some of the biggest differences in flying before kids vs. flying with kids.
You Look for the Shortest TSA Line vs. You are the TSA Line
Before kids, you staked out the lines for people in slip-on shoes and laptops out. You rolled your eyes when people forgot to take out liquids.
Now, you are the TSA line. You’ve got strollers, car seats, sometimes even a pet carrier. You roll deep. Yup, you basically take up the whole conveyer belt with plastic shit. And don’t forget about the joy of smuggling breast milk through security.
You Think About What You Will Eat vs. You Plan what Your Kid will Eat
Skylaw says calories don’t count. Before you had kids, you used the airport to load up on snacks. Candy, muffins, pretzels… your job was to make sure you had snacks!
Now, you spend the night prepping enough kid snacks to tide you till landing. Puffs, freeze dried yogurt drops, cut up fruit, everything gets it's own snack bag. Is it gross that your diaper bag doubles as a portable buffet table?
You Think About Every Dollar You Spend vs. What You Buy is Worth Every Penny
Before you have kids, you debate about ordering a movie when it will be on TV in a month, wonder if you need WIFI and try to justify that ten-dollar mini-bottle of pinot.
Now, you spend money as much as your kid poops his diaper. Extra seat for the car seat when you’re flying alone? Worth it. New toy for the flight? Worth it. Car seat caddy exclusively for walking through airport? Worth it. Wine during naptime. Worth it, worth it, worth it!
You Plan Your Trip Around Cheap Fares Vs You Plan Your Trip Around Naps
6 a.m.ers, red eyes – you used to find the cheapest flights out there. Now, find afternoon flight that will hit right at naptime and land around bedtime you are pulling the trigger.
You Bring Your Entertainment Vs You are the Entertainment
I used to spend time thinking about what I was going to do for a six-hour flight on my own. (Side note: I had the TIME to think about this?) I wondered, how could I entertain myself for that amount of time? (Again, um crazy person.) I would load my iPod up with podcasts and iPad with movies. I’d buy a magazine at the airport for that 10 minutes in between switching on airplane mode and takeoff.
This time, you are the entertainment. You are loading up the iPad with Bob the Builder, packing tiny headphones (that your kid refuses to wear), breaking out new books every hour, and singing till the twenty year old in the seat in front of you gives you the stink eye.
I think my last cross-country flight I forgot my headphones. Can you even imagine?
You Carryon as Much as Possible Vs You Check as Many Bags as Possible
Remember how checking bags was the worst? Not only does it cost more, you have to wait for the bags to come down the carousel. (Eye roll.)
Ummm but then you found out what it was like to lug a parade of shit through airport security and stuff it into an overhead compartment. You never travel light with kids – but you always check what you can.
You Avoid The Seats with Screaming Kids vs. You are the Seats with Screaming Kids
Since I became the one with the screaming kid, I realized I used to be kind of a jerk.
Having a kid on a plane makes you realize how understanding, patient, and kind humans can be. Parents whose children have grown volunteer to hold my kid as I’m taking something out of an overhead bin while childfree millennial smile at him and play peek-a-boo.
On one flight, there was a man who kept giving us looks out of the corner of his eye. I thought, this guy hates us. He HATES us. I bristled when he was about to say something at the end of the flight. You know what he said? Your kid is so cute. God, I was such a jerk.
So, for anyone flying with little kids in the near future: I salute you and wish for you smooth TSA lines, kind aisle-mates, a generous naptime, and a big-ass glass of wine.