Tips for Flying with Infant Twins
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I’m so excited to share one of my most requested topic regarding my twins - flying on an airplane! The twins are now 9 months old and have flown on 14 different flights / 7 roundtrips. Their first flight was when they were 2 months old, so we have made it through different stages and transitions, as well as perfected our travel system.
Keep reading for tips and tricks for flying with twins under 1 year of age. Though this post it is geared for two under two / multiples, a lot of the knowledge and suggestions will work for singletons (one child) too. Just put on your * flexible * hat and get ready. You can do this! P.S. here’s a good laugh for you on one of our flights - Olive is strapped to my chest in this video.
This is the first time we every went through security / flew with the twins! I had to take my shoes off because Doc Marten boots always beep and they make me remove them. We flew out of SFO.
“Wow! 14 flights with twins?! How do you do that? I can barely do 1 flight with just 1 child!” That along with “wow you must really have your hands full!” are comments that we get all the time when flying. I think that we would have traveled with the babies this young anyway, but I will say that holiday trips (Christmas) along with the fact that Nick and I both had family weddings, contributed to such a high total number of flights this early in the twins’ life.
When asked, I encourage families to travel as soon as they can because it will never get easier. Each stage has some things that are easier and some that are harder. Ripping off the bandaid and traveling young will instill confidence that you will carry with you for all future travel and the rest of your life. It won’t always be easy, but you will be better equipped to handle whatever is thrown at you or thrown up - hah! Plus the more you do it, the more you will have a system perfected for what works for you. I learn a little something to do differently and better whenever we travel which always makes for an easier next time. We are flying on numbers 15 and 16 at the end of the month, so I’m sure I’ll update something in this post after that experience. Enough with my babbling, let’s get to actual tips for you!
THINGS TO NOTE BEFORE READING THIS POST
I have only flown Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines, so that is where my experience is (if you are flying American Airlines see note in the next section)
I have never flown alone with the twins, so I don’t really have any realtime tips for that - only what I would do (domestically, buy at least 2 total seats and bring at least 1 car seat on board, then keep calm and accept help when I need it from from those who offer - have heard horror stories flying internationally alone with twins under two and am not sure I would do it unless you speak the native language)
Nick and I have completed all of these flights with just the two of us, no family or friends to assist
We have TSA pre-check so our security line is a little bit of a different experience if you do not have that - we don’t have to remove shoes, electronics, etc
We have flown early morning, mid-morning, mid-day, evening, and late night - I do not think there is an “easiest” time to fly, as they all have their pros and cons
Children under 2 years of age fly free if they are lap infants and we take advantage of this
You are not able to sit on the same row with 2 lap infants due to the fact that there is only 1 extra oxygen mask per row
All our flights have been under 5 hours, so I don’t have much long flight experience - we are hoping to fly internationally soon though
The bulk of our travel with the twins / the first 6 months of their lives have been when masks were required on planes, so that is why masks are in most of our photos
Talk to your pediatrician. Before traveling, especially when they were so young, we talked to our pediatrician. We waited until they had their DTaP vaccine before getting on an airplane. As mentioned they first flew at 2 months.
Can you ship anything? If you can, do it! Family members, airbnbs, hotels… just ask! You might be surprised. We typically always ship diapers and consider wipes, formula, and food packets depending on the length of the trip. We have a portable white noise machine, shusher, and baby monitor we bring with us. We gate check their travel cribs if we need to bring them to our destination. We have also checked the cribs, as baby gear flies free. Most airlines say baby gear and mention strollers and carseats, but we don’t specify that it is a crib, because that can just be confusing and airlines say baby gear flies free! There are also companies that allow you to rent baby gear locally, but we haven’t tried that out before.
Re-wash and re-wear. Try to stay at places with washing machines to aid lighter packing and stains. At the very least, bring a small bottle of stain remover and laundry soap even if you don’t have plans to do laundry to pre-treat stains. This will make your job easier once you return home.
Car seat bags. Buy them! People have really strong opinions about this and I’m not here to debate it, but we gate check our car seats. We place them in these bags. We don’t use a stroller bag currently, but might eventually. We do remove the connector clips and the front two wheels of the stroller though and place them in the car seat bags, then reattach after the flight. You could say that a stroller bag protects from germs, but since our car seats are currently the seats I’m not that worried. You can check these, but right now we don’t because the clip into our stroller. We may start checking them once they outgrow these specific seats. In a pinch, you can use trash bags. We had to do this once when we forgot ours at home. We just double layered the largest trash bags we could find and they worked like a charm.
Travel Cribs. Yes, these are the ones we have. I know they are on the pricier side, but they are nicer than other pack and plays the twins have slept in. They are also Greenguard Gold Certified. I first mentioned what that means here. I also really like that they have a side zipper versus just a top entry. The best feature is the ease of carrying. They have backpack straps! Most of our flights we have been able to use local / borrowed pack and plays, but we bring these where we can’t and either check them for free or gate check them for free. They come on road trips with us as well.
Phone Notes. Create a shared note on your iPhone with your family and keep a running list of what you need to bring and do prior to the trip. If you have never done this before, there is an option top right corner when you click the “…” to share note. We do this and run through while packing and right before we leave. We are constantly adding to it and editing it as we learn and travel more. This applies to baby items, as well as things to do around the house, or things I want to remind myself to bring.
Dog Poop Bags. I need to do a “what’s in my diaper bag” post because these live in there regardless of air travel, but be sure to bring dog poop bags with you for the airplane / travel in general. They are great for poop diapers, but also good for any clothes that get poop on them or items that just get plain gross from food or a spill. Any little bag works - we just use the bags we buy for our Great Dane.
Traveling American Airlines? I haven’t, but I know not expect to be able to gate check my stroller if it is over 20 pounds. American Airlines is the only U.S. domestic airline that restricts gate checked strollers to ones under 20lbs. Perhaps try two small jogger strollers or fly a different airline.
