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Family Travel Question:

Q | I am flying alone with my preschooler and non-stop flights are not available. Any tips about making a connection?

Take a deep breath because no matter how much you plan, air travel today is probably the only thing more unpredictable and stressful than how your preschooler will behave during air travel.

A | Connecting flights: Put time on your side

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Take a deep breath because no matter how much you plan, air travel today is probably the only thing more unpredictable and stressful than how your preschooler will behave during air travel. I’ve been there. Your best thing you can do is to leave lots of extra time between connections; 90 minutes should be a minimum.  It is easier to entertain children in an airport for an hour than try to get them to run across it in 15 minutes.

Have a plan to get from one end of the airport to another as the person who schedules gate arrives will make sure to less stress with time to spare in an airport with kidsput your flights as far apart as possible.  Gate checking a stroller can help speed your journey between connections.  Don’t be afraid to request shuttle service (the golf cart like transportation with the infernal beeping) but be sure to do it before your flight, on board and as soon as you deplane.

Finally, carry a charged cell phone and at least two of the airline’s telephone numbers. Should you miss your connecting flight, standing in the customer service line with a child who has been cooped up on an airplane is asking for trouble.  Find a less populated seating area or one adjacent to a play area and reschedule your connection via phone while your child runs off some energy.  Then take a deep breath.

One Response

  1. Becky C. says:

    Another suggestion – print out a map of the airport terminal with gates and bring it with you. Most of the time, the same flight uses the same gate day after day, so you can use the flight tracker of your airline to see what your *likely* arrival and departure gates are. This will help you map out bathrooms, etc along your route from gate to gate as well.
    For me, it was better to get as short of a layover as possible, to reduce our total time in airports/planes. It was tough to make a 30 min connection, but in the long run it was the better choice.

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