11.08.11 Don't let airline cost-cutting measures and federal restrictions keep you on the ground when you have little ones.
Any person will tell you with great confidence that traveling with small children is no one's No.1 favorite thing to do. But it's a fact of life for many parents—especially when you factor in vacations or grandparents and other family members living out of state. Mix in cramped airline accommodations, delays or cancellations, and we're looking at Disaster City, The New York Times reports.
"At a time when resorts, cruise lines and tour operators are courting junior guests as if they were celebrity VIPs, flying with children has become an increasingly costly Survivor-like ordeal," according to the NYT article.
The writer describes fliers' experiences with rude flight attendants and inflexibility when it comes to children, especially babies. One parent was refused milk for his twins, with the airline citing that the complimentary beverage was reserved for coffee, not children's drinks. So families, take heed: "To ensure that your family has what it needs, bring it yourself," the article emphasizes.
Even the old norms of families with small children boarding first and families sitting together have fallen by the wayside. The article reports that "the only way to guarantee early boarding for your family is to buy it."
What about sitting together? Experts' advice in the article: Book early!
The article has a very handy breakdown of what parents can expect in the child-friendly department from different domestic airlines—from which ones have stroller gate check to which one sells kid meals and movies. Definitely worth a look if you're planning to get out of town this holiday season.
Check out our Have Baby, Will Travel page for clever and portable products to help simplify vacationing with your newest sightseer. And, parents, don't forget to pack extra patience!
Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.