Do you have an Uppa Baby product you are flying with? Check out their TravelSafe program and see if your items qualify.
Pack Less. Pack as little as you can get away with, especially if you plan on doing laundry. You literally do not need as many clothes as you think you do and neither do your kids. Summer is always easier to pack for than winter, but Nick and I usually try to share a suitcase, as do the twins. We have also gotten away with 1 checked bag and 1 carry-on suitcase, plus a carry-on diaper bag and backpack. It might feel more convenient to have more clothes packed, but a lot of the time, it is just a travel nuisance and you don’t use it all.
Lap Infant Luggage. Non-paying infants (meaning they don’t have their own seat and are traveling on your lap) do not get a carry-on or personal item. Don’t let this discourage you though! If you are pumping, you get a bag designated to the machine as it is considered a medical device. You can shove whatever else you need in there if you are low on space. I’m not saying to overpack secretly as that could lead to an overweight plane, but you can shove a lot in your car seat bags, so consider that space as well. When we are boarding we are such a site to see, no one actually counts our bags and we have definitely boarded with more than our allotted 4 bag rule between me and Nick, like 5 or 6. Don’t bank on this, just confessing a bit ;) Our normal is our diaper bag, a backpack, and some form of a carryon suitcase or weekender. Depending on the trip, Nick brings his backpack too.
Pack a Belt Bag. You are going to put this on right before you leave the house and not take it off until you have to go through security. I wear this for every flight!! I keep both mine and Nick’s passport in it along with our plane tickets, an extra hair tie or clip, chapstick, my headphones, and anything else that is important, like my phone when it isn’t in my hand or pocket. It comes in so clutch when you need something and you know exactly where it is. Hands free, baby! I put it right back on right after security and don’t take it off until we leave the airport after we land. I have been asked to take it off during takeoff literally once, but other than that, it is always strapped to my body. I have the Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag which I don’t think they make anymore. I’ve been eyeing the Dagne Dover Ace Fanny Pack though, which would pretty much complete my Dagne Dover set - hah!
Pack a Carry-On. Even if you think you don’t need one! Whether this is your diaper bag or something else, you need one and you need a change of clothes in it. Ideally you would have a change of clothes for each baby and for you and anyone else traveling with you. I actually keep 4 short sleeve bodysuits in our diaper bag at all times regardless of if we are flying. For flights I have those 4, plus I include an extra set of pajamas as that is what the twins currently fly in. I know it can get bulky, but at least have a change of shirt and perhaps shorts or leggings for yourself if space is scarce. It isn’t fun sitting in cold spit up or smelling like a dumpster ;)
DIAPER BAG PACKING TIPS FOR TRAVEL
Obviously find what works for you, but this is pretty much how we pack when we leave the house / it doesn’t change much for flights. I have the Dagne Dover Large Indi Diaper Backpack and we love it.
15-20 diapers per baby, so you’re looking at 30-40 diapers total. You never know when you will be delayed and you DO not want to run out. We try to ship diapers to wherever we are traveling. We love the Dyper brand diapers.
1 full wipe pack. We will often carry extras with us in our checked bags. We will sometimes shove a partially used pack in there too just to be safe. We love the Jackson Reece Kinder by Nature Water based wipes.
Diaper pad. We wipe down the changing table with a wipe, then using a portable changing pad. Our diaper bag comes with it, but they sell stand alones on Amazon. Dagne Dover also has one (the Joey Changing Kit) you can buy which I have and like, but it might be a bit too bulky for your bag.
Bottles / Formula. We pack 2 bottles in our diaper bag, which we leave the house with full. We use Dr. Browns. We place them on the bottle holders on either side of the backpack. We put 2, max 4 more in our checked bags. We also travel with a can of formula at all times. Our Bobbie organic baby formula cans are 14 oz so they are pretty compact. You can use discount code ELLEMULENOS10 for 10% off your Bobbie formula purchase. For breastmilk I would bring a small, separate cooler.
2-4 plain onesies. Whether there is a diaper explosion or it’s too hot for the outfit, extra clothes are always a good idea to have and onesies are super easy and don’t take up a ton of space. These are some of my favorite bodysuits.
Toy bags. I use those fabric drawstring bags that come with cute baby clothes or makeup products and stuff them with toys to keep them entertained. I have 2 bags with the same amount of toys in there / usually similar if not the same items, so we each can just grab a bag per baby when it is needed. This is so the toys aren’t just floating around and are super easy to grab. We love Sophie the Giraffe and Fan Fan the Fawn, spinner toys , this rattle teether, this mushroom teether pacifier, and this pacifier. We clip the pacifiers to them with this chain clip. We also love maracas!
Snacks. Obviously this is relevant depending on their ages, but I usually pack finger foods that I prepped for them to eat like scrambled eggs strips or oatmeal fingers. I make them the night before and put them in a baggie, ready to grab before we leave. Blueberries and peach slices are great too! Bananas are great if you don’t want to bag something up. We break our bananas in half then divide them into 6 total “spears” by using the natural “tri” breaking point down the middle. For pre-packaged foods we love Cerebelly Pouches, Cerebelly Smart Bars, and Serenity Kids Puffs.
FAVORITE BAGS FOR TRAVEL
Dagne Dover Dakota Backpack. I have had this backpack for about 5 years and it is my favorite. Nick loves it too - so much so he would steal mine. I bought him his own last year ;) We both have the Large size.
Dagne Dover Indi Diaper Bag. I know, Dagne and Dover should just sponsor me already! We have this diaper backpack in the Large size and love it. It goes everywhere with with us. You can buy this changing kit separately, but note it comes with a smaller version that we use frequently / keep in the diaper bag. We do have two changing kits though and love them. We keep one in our side by side stroller and the other in the back of our car.
