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1. Children under 2 are not required to purchase a seat. However, some airlines offer a discounted ticket to children under 2, be sure to inquire with an agent before purchase. The advantage of purchasing a seat is that you can bring your child's infant carrier or Sit-n-Stroll and place it directly on the seat so that the child can rest comfortably. ( Toll Free Number to Contact your airline http://www.tollfreeairline.com )
2. If you do not purchase a ticket for your child, try to choose a flight that will not be full. This will allow you to use an extra seat for your child. Usually these flights are midday departures that do not cater to business persons. In addition, book the aisle and window seat only. Most people will not book the middle seat and you have a better chance of getting the whole row. In the event that it is booked, the passenger will surely swap for your aisle or window seat, or even move to another seat elsewhere on the plane.
3. If you bring a stroller to the airport, check it in right at the gate while boarding your flight. Otherwise, travel minimally with a Bjorn or sling and rent a stroller at your destination.
4. Rent or borrow as much equipment as possible at your destination. Traveling with equipment is cumbersome. Many airlines charge extra fees for excess luggage and loose equipment on flights are more likely to get damaged or stolen. Try using a rental service, for example: Santa Barbara Baby Company - http://www.sbbabyco.com/index.html
5. Be prepared for flight delays: bring extra formula, diapers, wipes, clothing, snacks and a DVD player! Info on airline regulation for liquids.
6. Try to burn off energy with your children before you board the plane. Many airports have children play areas. Check with the airport information kiosk.
7. Seek out other children on the flight. There is nothing more amusing and time consuming for children than playing with new friends. It will make the flight much easier.
8. Food - Bring along a chewy snack for the ascent and descent of the plane. It helps with the discomfort of the child's ear popping due to the altitude change
9. Airline Regulations: All carry-on baggage, including children's bags and items, must go through the X-ray machine. Examples include: diaper bags, blankets, and toys. For all the information you will need to know before you go!
10. Family Lane at Check Point: these lanes allow families and individuals unfamiliar with air travel procedures, as well as travelers with special needs, to go through security at their own pace. Individuals carrying medically necessary liquids, aerosols and gels in excess of three ounces will also be directed to these popular lanes. Individuals that carry medicine in liquid form, aerosols or gels over the three ounce limit will also be directed to these popular lanes.
TSA - Traveling with Children - This video gives you tips on traveling with children and how you can make your trip easier. Produced by www.tsa.gov
Additional info and sources:
www.tsa.gov - Transportation Security Administration (TSA) protects the nation's transportation systems
www.sbluggage.com - Local Santa Barbara Travel Supply Store
www.sbbabyco.com - Santa Barbara Baby Company (Equiptment Rentals)