- Select seats in advance, and remember that kids can't sit in the exit rows. Find out if your flight offers pre-boarding for families with babies.
- Babies under two can sit in your lap, but many parents prefer to bring along a carseat. Often, airlines will discount a seat for a baby by 50%.
Combined car-seat stroller units are the most convenient way to get that cumbersome gear on board. Make sure the car-seat is FAA approved for use on planes, or it won't be permitted on-board.
An alternative to lugging that car-seat: CARES Airplane Seat Harness weighs less than a pound, and secures a child in the regular airplane seat.
- Keep your stroller until the last possible moment. The stroller gives you mobility in the airport, it can carry a lot of your stuff, and if your flight is delayed, your baby has a comfy place to nap. Typically you can keep your stroller until boarding and then check it just before you step on the plane.
- Bring three more diapers than you think you'll need. Also bring zip-loc bags for any soiled clothes.
- For babies, bring several changes of clothes, and extra clothes for yourself if possible (- the worst can happen). An extra t-shirt for older kids can come in handy, too: it seems to be easy to spill drinks on planes!
- For bottle-feeding babies, bring ready-made formula or powdered formula to be used with bottled water. Security rules forbid liquids in sizes over 3 oz., but formula, breast milk, and juice CAN be brought if you're with a baby. As for water, security rules don't allow you to bring a bottle of water through the security gates, but you can bring an empty bottle or sippy cup and then buy water once you've passed the security gate. (Check rules for what you can bring on the plane.)
- Bring snacks onboard: very few domestic flights these days serve any meals, so be sure to feed the kids before your flight and/or bring snacks along. Parents traveling with babies are allowed bring on-board baby food in cans or jars. Also, considerable time may pass before flight attendants can bring around drinks, so try to have a drink on-hand. See above, for rules about bringing liquids on-board if you're traveling with a baby. If you're with a toddler, buy bottled water after you pass through the security gate.
- Bring along a plastic food container for storing a half-eaten or an untouched meal, for later. For example, on long flights meals are still provided but kids are sometimes fast asleep when the food is served. A food container is also useful if you grab a meal in the airport and your child only eats a bite or two: take the rest on the plane.
- Bring baby-wipes even when traveling with older kids, to clean up dribbles down shirt-fronts, spills, etc.
- Take plenty of amusements. Inexpensive novelties -- in three layers of wrapping -- work wonders.
- Don't give out your loot (treats, toys, etc.) too soon! Make sure to hold back enough surprises to last the whole trip.
- To avoid ear pressure problems, have babies either nurse or suck on a bottle during takeoffs and landings. Small kids can suck on a candy or chew gum.
- With tiny kids, expect to spend pretty much every minute taking care of them. Forget that in-flight movie; you can watch it when they're nine and think it's a huge luxury.