Dagne Dover Landon Weekender. I had been eyeing this for a while and finally purchased it last year. Sometimes we use it just as a twins bag. Either way, it works as a wonderful carry on or weekend road trip bag. We have the XL size.
Senreve Doctor Bag. This is my current favorite purse for the plane / travel. You can fit so much in it and it still fits under the seat. It is an all around beautiful bag.
Belt bag. Like I mentioned above, I have Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag, but I don’t think they make anymore. I also have the Dagne Dover Ace Fanny Pack which I like because it is easy to zip one handed, but honestly any belt bag will do as long as you like it! If I want it to be a little bit nicer, I opt for my Senreve Aria Belt Bag which doubles as a clutch for an evening out. It also fits inside a large bag easily if I want to bring it, but would rather use a more functional option on the plane.
Car seat bags. To be fair I haven’t tried any other ones, but these work well and I like that they are red so they don’t blend in. We don’t have a stroller bag, but if you’re considering one, I’d buy whichever one the brand makes for your exact stroller. For reference these are our infant car seats and this is the stroller they clip into with the proper converter. We haven’t traveled with this stroller yet, but we have it too.
Large Delsey Suitcase. These are the suitcases we use and we like them. They have gotten almost 6 years of use and hold up great. What I don’t really have is a nice carry on sized luggage, so will likely invest in that soon.
ARRIVAL AT AIRPORT TIPS
When we arrive we either take an Alto (use discount code LMENTS10 for $10 off your first 2 rides and a free 30 day membership - I should honestly do a video on how we all fit in a ride share) or are dropped off by a friend or family member. The stroller we are currently using fits our car seats, so we snap them in, put some bags under them in the storage area, then roll / carry the rest. The twins stay in the stroller until we get to security. I’m already wearing my belt bag at this point, so it has our passports, wallet, and any other necessary items ready for use at baggage drop off / check in. You can do some of these prior to arrival, but these are things I would do again once you at the airport even if you already checked:
Are your babies listed as lap infants? You need to make sure they are registered as such. We have always done that upon purchasing flights or upon checking luggage (for Southwest you do it upon arrival), but have arrived at the airport 2-3 times to see lap infants are not listed. You can’t edit this on the self check-in screen; someone behind the desk will have to help you. Make sure your tickets say lap infant or you are given lap infant tickets - it is different per airline.
Are your seats correct? This has happened to us twice and it wasn’t on the flights where the lap infant listing mysteriously disappeared. We should have checked this at the check-in desk and at the desk at the gate and moving forward we will. For some reason they had us seated right next to each other. As mentioned before, you can't sit on the same row unless you are straddling the aisle. I’m not sure why, but we choose to sit behind each other versus across the aisle. I think so we can have access to each other regardless of if there is a drink cart or person blocking the aisle. Luckily because we board at the beginning with families, the flight attendants or gate attendants have been able to help us and adjust the seats quickly before anyone sat in the surrounding seats.
Do you have proof they are your children? I don’t mention this to cause a scare, but just want you to be prepared. We had IDs made for the twins when they were around 6 weeks old. We thought this would speed up the passport process - it hasn’t, but I’m still glad we have them. You get them done at the DMV, it’s just not a driver’s license. We keep them in each other’s passport holders so we always have them with us when traveling. No one has ever asked us to show them proof outright; however, the couple of times they had to be added as lap infants at the airport, they did ask for proof of identification. You might consider having a copy of their birth certificate or social security card with your important travel documents. We have never had to show their IDs to go through security or board a plane as lap infants, though on Southwest you do have to show their ticket. At the very least personally I would travel with a piece of mail, like a hospital bill or something if you don’t want to have their birth certificate or social security card with you.
Have two bottles ready. We actually have these prepped when we leave for the airport. It doesn’t matter if they don’t finish them, as they are allowed through security. Sometimes they will get hungry before we even make it to TSA so this is good to keep the babies happy.
As mentioned, we have TSA Pre-Check. Even though we have that, it is still an entire process to go through security. Our process to get through security is that we put the twins (still in their car seats) on the table before the conveyor belt. We often wave people in front of us at this point too. We start to pile all of our stuff onto the conveyor belt (will have some tips on this below, but I wanted to share our system first) with the exception of the stroller. The TSA usually walk the stroller through themselves. Our last step is to take the babies from their car seats and put them in my arms.** I walk through security with both of them and Nick puts the car seats (upside down) on the conveyor belt, then walks through. Sometimes he deals with the stroller then, other-times the TSA have already pushed it through. You are able to babywear through security but honestly that feels like a lot to do when getting out of the car to enter the airport. Note I have note done this, but I have seen it. This could be something that is just TSA Pre-Check only? Not 100% sure. You could also have one agent who let you do one thing one time and never again. We prefer to keep them in their infant seats and take them out at security and then use that as a diaper check time when they are already out. Plus, Nick doesn’t enjoy baby wearing. To each their own / figure out what works for you! **Also don’t be afraid to switch it up or try something new. When they were around 10 - 11 months, we tried it where we each held a baby through security and that worked well since they are so heavy at that point. Moving forward we will probably keep with that adjustment.
