Traveling with Twins

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

Flying to New York with infant twins

Nov 2005

I am a new mom of 3 month old twins and my family lives in New York. The three of us are flying back for the Thanksgiving holiday and I am so worried about this flight. Not really sure how the three of us are going to survive it and I am wondering if anyone has some good advice to make the trip more manageable. I purchased two seats and I am planning on holding one and putting the other in a car seat. I have also requested the bulkhead but am unsure of whether I will get that. I guess I will find out when I arrive 3 hours prior to boarding the day of departure. Thanks for listening- worried new mom

I've always wanted to have a T-shirt made that says ''Mom of Twins Flying Solo. Any Help Gratefully Accepted.'' Here's a not-the-best flight scenario, which happened when my twins were 6 mos old. We sat on the runway for an hour because of snow and when we finally took off, I began having really awful abdominal pains (sausages, homemade by my husband's grandmother and I just KNEW I shouldn't have eaten them). Long story short, two very nice grandmotherly women held my babies while I lay curled up in two seats in the back of the plane very close to the restroom. Every other flight with my twins was an absolute piece of cake (some sort of karmic thing, I'm sure). Don't be afraid to ask for help during security checks and don't let the passengers waiting behind you make you anxious. It's a finite amount of time & it will be fine. Just keep in mind how lovely it will be to show off those babies to all your relatives. And avoid sausage before your flight! :-) Mom of Traveling Twins

Request for a bassinet so you can get some rest on your arm. You'll need to call ahead to reserve it. Won't hurt to call a second time to make sure your revervation is still there and ask again when you check in. Not sure which airline you're taking, some have very good services and the crew member will help you hold the baby so you cau use the bathroom or make a bottle. Bring extra diaper, water, formula(not sure if you're nursing) on board. M

I have 2 year old twin girls that I have flown with quite a bit. It is actually much easier to fly with infants than toddlers. Before they get mobile, they are much more content to sit and hang out. As infants, my kids usually slept most of the flight so I purchased seats for them and put them in their car seats. I draped a blanket over them and they would go right out with the drone of the engines. At the airport, I just put them in the stroller and hooked the car seats onto the handle. Its really easy and the few times where it is a bit logistically tough people always offer to help (getting through security etc.). Enjoy your trip! Louisa

While I haven't travelled with twins, I have travelled alone with my two children (toddler and infant) extensively. You are going to be just fine. Your fellow passengers are going to help you out. When you go through security, some TSA guy is going to help you break down your stroller and put all of your stuff in the trays. then, you will carry one baby through the magnatron and some businessman is going to carry through your next one (he feels guilty because his wife has been home alone with the kids for four days). Someone else is going to help you set back up your stroller and reload it at the other end.

A mom travelling with her teenager is going to hold one baby while the daughter holds the other while you are breaking down the stroller just before boarding. She will direct her husband to carry your car seat. Fellow passengers are going to pass by and pick up your bags for you. Just tell them your row number and the bags will be sitting there when you get there. That Mom and teenager are probably going to come check on you during the flight to see if you need one of the babies held for a while so that you can go to the bathroom. The same random passengers who got your bags onto the plane are going to get them off of the plane for you. They will be sitting by the stroller (being reassmebled by the pilot who really misses his or her kids when on the road). Half of the plane is going to tell you how amazing you are for doing what you are doing.

My only piece of unsolicited one more seat, bring a boppy and don't sit in the bulkhead. -love to travel

Taking 6-mo-old twins to Seattle - car seats?

July 2004

Am going to be traveling wiith 6 month old twins to Seattle for the weekend. I am wondering if anyone has a recommendation for airline? Also take car seats or rent with the car? I rented a car recently, and saw a couple of car seats lying around the rental booth that looked pretty scary. Does anyone have recommendations about which car rental is the most infant friendly? Kids don't like pacifiers, so am trying to time flight so they will be eating (bottles) when descending. Any other ideas? twin mom

Hi there Seattle Traveler

My partner and I just did x-country flights with 7 month old twins. You didn't say if you're traveling alone or with another person.

Two great resources and I am a big fan of the Twins Magazine bulletin board; I've gotten great information/advice about questions just like this.

When we flew, we bought one extra seat for a carseat and brought both car seats. We checked one. We rented a mini-van through National which had the best deal for us. Our trip was epic: 4 states, 3 airflights, etc. so we really needed both carseats.

We used the B.A.B.E.S. taxi service to get to the airport so that we could use their carseats and not have to deal with buckling our own in. (Their number is in an archive post on the BPN site.)

We fed them 4 oz of formula on take-off and landing and had no problem with the ear pressure.

Best thing we did: bought 30 pairs of ear plugs at the Campus Store on Euclid and Ridge and passed them out to our row- neighbors after we boarded. It was amazing what it did to change people's ''Oh no, I'm sitting in front of 2 babies'' energy. It made both the other passengers and myself relax.

