Airport travel with small children

From the airport to the plane what is the most stressful part of travelling with your child/children? Why?

  1. Getting through the security checks and boarding the plane is pretty challenging especially with a toddler. He wants to constantly run around.
  2. The unpredictability of delays. Concern that young children might be noisy and disturb other passengers.
  3. Getting there on time, making sure they take my suit cases, cars seats and stolder without paying extra.
  4. Lots of luggage and kids to look after, waiting around with nothing to do. If over nap/bedtime kids are tired and cranky.
  5. From the airport to the plane, the stress is in the boarding process. There are all the carry on’s, the stroller, the car seat, and then on top of it there is your child to try to control

Do you spend extra money in the airport on goods or services in an effort toallowyour trip go more smoothly? If so please describe.

  1. Yes. We got a travel stroller, an IPad, a bigger luggage. Etc.
  2. Yes. We always make time to buy a snack and a pack of gum for the plane ride.
  3. No.
  4. Yes, food and drink to keep everyone distracted.
  5. Nope.

ASSISTANCE part 1: 
Can you describe what (if any) assistance you received from airport or airline employees while travelling with your child/children.

  1. Some airlines let you board first which is very helpful. Not everyone was the same.
  2. I have always found staff to be very helpful with managing strollers when kids were little (under 5). Also they usually got extra attention when on plane, conversation/blanket/headphones…
  3. We also got priority at the security. The trolley took us to our next plaNE cause it was a long walk.
  4. Help with stroller from gate to plane and plane to gate.
  5. Not really that I could remember. I think we were able to board early which makes that better since it limits the amount of time if the most stressful part.

ASSISTANCE part 2: 
Did you find the assistance helpful? Why?

  1. Yes it was helpful. I like getting seated first so that we can get our stuff and get our son seated without too many people around.
  2. Yes, mainly a distraction to help time pass more quickly when waiting.
  3. Very helpful, or else we would not have made it.
  4. Yes because you are feeling so frazzled it’s nice to have any kind of help
  5. Yes, it lessened the time of the worst part.

ASSISTANCE part 3: 
Is there anyadditional assistance that couldhave made your trip more enjoyable?

  1. I would have appreciated having th push cart all the way thru security. Communication with parents and consistency throughout all airlines.
  2. Not that I can think of.
  3. No
  4. Maybe a kid zone, even a small area with a tv or small slide would be nice.
  5. Yes. Better communication to families boarding. It would be nice to board first every time and to clearly know how and when.

Is there any type of special planning you do prior to leaving on your trip that makes travelling easier?

  1. We always make sure we ask before hand if they will allow our car seat before hand.
  2. Make sure each kid has their own back pack with book/game/ipod/snack/headphones….
  3. Make a lunch, pack all kinds of colouring and games.
  4. Just making sure food and toys are packed
  5. Just make sure we have everything we need and particularly things to keep the kids happy as much as possible.

What is your airport routine? ie. do you arrive at the airport at the recommended time? Earlier? Later?

  1. We always arrive earlier.
  2. We usually arrive on time but never pre board. I prefer to wait until the end, then less time spent waiting in tight spaces before take off (especially when kids were under 2 and had to sit on lap.)
  3. Earlier
  4. Usually ontime. Over the years I com later and later especially for quick flights within country
  5. I like to arrive earlier, more time equals less stress for me.

While travelling with your child/children is there anything about the airport experience that you enjoy?

  1. Not really. Most airports are crammed and super busy so it’s never fun.
  2. We love watching the planes and browsing through the shops. Looking for play spaces if available. Walking on the moving walways.
  3. Just the excitement of arriving at our destination.
  4. No. Maybe when the kids are older it will get easier and more enjoyable, travelling with an infant or very young kids is just stressful because of all the time delays and down time.
  5. Not really. Just my kids curiosity and wonder. Typically I don’t enjoy airport experiences, with or without kids. The only thing I appreciate is the architecture, functionally and aesthetically.

Have you ever arrived late to the airport while travelling with your child/children? If so please describe the pain points of this experience.

  1. Never. We always try to get there earlier.
  2. Thankfully no!
  3. Never
  4. No
  5. No, I haven’t.

Summary:

There seems to be a theme between questions and survey responders that one of the top stressors of travelling with children is the inconsistencies of airport and airline policies.

All of the respondents to my survey noted that they spend extra time preparing for their trip to make everything run more smoothly.

Common adjectives: Frazzled, stressed, unpredictable, trying to control, inconsistent, communication

Next Steps:

I think a useful tool would be to have a one stop resources that outlines the policies of each airline and each airport, so that passengers travelling with children can better know what to expect before they arrive at the airport.

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