After we walk through, I wait at the end until the car seats come through. Either Nick or one of the TSA agents usually helps me and sets the car seats upright so I can put the babies in them and rest my arms. At this point it is diaper changing time. To each their own, but we change them right then and there after security. Sometimes there is a bench or a chair, but I have also done it on the floor with a changing pad underneath them. I do not care and I just want to get it over with before having to strap them in again. It seems like the best use of our time, so that is what we do. There is so much to think of and complete, so we try to be as efficient as possible. After that is done, we strap them in, find the nearest elevator, find a restroom for me and Nick, then head to our gate to gate check items. We buy food and / or if we need it / have time after that. Now for the tips:
Arrive early. Even with Pre-Check, we like to get through security still having 2 hours before the flight takes off. Traveling with two infants is a process. This allows us to take a breather, go to the bathroom, change diapers, and prep for the flight without having to rush. Prepping for the flight takes longer than we initially thought and we almost missed family boarding at our very first flight. Never again!! We need that early boarding to get situated and not feel rushed. At the very least even if you don’t have time to relax for 5 minutes, you shouldn’t be at risk to miss your flight because you arrived with 2 hours to spare.
Remove certain things from your bag. I remove these from the diaper bag before it goes through the machine, so they can be screened separately: breast milk, formula can, filled baby bottles (empty doesn’t matter), water bottles*, diapers x2 , wipes, and changing pads. I pull the formula can out because sometimes they test it and it easier just to have it out not have to have a whole bag searched. Liquids are always best separated so that’s why we do water and milk. I don’t pull out my travel liquids since I have pre-check, but for the baby items I do since they always seem to get flagged and tested. I pull out the diapers, wipes and changing pad because we have had our diaper bag flagged and checked before and of course they had dirty diapers the time that occurred. The TSA wouldn’t hand me a diaper to use since they were testing it and I had to stand there with two very unhappy babies. Ever since then I grab them before they go through the machine and send them through separately so they are available as soon as we make it through the other-side.
*Did you know they allow you to bring water through if it is for formula?! I only learned that on a more recent flight. We bring two of our Big 1L BKR bottles filled and they test them for alcohol fumes, but otherwise let them pass through no issue. We do this every time now so we don’t have to buy water. Just send it through separately and call it out when you place it on the belt. I just tell the closest TSA that it is water for formula. I say it like a statement not a question ;)
Pre-made bottles should be 100 mL or less. You can send through more than 100mL in a bottle if you want, but they will check it. If the milk in it is right around 3 oz ~ 90 mL, they won’t even grab it to check which is a win-win, saving you time. Liquid formula and breastmilk are allowed to go through no issue, but again will be checked if it is over 100 mL. Powder is allowed to go through too of course - this paragraph is just about liquids. They have checked our formula can around three times. Sometimes the bomb squad has to come and test it which can hold things up to say the least. We have also brought through Cerebelly food pouches which are 4 oz liquidy puree and have not had issues with those at all! For the record, the formula we use is Bobbie. I wrote about it here. You can use discount code ELLEMULENOS10 for 10% off. You can totally bring through bottles more than 100 mL, just know they will flag and test them. If you are short on time, just dump a little out and you can go through without a hitch.
I have specific tips per airline below, but will keep this rather generic. Boarding can be kind of hectic, if not the most hectic part in my opinion as there can be a lot of waiting, all while you are holding (heavy) babies. Yes, I find this slightly more hectic than going through security. Here are my thoughts on making it as smooth of an experience as possible.
Gate check upon arrival at your gate. This means get your tags for every item you plan to check at the gate / sky bridge. Do this immediately to get it over with. Some airlines require you to bring everything you’re going to check to the gate, others just let you have the tickets to do yourself. Either way, you’ll want to have this done pre-board.
Ask which restrooms on the plane have changing tables. They may not be able to tell via the information they have, but sometimes they know and any information they can give you is good. You can ask when you are getting your gate check tags.
Prep before boarding time. Key word: before. It might be nice to think you have 20 minutes until boarding even starts, but you are going to want to board with family boarding and they board at that time if not slightly before. To take advantage of this you need to have everything (car seats, strollers, etc) packed and ready to go. They don’t hold the wait time for you or anything, they just offer it. I have seen some moms on TikTok say to have one person board the plane with all of the items and then board with your kids in the last boarding zone but I disagree for infants. Once your children can walk / need to expel energy I will probably agree, but not in our current stage. Additionally, this would only work if you don’t have open seating / don’t fly Southwest. Once I get on the plane, I breathe a sigh of relief. I can get settled and somewhat relax. We also use this time to feed and check diapers once more so we can either change it in the bathroom before it is impossible to get back to our seats or on the seat next to us because no one is sitting there yet. We also make sure to board with two fully ready bottles. If by chance they have already burned through these new bottles, it is easier to make more before the plane takes off. I keep wipes at the top of the diaper bag so we can wipe down the arm rests, chairs, etc as soon as Nick gets there.
Utilize your car seat bags. I mentioned this already, but we shove quite a few things in the bags with the car seats and it works like a charm. If you are low on space and are checking things, try this solution.
Baby wear. I baby wear while boarding because it makes it a lot easier. I’ve pretty much tried them all and my favorite carrier is the Boba X Carrier. I’ve also flown with the Boba Wrap, but I think the carrier is easier. As soon as I get situated in my seat, I snap off the top part of the wrap unless the baby in it is sleeping. The flight attendants will make you take the baby out of it for take off and landing. They say it is because you could crush the baby, though I think you could also drop or throw the baby if they aren’t strapped to you. It isn’t the time to get into this debate, I just wanted to share their “why”. Nick does not prefer to baby wear at the airport.
Find your System. The headline is that our system is that I hold the babies and Nick gets all of our belongings ready and boards with them or makes sure they are gate checked. About 20ish minutes before boarding time, we check diapers and I strap Olive to my chest, then hold Cyprus on my lap. Nick bags up our car seats and piles everything on the stroller. I wear my backpack or the diaper bag, my belt bag, and sometimes a purse. Everything else goes with Nick. When they turned 10-11 months old and were pretty heavy, Nick holds Cyprus until I go on if we don’t board together (on Southwest Airlines we usually don’t) and then hands him to me as we start to board, while he deals with our belongings. I immediately get on the plane and he makes sure our gate items are good to go. Sometimes Nick gets dirty glances because it looks like he is doing nothing, when in reality he is just working our system. On the flip side I’ve had people be downright rude to me as I board the plane with two infants. I take everything with a grain of salt and just laugh it off. Can’t stop us! Also don’t be afraid to try new things - we adjust when we need to. For example, one trip we learned that Nick prefers to sit on the left side of the plane over the right side. I don’t have a preference, so we just started booking that side instead. Do what works and fix it if you need to. Don’t be afraid to change it up.