Good luck and happy travels. Rachel

Be wary of renting carseats. I believe we rented from Enterprise. We wanted 2 booster seats for our 4 year old twins and a forward carseat for our 1 year old. I was a litte wary myself of this and made sure my husband was very specific! They said they had it covered. When we get there we were given 3 disgusting, old, not working correctly carseats- 2 forward facing and one rear facing for an infant (not what we had arranged for!). Thankfully we had decided to pack our twins booster seat bases at the last minute, but it still took us over an hour to rig one of the carseats to accomodate our youngest son. Not exactly what you want to be doing right after getting off a 5 hour flight at night time with 3 small kids. I was furious and would NEVER do it again because you are stuck- that's all you have to work with unless you throw the kids in the car illegally and go buy new ones at the nearest Toys-r-Us or something. CB

Definately bring your own car seats. Hopefully they're airline rated so you can take them on board and the kids will have something a little more comfortable to sit and hopefully sleep in! Also, now that my kids are older and are very busy bodies, I sure miss being able to just strap them in for a fair amount of the ride! I've only rented a car seat once and it was deffinately mediocre at best. And the rental place may or may not have ones right there so you might have to wait extra for some guy to get one from the back. Having your own is good because you know they're safe, you know how to correctly install them, and your kids are used to them too.

Long flight alone with twins

July 2004

I have a long trip (apx 20 hours with one plane change) coming up -- I'll have to travel alone with my 18 month twins. Have no idea how I'll manage pushing a double stroller and carry two car seats and our carry-on bags. Has anyone had to deal with similar circumstances? Suggestions would be welcome.

I have done some trips alone with my 2 girls when they were 1 and barely 3. I would check the luggage at curbside with skycap and get my boarding pass. It is a struggle to schlep everything but at that age you really need your stroller and car seats. I would let one girl walk next to me and put the carseats in the empty stroller seat. I would then get to the gate pretty early for 2 reasons. one, to let the girls run around and get tired and two, because I could pre-board with assistance. Ususally somneone would take my car seats and then I could park my stroller at the plane's entrance where it would be waiting once I got off or you could request to have it at your final destination gate. I only fly Southwest, so I don't know how other airlines work. Southwest has always been accomodating. Even when I didn't buy a seat for my under 2 child, they would let me bring my carseat on board and strap my daughter into an empty seat (this works best on mid-afternoon flights that aren't crowded) because a friend who works for an airline said that it is an unwritten courtesy to give lap children seats if they are available. I have always found this my advantage, but I didn't always count on it. Good luck. Kerri

My twins are now 5 and can help carry their own stuff, but we made many plane trips with them when they were younger. I found the use of a double stroller with big baskets underneath (we used a Graaco) to be indispensable. We checked it at the gate and retrieved it just outside the airplane door on arrival. I was able to stow all the feeding/diapering equipment in it, and balance their carseats on the canopy, or, when they were babies, fit the carseats right into the stroller seats with the babies in the carseats. I really needed the carseats on the plane, both for safety reasons and because it was so much easier for them to sleep in them. Been there, done that

Hi, we travel a fair amount with our twins (now 5), and of course it MUCH easier if there are two adults traveling with them. I have done a couple of trips with only myself and my two girls, and it certainly was not easy! I arranged people to drop us off and pick us up on each end, but you have to deal with everything between security check-points yourself. I made sure to use the early boarding time, and was usually the last to get off the plane too. One of the gate staff or the flight attendents was always happy to either help bring some of the load of stuff we needed or to watch one kid while I got the other in place. Check anything you can, and gate-check the double stroller so you'll have it when you get off the plane. I got fairly good at piling that double stroller pretty high with the car seats and carry-on bags! At 18 months, the kids might be able to do some walking. When I was with my two alone in an airport with all this stuff that was the only time I used kid leashes to make sure they stayed close by. Deffinately a good thing. I also liked (and used) the idea someone had of putting one of those little paper airline luggage ID tags on each kid that had their name and what flights they were on for the day just in case we somehow got separated. Yes, keep them chewing as the altitude changes ... one of our kids liked a pacifier, the other a bottle or nursing, or just sucking on your finger can be good enough. Mike

Taking 9-month-old twins to Switzerland

April 2002

My husband and I are contemplating a trip to Switzerland this summer, where we will stay with relatives. We would love advice on how to manage the airplane trip with our twin boys. They will be about nine months old by then. Since I have back problems, we are thinking of using miles to upgrade to business class, but are concerned that the airline won't allow us to do this if we bring the babies. We also need advice on how to bring/acquire all the baby paraphenalia: carseats, stroller. And we need advice on how to manage any interludes in airports. We haven't travelled since Sept. 11. Has anyone undertaken this kind of trip with a one-to-one baby/parent ratio? Should we just stay home? AL

We have travelled by air many times with our twin girls, now 3. The first time was a trip across the county when they were 7 months old, and it was hell, but worth it. One of us used a front carrier, one a back carrier, to carry the babies through the airports, and the one with the front carrier carried the diaper bag backpack on his back! We carried their little carseats in our hands (they were still the small ones with handles), using them for carrying any ''extras'' (hats, purse, etc.). Now we take our old reliable, Graco Duo Rider stroller to navigate the airport, tucking the kids in that. It has big baskets in the back for stuffing the toy and food bags into (no more diapers!) and we somehow manage to balance their now bigger carseats (stacked together) on the top. We check the stroller at the gate (it folds down, snaps shut, and hasn't been damaged so far), but take the carseats on the plane with us (it's a safer way for them to ride, and they sleep better with that support). You can check the carseats, too, though (I think we did this for one trip -- we had kept the boxes, so we stuffed them in and taped them up at the last minute, and then checked the boxes). There is a woman with twins who belongs to Twins by the Bay who has traveled to Switzerland several times. If you like, you can e-mail me, and I can forward your address to her; she may have some additional advice. Take LOTS of liquids for the long trip!! The air is murder. Bon voyage!

