How to Travel by Plane with 5 Month Old Triplets
Step 1-Call to book your tickets. Online booking is my go to, but in this case you have to call. They will add the “infant in arms” to both adult tickets and inform you that you have to purchase a ticket for one infant. If at all possible book a direct flight, any layovers is just pressing your luck.
Step 2-Pack well. You need to be prepared for any possible eventualities. TSA will allow you to carry formula or breast milk (it saves time if you take it out of your carry for the scanner). Even if the flight is short bring enough to feed them on the way up and down. Pacifiers work for ear popping but bottles are more of a sure thing. Don’t forget about food for yourself and any older children. Airport food is generally gross, expensive, and will cost you much needed prep time. You’ll also want back up outfits, lots of diapers, burp rags, baby carriers, blankets, and meds just in case. Also, I love Snap n’ Gos. We have a single and a double. This works well since we have at least two adults, there is always someone to push them both.
Step 3- Rehearse. Sounds silly but walk through each major step with your fellow traveler before you get there. If you haven’t flown recently get someone who has to update you on what to expect.
Step 4-Use Curbside. Unload your bags and check them before you even get the babies out of the car.
Step 5-Bring back up. It is necessary to have one adult per baby. If only Mom and Dad are traveling request a Gate Pass from your airline’s Special Services and don’t take “no” for an answer. (Resist the urge to headlock the incredibly annoying Delta employee who inevitably compares her prior experience with yours. “I’ve traveled with three children under the age of four and didn’t need any help.” It helps to understand the situation if you repeat this line outloud in the most condescending voice you can muster. The “x children under x age” remark is one of the quotes that other moms of multiples warn you about before you give birth, so I can’t say I wasn’t prepared. However, it didn’t prevent a moment of red hot rage from flashing before my eyes.)
Step 6- Smile, nice. If you smile and your babies are looking cute (which is inevitable) you may get someone to take you to the super secret short security line.
Step 7- Send your bags through first. Once your babies are out of their seats there’s no turning back so its better to have your shoes off and laptop in the little bin before you unstrap them.
Step 8- Don’t think you’re special. Yes, having triplets makes you different and may even give you a “hall pass” for a lot of what life has in store, but not at the airport. If the babies get upset, do what you can to calm them but remember it is not the last time or even the best reason they’ll ever have to cry. More importantly, keep you’re eye on the prize, whether it takes you 3 hours or 12 you will eventually arrive at your destination. Getting rattled by all the folks who just don’t have their acts together isn’t going to help your kids or you.
Step 9- Regroup and count. Once you’re on the other side and have all your clothes on again, take stock of your children and belongings.
Step 10- Go directly to your gate do not pass go. Don’t stop at the bathroom, a restaurant, or to pick up a magazine (long gone are your days of blissful solitude on the plane.) You need to get to your gate and make sure all is well.
Step 11- Check in with your gate crew. When you get to the gate tell the crew that you are traveling with triplets. If your not-so-competent airline has failed to get you seats together, now is the time to explain how important it is that you are close to your adult traveling partner. Also, you need gate check tickets for your strollers and car seats. You should also mention that if they have any empty seats it would be helpful for you to have them in your row. Car seats are only allowed in window seats, so you’ll have to sit across the aisle from each other, but its worth it to have a place for more than one baby that isn’t your lap.
Step 12- Prep for boarding. Most flights will begin boarding 20 minutes early and 30 for pre-boarding, so unless you left the house a week before your flight, its probably time for you to get ready to fly. First, visit the restroom while you still have an extra adult. Check for any dirty diapers and get those taken care of before getting on the plane. Some planes have changing tables in the bathrooms but it is easier on solid ground. Next switch two of the babies into carriers. This leaves you with hands for bags. Take all your accessories out of the car seats, the baggage handlers will not keep your car seats or anything attached to them clean.
Step 13- Board as early as you can. You will be more relaxed and better able to attend to your children once you are on the plane. Keep in mind which bags you need access to and which are just in case. Access goes below the seat, don’t worry too much about your legroom you’re not going to be relaxing anyway.
Step 14- Take a breath. If everyone is buckled in and no one is crying take a minute and breath. Maybe even take a look around at your fellow passengers, it helped me to think about how many of them think traveling alone is uncomfortable, hah! Just don’t laugh out loud or they’ll think the lady with the three babies has lost it.
Step 15- Unpack your arsenal. Get out the bottles and bibs so that as soon as you need them they are at your fingertips.
Step 16- Expect the worst and hope for the best. Seriously, don’t imagine that there will be no crying, no spills, no vomit in your lap. There will be something but if you assume its going to be a complete nightmare maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Step 17- Feed them going up and coming down. Even if it is not on the schedule give them a little something to keep their ears popped.
Step 18- Remember getting off the plane isn’t any easier than getting on. Wait until everyone is off, its just the right thing to do.
Step 19- Recruit a flight attendant. You’ll want to load the babies back into the carriers but getting all your bags and kids off the plane will be easier with a third adult to watch over one end of things.
Step 20- Make a mad dash for your welcoming crew. Chances are if you CHOOSE to take on anything quite so complicated and exhausting there is something good waiting at the other end. Make sure they and a good stiff drink are waiting for you when its all over.