Find out where the changing table is. That’s right - it usually isn’t in both bathrooms. When you board ask a flight attendant. If you can’t do it while boarding, turn on the light above your seat and ask as soon as you can so you can be prepared.
Feed during take off and landing. This is probably the most basic tip, as you have likely heard it before. Giving the babies a bottle produces a sucking sensation that helps their ears not pop / be bothered by take offs and landings. A pacifier should have the same effect. We have always presented a bottle as an option, but sometimes the twins don’t want it or are asleep. We don’t force it and have not had an issue with ear popping yet.
Pray for an empty seat. But really! I do think that unless it is a fully booked flight, they don’t typically seat people next to lap infant riders. If it is an open seating flight, people usually avoid you as well. Of all of our flights I think there has only been 1, maybe 2 where Nick and I both had people next to us. Usually at least one of us has an empty middle seat or window seat. Know that some people might give you the evil eye thinking you are hogging a row, as most don’t know that two lap infants can’t be on the same row. Just let it slide and inform them if they want to know.
If you have a spare seat… Speaking of an empty seat, Nick and I have changed pee diapers in our airplane seat / not in the bathroom. Poop diapers we always do in the bathroom, but pee diapers, especially when the seat belt sign is on is no big deal. If you are in a three seat row, you might ask the person who has the other seat if they mind. I’ve also done it without asking, but just did it in my lap / did not lay the baby on the empty seat. I have never let private parts show and no one has ever been peed on. I’m a magician - hah! Sometimes you just have to make it work. It’s quick and painless and presents a happy baby faster. Judge all you want, but it works. Note that I am more likely to do this than Nick.
Clean the area. Once we are in our seat, I move all the papers from the seat in front of me to the seat next to me. This makes sure they won’t grab at them or put them in their mouth. I also take a wipe and wipe down the area around us.
Check diapers before landing. On our first flight descent, one twin pooped and we weren’t allowed to get up to change it. It went through their clothes and onto Nick’s pants. Since then we always check for poop right before we begin landing to avoid this at all costs. Note this was in the newborn stage, so poop looks a little different now.
Sleep. Believe it or not, I have slept with a baby in my arms on a plane. Is is possible! It isn’t always the case that I get to catch a snooze, but when I find myself falling asleep, I try to clip the baby into my baby carrier so they don’t accidentally fall out of my arms. This only happens if they are sleeping and at that point the carrier is cozy and comforting to them anyway.
Have snacks. This may just be formula for you, but now that our twins are eating solids I plan on bringing Cerebelly bars with us, as well as fruit like bananas. Not being hungry and dry are the two biggest things that keep our twins happy. Yes you can have food and snacks on the plane that you brought through security! The Cerebelly pouches are 4 oz and we have flown with them no issue. I’ve flown with avocado but that can get so messy. I really like bringing bananas or easy items like Serenity Kids Puffs. Pro tip - you can ask the flight attendants for water and they will sometimes give you the whole bottle or carton. We try to come aboard with our own water, but this is clutch for when we need more / they are particularly thirsty. It may seem obvious, but I was surprised at how generous they have all been about it when we need it.
Bring toy bags. Another obvious one, but bring tows. We keep toys in little draw string pouches. They are bags that some of their clothes came in - you know the cute ones that you don’t know what what to do with? I pack them with equal amounts of toys so that each baby has one and they are ready to grab when we need them. Some of our favorite toys are Sophie the Giraffe and Fan Fan the Fawn, spinner toys to stick the seat or window, this rattle teether, this mushroom teether pacifier, and this pacifier. We clip the pacifiers to them with this chain clip.
Bring blankets. When they were younger, we opted to bring their Hanna Andersson Swaddle Blankets versus a ton of burp rags. They can be covered with them when trying to sleep and the blankets big enough to not be sopping once we land even when we use them for spit up. We still bring them now that they are older, but usually shove them in the car seat at gate check.
Have a system. As mentioned, we board the plane with me holding the babies and Nick brings the stuff. I put Cyprus down in one seat while holding his head to make sure he doesn’t tumble off, while throwing the backpack or diaper bag on the seat behind him. I then wait in the row Nick plans to sit in, kind of crouched and out of the way from the aisle. I stay there until Nick is there and / or puts away our belongings above us. We only keep the diaper bag under the seat and then I wear my fanny pack. All other bags we stow above us or were gate checked. Once seated we check diapers, then go in for feeding. I’m not sure why, but Nick is the one to take the babies to the bathroom on the plane. I’m not sure how we decided on that, but it is just what we do. I’ve never actually changed a diaper in the bathroom on a plane, though I’ve changed tons of pee diapers in my seat. Often they will have a diaper at the same time. We trade babies and I unzip / pull down the pants / anything to make it easier for Nick when he takes them to the bathroom. Sometimes he’ll bring them back to me without their pants or unzipped and when we trade babies I finish dressing them. Anything to make it easier!We check in with each other throughout the flight by tapping and giving a thumbs up or down. If one of the babies is having a hard time adjusting to the plane, we will often trade babies so we can preserve our patience and have someone else try their hand at calming. Sometimes it is hard for the babies to fall asleep so they may be fussy about that, but other than that they do really well. If you sleep with your baby in your lap, I would strap them to your chest with a baby carrier prior to falling asleep so they don’t accidentally fall out of your arms as your body relaxes. You’re able to use the carrier in the air, just not for takeoff or landing.
