Today I thought I’d write about one of my biggest sources of anxiety when it comes to flying with kids, and that’s getting through security. Regardless of how much we’ve flown, when I think about that security line with an infant, I get nervous butterflies in my stomach and start stressing.
I wanted to share a few tips I’ve found along the way and try to ease some of this stress for any new parents who are facing the dreaded security line anytime soon.
- My first tip is more of a statement -that people are so helpful and wonderful. Every time I’ve flown alone, the people around me have really helped me out and never been rude or pushy. Maybe they see the messy ponytail and the no makeup, stressed-out look of terror in my eyes and have compassion for me, or maybe they’ve been there before and understand. Either way, they are amazingly helpful. I remember the first time I flew alone with Eli and the security officer had me take Eli out of his stroller, so I was holding a 16 lb baby in one arm and trying to get my shoes off and electronics and liquids out of the bag and fold up his stroller with the other hand. A man behind me helped me get my stroller on the belt and all of my things in the bins. I doubt he knew how truly grateful I was for his help and not being frustrated to be behind the mom who takes forever!
- My second tip is to be prepared and plan ahead. I’ve learned to keep all my liquids in one spot in his diaper bag with easy access. That way I can grab them quickly and set them in the bin and then I just organize them once we’re through security. I also keep my electronics with easy access for this reason.
- Wear slip on shoes. That way when you’re holding a baby and trying to get your shoes off you can do so easily.
- Listen to the TSA agents for guidance on what to do with your stroller or carrier. We’ve flown with both our stroller and carrier (more on that here) and every airport is different with how they do security with these items. Some will have you put your stroller on the belt and others will hand check it. Some will let you keep the baby in the carrier while you walk through and others will make you take the baby out. I always ask the TSA agent what they would like me to do and they are usually very friendly and give you good instruction.
- Breast milk. I talked in depth about this in one of my other posts here, but just know it will need to be tested when you go through security and you will need to take all of it out and put it in a separate bin. You can ask them to not X-ray your milk, though, and they will just hand search all your belongings.
- Arrive early. I don’t know about you, but when I used to fly alone I had a system down. I could get there and get through security so quickly. That’s just not the case with a baby. Maybe it’s all the liquids that make you get hand-searched each time, or just the fact that you now have a ridiculous amount of stuff to bring (stroller, diaper bag, your items, milk, pump if you need it, etc) or because now you have to not only get yourself through the security line but also a tiny human as well. It just takes a lot longer. We usually end up getting hand searched and all our bags hand searched as well because we either have milk and/or baby food pouches with us that exceed the normal amount of liquids. Just take my advice and don’t be stressed for time while you’re going through security. I’ve been there and it’s not fun to be pressed for time and have a screaming baby.
That’s all the advice I can think of now, other than try not to stress (I know, easier said than done). And if you don’t have kids traveling with you and start to get frustrated with the mom taking a long time in front of you in line, just remember how it was with them and how hard it can be, and maybe offer to help out. Or even just offer a smile and tell her she’s doing a great job. You may just make that other moms day or help her to just make it through.