We arrived at the airport with more than enough time to spare. If there is one place I do not want to cut it close, it is the Manchester Airport on a Saturday morning. We checked in our luggage and made our way to the security line, which is my least favorite part of any trip. I was holding Emily, while Pierre folded down the stroller. My mom was taking Joey and Hayley's sneakers off, and that's when it all began. Joey started crying because he thought TSA was taking his brand new Lightning McQueen sneakers. So as you can imagine, Hayley started crying that they were taking her new Disney Princess sneakers. I had planned for everything else. I had taken all possible items out of their hands and had coats off before even being close to the front of the line. But I had not even once considered that sneakers would be an issue. These are my two kids who would go barefoot everyday of their life if I let them.
|Joey & Hayley ~ October 2008|
|Emily ~ October 2008|
I will say that we have traveled many times and not encountered a TSA agent as strict as this. But I will admit, I would much prefer a strict TSA agent who ends up stopping someone who shouldn't be going through, than someone who lets people slide by and misses someone who should have been stopped. Since that trip, I make sure my kids, and myself, are prepared for anything. My son still hates walking through the scanner, but he does it and knows his sneakers will be waiting for him on the other side.
So here are a few tips on getting through airport security with your children:
1. Children cannot carry anything through the scanner, so if they have a special little toy or blanket, pack it away until you get to the gate. We have twice had to pry "Green Bear" out of Emily's hands (though on several occasions, we were not asked to do this). Now we tell the kids their special toys are meeting us at the gate.
2. Strollers have to be folded down and scanned. We fold ours down before getting into line. It makes our lives much easier.
3. Prepare your child about having to remove their sneakers and coats. Make sure they understand they will get them back after you go through security. We remove coats and all that before getting into the security line, though I do wait to do sneakers for the last minute. (Updated in 2011, children under age 12 are no longer required to remove their shoes, though they still need to remove coats.)
4. Have a plan in place should your child not want to walk through the scanner. If you have two adults in your travel party, have one adult go first, so if needed, they can encourage your child to follow suit.
What is your best tip for helping children through security at the airport and making it a stress free experience?