Unhappy twin tip: When your babies start to notice each other, use them to distract each other on the plane. A benefit of sitting one behind the other versus straddling the aisle is that you can show them each other over the seat. Cyprus and Olive love to laugh and smile and reach towards one another. It makes them so happy and others around them love seeing their bond / interactions too. I think we figured this out around 6M. They also seem to like / be happy staring at themselves via the camera feature on our phones.
When the plane lands… Offer the babies a bottle when you start your descent, but don’t stress if they don’t take it. I feel like once the plane lands, the babies can sense that it is almost over and they get a little fussy. As soon as we land, I click my baby carrier into place and prep to take Cyprus from Nick. He walks off board with our stuff and I have the babies and a backpack - just like we boarded the plane! We then wait for our items to come up from gate checking them. This can be kind of time consuming and the people can be kind of grumpy. We have literally been rushed off the hallway connected to the plane because we weren’t fast enough. They were late bringing up our belongings, so it wasn’t really our fault but it still was stressful. I hold the babies and Nick puts our stroller back together and clicks in our car seats. We place the babies in it, but check their diapers right before so we know what to do next. If we are good on diapers we will go straight the baggage claim. If we need to change them, depending on how bad it is and what is available we might change it right on the chairs in the terminal when we exit the plane. We also look for family restrooms but they are often occupied if we can find them.
NURSING / PUMPING AIRPORT AND FLIGHT TIPS
I only pumped until the twins were a little older than 4 months, so I had about 2 months-ish of pumping while flying. Depending on where you are (ie San Francisco) you might have amazing little rooms for you to nurse in or at the very least, a pod of sorts do so. To be honest I never used these even when I could. I wore loose tops like this long sleeve or this short sleeve and would just pump or nurse out in the open.
We haven’t taken a flight over 5 hours yet and most averaged around 3 hours or less, so I would pump right before we boarded and right after and was fine. It’s really hard to pump on the plane while holding a baby, so I never did that even when I wanted to.
Some people have hand expressers like this, but I just brought my Spectra 1 with me. It can be cordless so I didn’t have to worry about plugging it in while using it on the go. You are allowed a bag for your pump as it is a medical device, so don’t worry about it taking up valuable space. I used this small duffle bag for it.
Anything I pumped I would just put in a bottle and give back to the twins, so I never had to worry about a cooler or bringing bags with me traveling on a plane or not. I would however bring 1-2 of these teeny bkr bottles that hold 250 ml each. I would store milk in those until the twins were ready for a bottle.
If you’re traveling with milk bags they do allow coolers and frozen ice packs. Personally I would just fill up bags no more than 90 ml so the breast milk doesn’t have to be tested and you’re good to go.
FLYING WITH INFANT TWINS BY AGE
Babies are different and milestones are met at different times, but I wanted to give you a play by play of what to (maybe) expect when you’re flying with your infant twins.
This is arguably the easiest time, but during it it can feel like the hardest because it is all new and they go to the bathroom a lot. SO many diapers (including liquid poop) were changed during flights during this stage.
We hit teething a kind of early and were closer to 3M than 4M, but I’d say this was the struggle for us. Make sure to bring teethers. Around this time we introduced pacifiers to the twins when napping / sleeping and that also helped with teething, because they can kind of naw on those too.
Oh you wanted a break? Get ready to start needing to entertain them! Bring all toys and get ready for them to want to touch everything and put it in their mouth, especially those papers in the pocket from the seat in front of them. Also be sure to have snacks in addition to bottles for them. Bring on those solid foods.
I haven’t made it through this stage yet, but currently it feels like 6M-8M on steroids. More food and more activities needed. Can they walk yet? Are they pulling up on everything? Nothing goes untouched! They are also pretty heavy, so Nick helps me a lot more with the carrying of them. Whereas I used to be fine, now we will often both carry a baby until the last possible second where I need to carry both. I’m also looking into getting them a busy board to use on the plane.
WHAT TO WEAR WHEN FLYING WITH TWINS
YOU: This obviously depends if you’re nursing / pumping, but either way I just recommend being comfortable and able to move. Nick likes to wear jeans and sneakers and either a t-shirt with a bomber jacker or a short sleeve button down shirt. I typically opt for leggings, but my Agolde jeans are comfortable enough for the plane as well. My MUST HAVE is a belt bag because it keeps everything I need (hair tie, hair clip, chapstick, ids and passports, headphones, tickets, etc) at a hands reach which is especially great for traveling with babies. I also would recommend wearing shoes that easily come off. I’ve been “randomly selected” to be fully searched through security and I wasn’t allowed to put the babies down.
TWINS: My overall opinion is something easily removable. We typically go with Burt’s Bee’s Zip Footie Pajamas. I like that the zippers are easy and that their feet are covered. We will likely move into a top and bottom set once they are walking and wearing shoes. Until then, I want their feet covered and not touching all the germs in the airport. I’ve also used the Magnetic Me Pajamas and they are amazing! They run small, so I would size up. We haven’t purchased anymore because they just keep growing and they are on the more expensive side of things, especially when you’re buying two at a time. Really easy to wear and use though! I also like the Moon and Back Hanna Andersson brand. Overall I would just say no snaps or buttons - either pull ons or zippers.
FLYING WITH TWINS FAQ
I address some of these things above, but I know it is a lot of information so I wanted to share these in a question / answer format because they will be easier to find and read. These are questions I am asked quite often, so I wanted to have a spot you could reference easily.
