Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday in the United States; according to AAA, more than 36 million Americans will hit the road for turkey and cranberries this year. If you’re one of the nearly 3.15 million folks flying for your feast, a little strategy will save you a lot of stress, and hopefully get you to your family dinner with a smile on your face. First, leave yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and through security. Next, pack some patience, and read our Thanksgiving travel tips for flying families, below:
- Power Up: Great news for families flying this holiday season: the FAA has just given the thumbs-up for electronics to be used below 10,000 feet. This means you don’t have to power off your iPod during takeoff and landing, and the kids can keep listening to their favorite Little Pim language lesson uninterrupted. (Note that rules differ based on airlines, and you still can’t use cell phones at any height, so stash some crayons and coloring books in your carry-on as well).
- Shoe-phoria: More good news from the FAA: Although adults still need to kick their kicks at security, children 12 and under can keep their shoes on–-great news for little feet everywhere.
- Stroller Success: No matter what age you are, you’ll still need to take off your jacket and bulky layers before you go through the metal detectors. And all children, no matter how big or small, must be removed from their stroller, and the stroller has to be folded and placed on the conveyor belt. Think quick-folding umbrella strollers for ease of travel.
- Be an Early Bird: Most airlines allow you to check in and receive boarding passes 24 hours in advance. Take advantage of this opportunity to guarantee your seat assignment; airlines routinely overbook planes, and if you’re the last one to check in, you could be bumped from the flight.
- BYOF (Bring Your Own Food): If you’re flying domestic coach, repeat after me: bring your own food! Most carriers no longer provide even a mini bag of pretzels for cross-country flights, and food for sale isn’t always guaranteed. Pack easy to stash food and snacks such as dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, pre-spread cheese and crackers, and PB&J and you’ll be your family’s food hero.
- Lollis, and Pacis, and Bottles – Oh my! Don’t let ear pain ruin a flight for your little ones. Have them suck on a pacifier, bottle, sippy cup, or a lollipop during takeoff and landing—sucking helps combat pressure changes in the ear from altitude changes, and helps keep Eustachian tubes open and pain free.
Melissa Klurman is an award winning travel writer who has dispensed holiday travel advice in outlets ranging from ABC News to the Wall Street Journal. She’s also a global traveling mom and a contributor to our blog pages here at Little Pim.