1. Book an early morning departure.
It's your best chance to avoid delays at takeoff and landing, a flight attendant named Patrick explains. These flights are usually less crowded, too, and everyone is basically tired and just wants to nap—kids especially. Also, if possible, avoid flights with long layovers or late-night connections.
2. Dress comfortably
Be ready for drastically changing temperatures when flying with a toddler. We suggest you dress your kids in comfortable layers—preferably without buttons, zippers, or anything that could prevent them from getting to the bathroom in time. The same principle applies to shoes: Avoid laces and opt for slip-ons. "There's the added benefit of getting through airport screening that much faster.
3. Bring surprises.
When flying with a toddler, a wrapped new plaything has two advantages: Kids love to unwrap stuff, and a new toy has more attention-grabbing pull.
4. Consider using a smaller stroller.
Getting through an airport without a stroller is unthinkable for some parents, so consider switching out your regular-size stroller for an umbrella stroller. Also, check your stroller at the gate before boarding; the crew will have it waiting for you when you get off the plane.
If you've got more than one little traveler with you, consider a kid harness (leash), Flying is stressful enough. Do what you need to do to protect your kids and your sanity.
5. Pack just enough.
Flight attendants urge parents to pack enough essentials for the flight. Unfortunately, you can expect there to be zero food on a plane that would interest a kid, and we are so limited in what we can offer in terms of comfort items as well.
On the flip side, parents will struggle if they zealously overpack. Usually, when it's one parent traveling with one or more kids, they'll bring way too much stuff in an attempt to keep their kids happy, they forget they have to carry all that stuff off the plane with them, along with their kids.