Do you check your car seats? No. I know people like to start huge debates about this and say that the airport employees don’t handle them with care which can cause damage / act like the car seat has been in a wreck and it not function as properly. I think that can always happen when it isn’t in your care. I think we would take them onboard before we ever checked them, because I would be worried they might get lost if we checked them. Note that you can check them for free. Those are items we 100% need!! There are good travel options you can use for kids when they are older, but it wasn’t in the budget nor do we have the space to buy cheaper travel car seats that probably would not have fit in our stroller. We bought Car seat bags and have used them every single trip except once. We forgot them at my parent’s house and had to use double trash bags on the seats which actually worked fine. I like the ones we have though because they are red so they stand out and they have a more secure closure than a trash bag. A lot of brands have nice zip up carrier options as well if you want to invest a little more… though we need to buy a new car seat for Cyprus and he isn’t even 1 yet, so make sure it is worth your money to do so.
What do you do with your stroller? I don’t think we have a great plan with this but it works for us. We gate check our stroller and don’t use a bag. We probably should, but we don’t. We remove the front two wheels and the converters that our car seats snap into and put them all in one of the car seat bags. This makes sure they don’t get lost or broken. As of right now we don’t have a travel stroller. We have always traveled with this stroller, but we also have this stroller and love it.
Do my babies need IDs? The short answer is that no, children under the age of 18 do not need an id for traveling domestically. We got our babies ids around 6 weeks old and I’m glad we did it. We have had to show them when the airline messed up and did not register the twins as lap infants. If we didn’t have ids I would probably bring something like a social security card, birth certificate, or some official document with their name on it. The world is weird and I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’m not sure what we would have done if we didn’t have the ids the times that they didn’t register as lap infants. If you are traveling internationally, you 100% have to have a passport for your child, regardless of their age. Your baby does not have to have an id to get a passport, but you it does count as a form of verification toward it. They also need their own global entry card to be able to go through it with you. They can go with you through TSA pre-check until they are 12. ** On 09/07 Nick booked us tickets through Southwest Airlines via phone and they said we needed to bring birth certificates to show at the check-in desk before security because some people are dishonest and we needed to show proof they are under 2. We have literally never been asked to to do this. It doesn’t apply to us because we have IDs, but thought I’d mention it. Just like some TSA agents are different, some of the employees outside of the gates have different rules too. Who knows?! Just be safe and have some form of identification.
How do you let the airline know you have lap infants? When you are purchasing your tickets you notate it before checkout. They can add it at the desk when you arrive at the airport but they don’t like to. They like to know ahead of time. Be sure to check when you arrive at the airport that you actually have lap infants listed so you can get it fixed if you need to.
How many bottles do you travel with? We have traveled with as little as 4 and as many as 6. It just depends where we are going and what our space situation is. On average we probably go the 4 bottle route. We typically just bring two for the plane as the diaper bag is already really full and check the other 2 or 4 in our suitcase.
What is in your diaper bag for flights? I should just do a post on this alone, but it isn’t that different from other days. We like to have 15-20 diapers per kid, so 30-40 diapers, along with a mostly full pack of wipes. We usually put the bottles on the sides and then have the toy bags I referenced earlier along with some snacks (~ 4 bars and maybe 2 pouches) and a formula can. It always has 4 plain short sleeve bodysuits, then I bring an extra zipper pajama per baby for flights as well.
Can I bring food through security? Pouches? When I get this question I always wonder if I’m the only one who ever packed herself snacks pre-baby? Heck yes you can bring food through TSA - it is just liquids that have a ruling (3.4 oz / 100 ml). I will say the pouch question is valid as it is food but is also kind of a liquid and is 4 oz; however, I’ve never had an issue with getting through security with them.
How old were the twins when we first flew? The twins were about 2 months. They were born October 13th and flew December 16th. We talked to their pediatrician and he said airplanes are actually pretty clean compared to other spaces, airports are another story though - hah! At 2 months they had all the shots that our pediatrician would worry about so we felt good about it. We still didn’t let people hold them who had colds and stuff like that, but that is regular baby courtesy. Ours didn’t get their first cold until 5 months old and it wasn’t from an airplane or trip. Thankfully it didn’t turn into RSV or anything super nasty.
How do you pick seats on the flight? Honestly we don’t have a strategy. We haven’t flown first class with the twins, but we have done business select and the extra 6 inches are really nice. We flew that on our first flight with them and it was wonderful because it helped us ease into everything. We flew Alaska first and then flew Southwest so the open seating and less leg room was a rude awakening, but I’m still glad that’s how we did it. Nick and I like to be one behind the other and both on an aisle. I usually sit behind Nick for reference. We don’t want window seats because we often have to get up with the babies. I wish I had a better answer for this one but our only strategy is to be one behind the other. We don’t like to be across the aisle in case the drink cart stays for a while or if we need to trade babies and people barrel past or block. If we can’t get that to work, we have spoken to the attendant at the gate and they have changed it for us or rather took pity on us. Hah!
How do you pack? Pack what you think you need then remove a couple things, no lie. We typically bring 1-2 sleep sacks and 4-5 pajamas per baby. This works for shorter trips as is and for longer trips we try to do laundry. I bring outfits for certain events or occasions and then pepper in a couple basics after that with the intent to wash during the drip or be okay because it is a shorter trip. When we pack formula, we typically put it in the checked bag, but may pull out a couple and put it in carry on if weight is an issue.
What is your favorite time to fly? Again I don’t think there is a “best” time because they all have their pros and cons but if I HAD to pick, I would say early morning. This sucks because it requires an early rise time, but is probably the smoothest. This last.departure from LAX we had an 8:30 am flight. We got up at 4:30 am, woke the twins up at 5:15 am and were packing our ride share at 5:45 am. We fed them bottles in the car and offered bananas at the airport. They are in really good moods after this and even partake in a little nap. The early morning is rough but again it was a very smooth right. I think there are a lot of factors that also determine this, but it has been consistently best. I take early morning flights over light night flights. Those are often the worst for us.
