Sunday, July 1, 2012

Flying With a Little One: Going Through Security

One of the biggest concerns, especially when flying with a baby, is what are you allowed to bring on the plane for the kiddos. You should also be aware of what to expect when going through security with your child. The more I traveled with JAM, the more I learned how to tweak what was important and what wasn't. I've been traveling on the plane with JAM since he was 4-5 months old and I'd travel by myself. Although I always had someone help check-in my baggage, no one was allowed through security check without a boarding pass, which meant I was gonna go through the security check solo withh JAM. First of all, check in as many items as possible!! With all these crazy baggage fees I know it can be hard, but it'll make your trip so much smoother if you do. I always checked-in JAM's carseat and gate checked his stroller. Gate checking means leaving the stroller at the gate right before you enter the plane so it'll be there right where you get off, and you won't have to carry the baby around the airport.

I remember my first trip with JAM. The  security check was HORRIBLE. I had him, my boarding passes, purse, baby bag, stroller, and laptop. Initially it didn't seem so bad since those were the bare necessities, especially since I had his stroller to carry everything for me. Then I had to go through security. I knew I had to put the usual bags through the x-ray machine, but I didn't take into consideration everything else. I had to take mine AND JAM's shoes off, my belt, fold up the stroller to put through the x-ray machine since it was capable of fitting, and take my laptop out the bag. It doesn't sound to bad, but remember, you have to do this in 3.5 seconds. This wasn't the hard part. The hard part was after you walk through security. Holding the baby in this narrow pathway, I had to unfold the stroller, put my shoes back on, and basically grab all the other crap and just throw it in the stroller to find a place on the side and put it all back where it belongs. As I'm putting JAM's shoes back on, putting my belt back on, and putting my laptop back in the bag, a TSA security requested to check his diaper bag. No problem. I was planning a trip from Chicago to Vegas and planned on staying there for a month with my dad so I packed all his baby food and stuff in the baby bag since I didn't want it all to make a mess in my luggage (we all know how they handle our checked in bags). They gave me a hard time because I had too much food in the bag. Apparently you're only allowed to fly with enough food that will last the baby for the flight and I had a month's worth of food and beverage for my 5 month old. Long story short, a female TSA made the exception since she was a mom too.
Happy baby since mommy got his
juice through security!
Phew! After many trials and errors, I now wear flip flops and stretch pants to the fly so no dealing with belts and it's easy to slide shoes back on. JAM only wears socks (until he started to walk). I bring enough food just for the flight and buy food when I arrive. You are allowed to bring water and breast milk as long as it's for the baby. They did make me dump out the juice when JAM started using sippy cups though. I think it depends on the airport and security guard because that only happened once. I just asked for apple juice or orange juice once I got on the plane and filled his sippy cup back up. I travel with my laptop once in awhile and still bring it as a carry on cuz I'm paranoid to put it in my check-in bag. I tried to go without a stroller and that was horrible. Never again. Carrying a baby, purse and baby bag all around the airport can become tiring, especially when your gate is on the other side of the airport. It would get worse once he started walking because he never wanted to be carried and always wanted to wander. A stroller solves all that madness so I just deal with putting it through security. There have been a couple times JAM was "randomly" security checked, which was odd, but know that you are to NEVER be separated from your child if that occurs. I got checked one time and it ended up being my underwire bra *shakes head*.

Well hopefully this prepares you for your flight so you don't have to go through a crisis like I had to experience. Just remember to breathe, and people are more understanding than you think. 9 times out of 10 TSA will help you gather your things if they see you're struggling with your baby. However, don't always count on someone's help. Just try to be as efficient as you can and don't leave anything behind! For more information check out TSA's website. Stay tuned to hear my tips on how to keep your child calm while in the air. Happy Travels!
He's sloooooowly breaking down....
Do you have any crazy or hectic stories about going through airport security?