Illustration by Thomas Pitilli via The New York Times.

Even before they had kids, most people still probably experienced inklings of anxiety about what it would be like to one day have to take their kids on an airplane and how they would deal with the potentially disgruntled passengers around them.

Would they go in on the defense? Ready to retort with a snappy line about how the kid is teething and “what’s your problem?” Or would they be the passive and apologetic parent who works up a sweat bouncing their baby and shhhh-shing while simultaneously mouthing “I’m SO sorry” to anyone with in sight.

The New York Times addressed the topic recently, observing that parents today seem to be taking a more middle-of-the-road approach when it comes to diffusing the drama of the flying-with-kids situation: Goody bags.

Parents have been handing out goody bags stuffed with candy, earplugs and maybe an occasional tiny bottle of Jack Daniels to their seat mates in an effort to establish peace and temporary friendship while in flight.

It’s a smart idea (if you have the time to assemble them) and at the very least could get a chuckle from seat mates who will ideally have a longer fuse when that baby starts to fuss or the toddler begins uncontrollably kicking the seats.

We’d love to know, what is your approach to lessening anxiety when flying with kids? Goody bags, buying everyone a drink, Benadryl? Hey, no judgments.

Leave your creative suggestions and best advice in the comments!



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  • Elizabeth Hanson

    I feel like we travel a lot by plane as we have family, as far as a 5 hour trip by plane as well as many family members in Germany. I have lots of tricks up my sleeves. We actually get to the airport very early. Not only to make sure we make our flight but also because I walk our 3 kids, aged 2 to 8, around so they are really tired and fall asleep easily. Then, of course, we load the ipad, and I bring a back pack full of activities that they have never seen before to keep their interest.