Air Travel With Leelo and Mali

Air Travel With Leelo and Mali

Leelo at SeaTac
Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

I used to do a lot of traveling as the sole shepherd of Iz and Leelo. Many cross-country trips, international trips, and hops to San Diego or Seattle. I lived in fear of one or both of the kids falling asleep in the double stroller before we got through Security. I still get the jitters thinking about Leelo barfing all over the BWI departure lounge as we were boarding a five-hour flight to SFO (he wore jacket and diaper only for the remainder of that trip). I can't really imagine how I got from the curb to check-in while five months pregnant with Mali, with Leelo in a stroller, Iz on my hand, and hauling backpacks, two car seats, and luggage. But never in any of those incidences did I ever doubt my ability to muddle through.

Now I do. I cannot get through an airport with Leelo and Mali, by myself, at the moment. Leelo is too big and strong and unpredictable and bolty. Mali is too needy and squirmy and active; also she thinks that being yelled at for running away is the best game ever. I suppose that if I absolutely had to, I could strap Mali into a car seat and let her howl for the flight's duration, but I doubt I could survive that episode without alcoholic lubrication that would then make disembarking problematic. Also I would have to buy a round for everyone on board, and I am cheap.

Even with a partner, traveling with our two smallests is a challenge. Here are some forehead-smackers that I figured out for this trip, and which made our day bearable. Keep in mind that we parked our own van in the long-term lot. I still have not figured out how to keep the shuttle loading and unloading from totally sucking.
  • Get medical alert bracelets for kids like Leelo. He didn't get away from us this time, but what if he did? The bracelet has his name, says that he is autistic and will not talk to strangers, and has both of his parents' cell phone numbers on it. Oneida Medical Jewelry can get you a custom bracelet within a week and for a very reasonable rate.
  • Pack the spare car seats. How lovely to arrive at our car in the long-term lot and drop the kids in their car seats immediately, rather than have one of us pin them both down on the asphalt as the seats get installed.
  • Curb check your bags. If this is an option. You can do this even if the curb check folks say you can't with a lap child like Mali--but you may have to go inside to offically note your little parasite. We had time for the extra step and I'd certainly rather do that then haul all our bags and kids from the curb through the super-long check-in lines.
  • Bring your laptop and your child's favorite DVD's. If you have a laptop. Leelo hates being confined to his seat and gets extremely agitated while flying. His favorite movies were able to calm him down and keep him from yelling and kicking the seat in front of him. Everyone won.
Even with all of this newfound wisdom, it will probably be a while before I take them on another plane. Any additional tips on traveling with multiple noncompliant children are welcome.

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