Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday travel with three two year olds

Saturday was our first two of six flights we'll be taking with our three two year olds over the holidays.  We have flown with them before at 6 months, 9 months, and 18 months, but every time has been different because they change so much in such a short time.  And we knew that this time was going to be different too because now that they are two we had to buy five seats!  Talk about making traveling more expensive!  In March when we went to Seattle we took one car seat on board for the kiddo who wasn't in one of our laps. The car seat was nice to have for containment purposes and also napping.  But as we started planning for this trip we just couldn't wrap our brains around how we could realistically get three car seats on and off six airplanes, while also managing three toddlers.  We thought about just bringing one, knowing we could contain the other two if need be, but that just seemed like it would set us up for battles over who had to (or got to) sit in the car seat.  So in the end we opted to just check all three car seats and trust them to be big kids and sit in their own seats.  When we bought our tickets we got the Delta credit card which got us a free checked bag with each seat, which was perfect for this trip because we had to pack clothes for cold and warm weather, presents for two families, and hand-me-downs for baby Kyria!  This was our load to check when we checked in in State College!
checking everything meant a much lighter load through the airports
In the past they've always been in carriers through security,  but this time they said they wanted to walk
We insisted on the carriers for boarding though!

When we bought our tickets we had to strategize seating arrangements because each leg of our journey had different size planes, some with two and two, others with three and three, and a couple with three and two. In the past we haven't been able to be in a row of three because with lap babies there weren't enough oxygen masks, but now that they're in their own seats we can do that.  The trickiest to figure out are the tiny little two and two planes in and out of State College because we either had to have two kids sitting together with a mom across the aisle and one behind, or have a kiddo sit alone across the aisle and next to a stranger.  It was a last minute decision, but we ended up having Ellie sit by herself because Isaiah was cranky and in "mama mama mama" mode and Avery was a little anxious and wanted to sit with/next to me. Ellie was so brave and was 100% fine with sitting by herself next to a stranger.

the pretzels and juice were a big hit!
They were really good and for the most part stayed put in their seatbelts with only a handful of reminders. The snack helped and kept them occupied for a good chunk of time.  Sadly, on our second flight there was no snack/beverage service because it was such a short flight.  That and the fact that it was their bedtime when we took off meant the kiddos were much squirmier on the second flight.  Ellie and Isaiah were pretty content watching a video with headphones, but Avery wasn't digging the headphones and isn't as into movies anyway so I had to work more to keep her entertained!  But all in all they did very well and I am very happy with our decision to not bring the car seats on the plane. 

We had a layover in Detroit, which worked out great to burn off some extra energy. They loved the moving walkways and were nervous, but intrigued by the escalators. A big bonus in Detroit is that there is a little light rail in the airport so they got to ride two trains and two planes in one day! We found an empty gate near ours and just let them all run around.  Of course, then we almost missed our flight because just as we were packing up to head over two out of three suddenly had to poop!  Thankfully we made it on the plane!

look at those big kids carrying their own backpacks (this lasted for 5min!)
 I was pretty happy that I'd brought a little chico expandable bag to carry their backpacks in when they were over the novelty of carrying their own bags.
they enjoyed this lights and music tunnel
and the moving walkways!

or runways =)

Detroit had a little "letter to Santa" station  that occupied them for a bit

asking Santa for a baby doll

putting the letter in the mail

riding the airport train
run run run!


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