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Gate Agent’s Expert Advice When Traveling with Kids

When it comes to knowing the rules about traveling with your children, who better to ask than a gate agent who answers these questions all day long? Welcome to guest writer Cindy. Cindy works for a major U.S. airline in Orlando so she’s seen it all with the countless families traveling in and out of Orlando every day. So whether you’re planning a big family vacation with your little ones to see Mickey Mouse or bringing your kids with you on a business trip, these pearls of travel wisdom from Cindy will help you out.

I know that at some point in time, you seasoned travelers take your children with you on your flight. I work for a major airline, and have a few tips that may make your airport experience a little bit easier.

First and foremost, bring snacks on the plane with you for your child. The snacks that you can bring from home will be much healthier than food the airline serves. If there is any kind of delay, due to weather or worse, a mechanical problem with the aircraft, you have some food to satisfy your child. Remember, anything that you purchase once you pass security can be carried onboard the aircraft with you. So pack the grapes, the apples and the peanut butter sandwich, but buy the drinks on the other side of security.

Secondly, if you are using a car seat on the aircraft, it MUST be a full car seat, not a booster seat. The booster seat can’t be used during takeoff or landing, so it is better and safer for the child to sit in a standard car seat. The car seat must be placed in a window seat for safety reasons. If you are checking your car seat at the gate, be certain that it is inside of a bag, these bags are only at the ticket counter, so ask for one before going to the gate. If you have a cover for the seat, that is even better.

If you and your child are not seated together, go to the gate one hour prior to departure and see the gate agent. The gate agents arrive at the gate podium to open up the flight one hour prior to the departure time. They can often page other travelers to switch the seats around to help families with small children. Do not expect them to help you after the flight has started boarding as it is almost impossible to ask anyone to switch their seat at that time.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Mickey Mouse helium balloons will burst in flight. They have to be fully deflated to go on the aircraft with you.

If you won a stuffed Shamu at Sea World, he needs to be checked at the ticket counter, or get a bag for him and he can be checked at the gate. He is too big for the overhead bins on the aircraft!

Families with children under the age of four are often boarded after First Class customers, so be ready to board five minutes after the gate agents starts boarding the aircraft.

I hope these tips help you folks with small children. I work in Orlando and one flight can have up to thirty or more children on it. The more prepared you are the better your flight experience will be with your children.


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