Flying with kids, my experience from SeaTac airport

Disclosure: In any review for a product or service, products or compensation may have been provided to me to help facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and honest. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Guidelines. Please see “Disclose” and "Terms of Use" tabs for more information.

The following is a guest post. All opinions and experiences are those of the author.

My first job was quite exciting as a regional director of sales, I would fly in and out of the country frequently. I was either alone or with members of the sales team; at least there was no one who required extra attention. Fast forward to my current life as a mother of kids whose greatest hobby is driving me up the wall. Well, how else would you call yelling for no apparent reason, picking fights with each other especially in public and pretending to forget instructions only when it is convenient for them?

There is no better feeling than the freedom of having carryon luggage at the airport, changing sitting positions at the airport terminal and having your entire flight time, organize so that you even have time to catch a nap.

We flew together as a family last Christmas and I can tell you, kids on planes are a real piece of work. You better have an extra pair of adult hands if you are hoping on arriving sane. I think I did pretty well on that flight and that is the reason I feel I can teach other parents a thing or two about flying with kids. I will try to narrate the experience step by step so that it is easy to apply.

Before getting to the airport

There is no way around this one; you have to start preparing the children early. Even if everybody knew in advance that the whole family would be travelling, lateness still has a way of creeping up on you. It is best to leave an extra hour to cater for time wasted. Depending on the time of travel, organize homemade snacks for the kids instead of actual food. This will not only save you preparation time, but it will also save on eating time.

I had kind of shared some preparation duties with my husband but things changed on the actual day. Not only did he not help me at all, but he also went to his place of work to take care of last minute business leaving me to myself. The only thing that saved me from a nervous breakdown was being ahead of the schedule.

I also realized that I saved so much time having done the packing before. Packing for 4 is no mean feat and there is no shortcut for doing it well while in a hurry. As far as parking is concerned, I used 2 suitcases to cut down on luggage. I just figured that there would be no easy way of dragging around 4 suitcases around the airport.

When it comes to travelling to the airport, I had an easy time because I used SeaTac airport parking through the Parkos platform. This platform allows me to drive to the airport in comfort with the assurance that I will find suitable airport parking garage for my vehicle the entire time I will be away. Some people advocate for hired rides when travelling to the airport but I disagree. I consider the inconvenience of having to pay bus fare for each member of my entourage, the inconvenience of dealing with children in an unfamiliar territory and dealing with moving your luggage from where the bus leaves you to the terminal. You will particularly love Parkos Seattle Tacoma airport parking if you are the forgetful type; I have left my travel document many times but with a car and knowledge of shortcuts, all I need to do not to miss a flight is to turn back.

At the airport

Once you arrive at the SeaTac international airport, half of your travel woes will have been half solved. Judge the distance from your terminal to where your parking lot is and weigh between valet parking and self-parking. I am addicted to valet parking; I think it is because of the convenience it offers.

SeaTac airport is famous for its state of the art facilities designed for both adults and kids. If you have a few minutes to spare before your flight, download the story app. This gives you a guided tour through each of the more than 100 pieces of art work displaced around the airport. Last minute tasks you need to remember to do especially if you have a small child include changing their diaper and changing their clothes. The airport provides changing stations all over its premises and a host of shops that sell diapers.

How long is the flight going to take? Check to see if the snacks you brought from home will be enough for your kids. If you need more, buy from the stores around the airport. Take care not to buy foods that would easily go bad or cause an allergic reaction on your children. The simple rule of thumb is; leave it if you are not sure what went into it.

For entertainment I download games on two tablets which I make sure I fully charge before leaving the house. Obviously, kids get bored easily and they ditch the games after a while. That is why I appreciate the presence of Digiboo kiosks in different locations in SeaTac. I can get the latest movies for both the kids and I (My husband and I share the same interests in entertainment so he is sorted when I am).

In case you get stuck at the airport longer than as it happens when a flight has been delayed, go over to the children’s play area with the kids. They will not only socialize with other kids but will also shed off some of the energy they have.

During the flight

When your flight is finally called to board, listen for the special privilege given to those with small children. Airlines are aware that your children will bring you hell on earth in flight and they are willing to give you ample time to organize your luggage in the overhead compartment before everybody else does.

If you find that you are not the only parent flying with kids, try to create a friendly environment with the other parents. Appreciate the fact that their kids could be older or younger than yours so they will behave differently. You are not looking for long term friends here but someone like you who understands what you are going through. You need their encouraging glances every now and then when your child acts out or is being impatient during the flight.

Come with plenty of chewing gum

Take-off and landing can be a nightmare for your kids especially when they have a cold. You will helplessly watch as your child does Poltergeist and even the most tolerant passengers you met as you checked in may not offer you any support. You will not be able to avoid the effect of changes in air pressure so better be prepared to deal with it. Have a pair of headphones for each of your children and given them gum to chew on before it happens.

Lie about how soon you will land

I remember as a kid travelling with my mother and the question I asked most was “are we there yet?” I do not remember much of what I got as an answer but I now know how annoying it is to answer the same question over and over again. For my children, I have decided to lie on occasion just to keep them grounded. How best can you tell a six year old that you have another 3 hours to sit in a plane? If you choose to do the same, make sure you have disabled the map feature that shows exactly how much time to estimate till landing.


  1. […] Flying with kids, my experience from SeaTac airport – I consider the inconvenience of having to pay bus fare for each member of my entourage, the inconvenience of dealing. child acts out or is being impatient during the flight. Take-off and landing. […]

Speak Your Mind