Amy Mertz lives in Queens, NY and is mom to 3 year old Mya. We refer to her as a Fork+Bib O.M. – one of the Original Mommys in the baby dining club, she and Mya were joining Sunny and me at restaurants before this blog even existed. Amy is a Flight Attendant for a major U.S. airline so when it comes to hitting the high skies with a little one she knows what she’s talking about! We had a little chat about flying with kiddies….
Amy, how long have you been a flight attendant?
I’ve been a Flight Attendant for a major U.S. airline for the last 8 years.
Flying with kids is never easy – at least not for me! What is your best strategy for calming a child during takeoff and landing?
I think in general the key to surviving any flight of any length is to keep a child distracted and occupied. If a child is specifically experiencing any pain (in ears) during takeoff or landing a good solution is to give them something to eat. Eating tends to help relieve pressure in anyone’s ears. As a flight attendant, usually you need to just wait it out, once the plane is at cruise altitude, it relieves the pressure that may be causing a child to cry.
I’m addicted to Amazon Prime and I’ve seen a lot of funky attachments and gadgets marketed to parents flying with children. Before I get sucked into buying one or more of these contraptions, what’s your take on those attachable travel baby bassinets and those seatbelt harnesses?
There are only a couple of gadgets that are actually FAA approved. The only item that is approved (besides car seats) for travel by U.S. airlines is something called a CARES which is an approved in-flight harness device. I own one and use it when I travel with Mya. It is great because it provides the same safety features as a car seat, without having to drag a car seat with you! You can learn more about it at http://kidsflysafe.com – I recommend!
What are the top five must-haves in your kiddie emergency travel bag?
1. A change of clothes for child
2. A change of clothes for YOU
3. Lots and lots of snacks
Thanks, good point about #2. I still shudder when I think about that time Sunny barfed at security and I had already checked my luggage. I bought a lifeguard shirt at the giftshop and held my breath for the entire flight. Fun times.
Ok, so you see lots of parents in your job. What is the most annoying thing that parents do when flying with kids?
Carry too much stuff with them!!!
Uh Oh. Guilty. I can tell by the exclamation marks that you are pretty passionate about this one.
Yes – keep all your carry on items to just one personal item!! Don’t lug around a roller board for you for your child and bags upon bags hanging off of you. Do yourself a favor and keep it simple!
Breastfeeding at your seat – yay or nay?
Please feed your child if they are hungry, no matter where you are.
Did your perspective change on traveling once you had a baby?
Not really although I do feel like a better parent traveler because of my experience as a flight attendant.
Best seats for flying with kids?
Seat your child in the window, and if you are a single parent sit in the middle seat beside them. Parents tend to be able to control their children in that space more effectively.
Any MacGyver tricks for changing your baby in the airplane bathroom?
Hahaha not necessarily, however if you find yourself in a bathroom without a changing table ( yes, some planes have no changing table) you can sit on the toilet (lid closed) and change your child on your lap.
One time I tried to change Sunny with the lid open and her socks fell in. Just thought you should know. Should I have pulled them out?
Okay last question…..what is your favorite restaurant to take Mya to?
One of my favorite places to take Mya to when she was really little was Almond because the staff was always so accommodating and helpful to us there.
We agree! Almond is “Sippy Cup Approved”!
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