7 Things Parents Forget on Plane Trips with Kids

3. Don't forget the paperwork

If traveling with a lap child, a youngster under the age of two who can fly for free if he or she sits on your lap, bring a copy of the little one's birth certificate. Chances are no one will ask for it, but it could come in handy if anyone questions the child's age and you need to prove it. If you can't, you could be stuck paying for another full-price adult ticket.

4. Don't forget the hardware

Did you borrow or buy an FAA-approved child-restraint seat for the plane? Good idea, just don't forget to bring it. Your airline might have a spare onboard but that's about as likely as the flight attendants suddenly deciding to offer free champagne in coach.

5. Don't forget the software

Real 'soft' stuff like pacifiers, blankets, much-loved stuffed animals plus candy and other treats as bribes for good behavior (yes, I've stooped to that). Also, please don't forget diapers. A former Pan Am flight attendant once told me about a passenger who gave her young child a 'newspaper toilet'; afterwards, the mother carefully folded it up and handed it to the flight attendant. Flight attendant was speechless. Bring diapers and do your own disposal work (and not in the seatback pocket).

6. Don't forget the electronics

Fun factoid: Most planes do not have screens for entertainment, not on the seatback or even on the ceiling. Bring a phone or tablet or a laptop for the kids if that's what it takes to keep them happy and quiet. And don't forget chargers and headphones.

7. Don't forget the rehearsal

Know how to jam up an airport security line real fast? All it takes is one frightened, screaming kid who doesn't understand what security is all about. Explain what'll happen ahead of time, and rehearse if you have to: Show them how to remove their little backpack and let them know that Pinky Pig will go on a conveyor belt but he will come back. The good news is children 12 years and under don't have to remove shoes or jackets before walking through the simple metal detector. If they know what to expect, they won't be afraid.

One last thing: Don't forget the fun. We parents forget what an amazing adventure flying is. Remind yourself and the kids by taking a moment with them to look out your plane's window. Enjoy the view.

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