Flying Kids, Part II

We are revising our strategy for boarding a plane with our two kids, both under the age of three. While we used to stand poised by the gate, ready to be the first to leap onto the gangway as soon as boarding began — or even before boarding began (after all, we are “passengers who need extra assistance”) — we will now hang back a bit.

This is not just because we often find ourselves assisting our nearly three-year-old with lengthy potty trips in the run up to boarding time. Nor is it because we want one last Starbucks trip before getting onto the plane (although that has happened at least once).

We finally realized that as thrilling as it is to have first dibs on the overhead bins, the less time you can spend on a plane, the better. This is especially true on a Friday evening in August, when you’re flying from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport to New York’s LaGuardia. We are now veterans of this route, and it seems to be plagued by delays.

When our flight was pushed back by about an hour and a half this past weekend, we wished we had savored a few more minutes in the terminal, where our son was toddling between travelers’ suitcases and legs, and our daughter didn’t have to contend with illuminated seatbelt signs when she wanted to hit the potty.

So now, we will take our time walking to the gate. We will not panic when we hear the announcement that our flight is boarding. The hour-plus we spent stuck on the tarmac with two crying kids was a cruel reminder that kids do not like to be strapped into a seat. Next time, we’ll have to think about driving…

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