I am dreading dreading our flight to Scotland, which is happening next week.  I hate flying under even the best of circumstances because I can never ever sleep on planes.  I have been known to polish off 2 Ambien with a glass of wine and still sit there twiddling my ever agitated thumbs for the 7 hour night flight. The last time I flew may have been one of the worst flights in my 15 years of pond hopping to and from Scotland. I was 4 months pregnant and my flight was delayed by 7 hours for half an inch of snow, most of it sitting in the plane on the tarmac in Glasgow airport. 

Flying seems to encompass the worst elements of a doctor's office, the DMV, and rush hour on the F train. I hate sitting still.  I hate waiting.  I hate lines.  I hate canned air. I hate jetlag. Hate hate hate.

Add to this a two year old who has never flown and spends relatively little time in the car (or any place where he has to sit still for extended periods of time) and I have no hope of anything short of torture.  Nonetheless, I have been amassing tips from other parents on how to survive:


• If possible try to get them to skip the nap before their flight (especially a nighttime flight). They will be cranky but more likely to sleep on the plane.

• Make sure they have their own carry-on bag that's completely separate from your stuff so if the parents need to separate in the airport all the stuff stays with the kid.  Try to make them carry it throughout the airport if it's not too heavy.

• One parent should board the plane with all the stuff and get everything ready while the other parent hangs back with the kid and waits until the last possible second to board.

• Don't let them drink for a while before getting on the plane and give them a sippy cup just before the plane takes off so they are sure to drink it and their ears won't pop.

• Buy a bunch of tiny cheap toys (Goodwill might be good for this) and wrap them in tissue paper and lots of tape.  You can dole them out throughout the flight as needed.

• Office sticky tabs and a small notebook are a cheap alternative to sticker books.

• If the kiddo does seem like he will sleep you can make a nest of the floor under your feet for him to curl up in (unless you get a crabby flight attendant - you're not really supposed to do that)

• Buy earplugs in bulk from Home Depot and hand them out to your neighbors (Sam's idea).

• If all else fails, Benadryl for them and a Xanax for you.