Do you have TSA Pre-check for your babies? No. They are able to use ours until they are 12. We do need to get them Global Entry though, as they cannot use ours. If we travel internationally, we will have to wait in the regular, long line with them, versus speeding through with Global Entry. We plan to get this for them as well, but have to receive their passports first.
How do you get baby IDS? We did this through our local DMV. Look up what documents yours requires online.
How do you get baby passports? There are services, but they are expensive. We are using the post office. We were on a “list” for the longest time, but never heard anything. I asked around and someone recommended a post office that they used. You can take your own picture or even go to CVS, but we will just do the photo services at the post office. I’ve tried to take my own picture before and it has been rejected several times and prolongs the whole process.
Do you use a bottle warmer? No. We try to have room temperature water with us pre-flight and use that. I will admit that they like warm bottles, but since early on we have tried to condition them to not just take a warm bottle, but also take a lukewarm bottle or even a cold bottle. We each carry a Big 1L BKR bottles filled with water through security and that usually makes us at least 2 more bottles between what we drink beforehand.
What has been the hardest instance to fly with the twins? When they first started teething, that was pretty bad. We have also flown when they had congestion and that was rough - the only time their ears really bothered them / they showed signs of discomfort.
I heard baby items check free? Yes! You can check baby items with your luggage when you first arrive. Most airlines say baby items like strollers and car seats check for free. We have also checked our travel cribs for free. We just call it a baby item and it isn’t an issue. We don’t actually say that it is a crib, but not sure that matters since it is in fact a baby item like they advertise.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES TIPS
SWA requires boarding pass for lap infants. They will give this to you when you get your boarding pass, I just wanted to note this because it is different from other airlines. You don’t have to show id with the passes through TSA, but you do have to present them. They assign one lap infant to each boarding pass.
Add lap infants at check in. When you arrive at the airport and check in on the self-check-in machines, you add them there. It prompts you / asks the question, but if you have trouble just ask someone or go to a check in station with a human. There isn’t a way to add lap infants when you initially buy.
Must bring actual items up to gate to gate check. When you gate check upon arriving to your terminal, you have to lug the car seats and stroller you are checking for them to tag it for you. They won’t just hand it to you.
Pay for one of you to have early bird check in / go through A boarding. Family boarding does not board until all of A 1-60 has boarded. I get it because SWA is open seating, but it is really annoying to get seats with babies and assure our stuff is okay and checked. We pay for me to go through with A boarding and both babies so I can make sure to get good seats for us. It is worth it and makes boarding a lot less stressful.
Tons of babies. So many babies fly on SWA, probably because everyone is so nice. I’ve only been on one Southwest flight with the twins where the crew wasn’t so nice and it was flying out of LA. The passengers are hit or miss. Either really nice or really not. This happened to me on a SWA flight. Perhaps they were tired. I say this because it can sometimes make grabbing seats hard, especially when we can’t be on the same side of the row, which is again why we pay for me to go through with A when flying SWA.
ALASKA AIRLINES TIPS
Really this is just in comparison to SWA, but they have small differences that make a big impact.
You don’t get a boarding pass for lap infants. No complaints here, just a statement.
You don’t have to bring your items to the desk to gate check. Just get the tags and do it yourself. This makes it easier since we have quite a few things we tote around.
You board after rewards members, veterans, and those with a medical reason to board first; however, before everyone else which is nice. It doesn’t matter as much since seats are already assigned, but I just wanted to mention it. This also gives you time to adjust should they accidentally seat you next to each other and you didn’t catch it until then.
There aren’t a lot of babies. People don’t really like it when you board with babies and think they will cry all the time. This happens on any flight, but personally I feel it more on Alaska flights because there are less babies. Doesn’t change much, just wanted to share my experience.
The crew works quickly. Alaska promises to have your checked luggage out in 20 minutes or less. They are very fast and sometimes our luggage is already in the “not claimed” pile because we take a minute to go to the bathroom and put our stroller together, etc. They are also very fast with the gate checked items. Not having to wait a while is key, as everyone is tired and cranky at that point.
REMINDER TO RESEARCH EACH AIRLINE
Especially if I didn’t list them above as I don’t have personal experience to share.
I mentioned this earlier, but remember if you are flying American Airlines, they do not allow gate checked strollers over 20 pounds, so check your stroller at the front area or bring a different stroller. This is pretty much impossible to find if you’re using a double / twin stroller, so you might choose two smaller / umbrella strollers that clip together if you don’t want to regular check it. Overall every airline is so specific, I recommend reading their FAQ rules or calling to find out prior if you are unsure.
This was the first flight we didn’t sit stacked / me behind Nick. It was fine, but we prefer to sit on the same side of the aisle.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL WITH INFANT TWINS
I’ve never done this but we are hoping to soon! From what I’ve read you need to have passports and that some don’t give lap infant seats / you have to buy a ticket for them regardless of age. I’ve heard to tell the airline that you are traveling with an infant and they will put you in the bulkhead regardless of if you are economy or first class and strap a bassinet to the table. Luggage and everything is getting lost right now, so I think we will try to use carry-ons, but not sure how easy that will be. Other airports have more strict rules and often don’t gate check things (like strollers) we do in America. Will be a learning curve for sure! Note that if you have global entry and want to us it, your kids must have it as well. They will not be able to enter just because you have it.
I think I could write a book on this! If you read through everything, thank you!! This post took me so long and I hope it helps you. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I am missing something or if you have a question I can try to help answer. Happy travels!
P.S. Some flights will be harder than others. Things won’t go as planned. BUT you will have a great time and make wonderful memories. It is worth all of the sweat (and sometimes tears). You can do it and will look back on it fondly. If anything, you will become an even more considerate flyer because you know what it is like to struggle and make it through. Enjoy all the moments!!
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