Hannah took her first plane trip when she was about five months old. Since then she has taken two or three trips a year, including Hawaii, Canada, Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Here are some of the things I grew to love and things I learned
1. When you are taking off with an infant in your lap, it is best to hold them across your chest with their head at your shoulder and their feet at your waist. (I was told this is standard procedure by 1 stewardess and she said it was airline standard, it definitely felt more secure than having her hang out on my lap playing patty cake)
2. Forget the packnplay, instead, look for a Peapod. They are excellent and take up very little room, like pack in your carry on very little room.
3. If you have a child that has their own seat (which I recommend always buying if you have the cash to do it) take your carseat along (make sure the sticker says it's FAA approved) and buckle them in. It keeps you sane and them contained and because it's familiar, they stay just a little bit quieter.
4. If you are taking the car seat, I recommend this huge honking bag from Eddie Bauer made to carry car seats. You can also throw your coats in there or if you want to forego the taking it on the plane, you can check it with a ton of souveniers.
5. Take ziploc bags, empty ones, in case there are any accidents, if you know what I mean. And in that same vein, make sure you carry a small thing of wet wipes with you.
6. Take empty water bottles and fill them up inside the security area and mix with those little Kool-Aid single packets. Who doesn't love Kool-Aid? Make sure to make some for yourself, too.
7. Go buy the grocery store and pick up some sealed snacks like Fruit chews, granola bars, nuts, or if you like to buy bigger things, just put them in smaller zipolock bags and hide them away in your carry on so they don't get eaten before you leave the house.
8. If you are still diapering, just take a few and buy some when you get there! No reason to fill up all your space with diapers when you probably need to be taking extra clothes (vacations are messy!)
9. When you're booking your flight, if you are traveling alone with a lap child, book the middle seat, people are less likely to buy a window or an aisle if someone is already in the middle. Or if there are two adults and one lap child, book the aisle and window (it will have to be a super full flight for someone to book a middle)
10. I'm paranoid by default, but I realize now, no one is going to steal my child in an airport, it's just not going to happen. So let them roam around, talk with people, and have some fun
That's about it. If I can think of any more, I'll add them later. Hannah and I are heading off to Atlanta later today. It's a whole different ball game when they get their own seat and frequent flyer number :D