Go on your trip! And *definitely* use your miles to get upgraded seats (business class) for your flight. And get a seat for each of you. It is pricier, but will really be worth it. The airlines will not turn you down because of the twins. You can also get a reduced rate for the babies' seats (athough sometimes it is not much; depends on the airline). Bring their car seats and strap them in like you would in the car. We did this on a trip we took last fall with our then 1-year old to Hawaii and it worked out great. Granted, Switzerland is a longer flight, but for that reason you should definitely upgrade your seats. Having the extra space in business class meant room for her blankie, toys, snacks, etc., and the people around us seemed relieved that we had a seat for our girl, instead of trying to juggle her on our laps for the journey. That alone will cut down on the tension. As for the stroller(s), you can check them at the gate, so you don't have to maneuver them onto the plane, and they will get them out for you right when you de-plane, so no waiting then, either. I also recommend looking at this web page on Babycenter: it has some great tips. Bon Voyage! Ellen

I traveled to Germany alone with my son when he was nine months old. I would vote strongly for an airline that has infant bassinets available and that will confirm there availability for you. I flew United and they attached in front of me in the bulkhead seats in the middle row. I had this on my flight there and appreciated the extra space to place him and/or toys so I could eat hands-free and have extra space for entertaining (he managed to stay awake the entire flight!). They will tell you it only goes to six months, but mine was huge, with plenty of space for my 17 pound baby. The leg room would have been tight though for my neighbor, but that seat ended up free at the last minute (and I had planned on using my carseat there but was told it would definitely be taken, so I gate-checked it). Also, try to find an unpopular flight that might have more space free and sympathetic seat assigners who might place you and your husband in separate aisle seats in the middle row with hopes of leaving the middle seats free. You could also use your extra miles to buy a seat for one or both of the babies to guarantee use of car seats. Better for safety reasons too. And you still have to pay around $100 a piece for them even without seats to cover fees, so cashing in miles might be worth it. If you have any flexibility in flight times, try to choose flights that allow you to get enough sleep the night before, don\x92t connect, and cover a napping time.

As for the upgrading with twins, I would think it would be allowable. We used miles to fly first class to Hawaii when our son was 7 months old and despite a few meanish stares from fellow first classers, all went well. The extra leg room is nice as is the lap space, but there is virtually no chance of using your car seats.

As for stuff, I would skip portacribs and do family bed or cribs from hotels. Strollers and car seats can be gate- checked and don\x92t count as baggage. Pack tons of snacks for you and the twins, extra diapers, changes of clothes, and toys that can be tied to the seats or bassinets. Slings would be great for holding fussy babies close who don\x92t want to spend all their time in strollers while you wait in lines.United moved me to the first class line when I checked in with my son and all of our baggage and equipment, so look desparate when you arrive and maybe you can avoid a long wait! In general, I found traveling with an infant much easier than when he was 1-2 years old. Have fun! Jen

I've flown to Switzerland with two kids (not twins) and back several times. With two grownups and a good airline you should be fine! (We did it a couple of times on TWA with plane changes in St. Louis AND Paris...that was nasty). United to New York, Paris, Geneva, wasn't much better! Nine months is as good a time as any, and better than some.

Before you pack, think for awhile about what you will actually need --- do you need a stroller or strollers, or would backpacks be better. Can you rent carseats, or is it better to pack them in your luggage (I'm assuming you can't use them on the plane without paying for seats). Do you need a travel crib? Two? Obviously the trick is to take the minimum -- but no less than that. When we were doing this we lived near Geneva, Switz. and came to the states once or twice a year. My mother in law arranged to borrow carseats from her friends... and we bought a booster and left it at her house for both kids to grow cousins. she also borrowed a crib for us the times we needed that, or we traveled with a porta-crib.

The major secret with flying with babies is to work WITH their schedule... I tried flying nights thinking they'd sleep, but they were always ''over'' tired and cranky, so I learned to start early in the day so they'd be worn out and over the novelty by naptime. Jetlage is a pain, but mostly because they don't know what's happen. The babys tend to adjust to the time change at the rate of an hour or two per night. When my kids were preschool age we'd stopped fighting it, and started getting up and watching Disney movies in the middle of the night, for a few minutis

As for feeding, we traveled with formula and bottles, always took a snack wherever we went... and learned to accept help from cabin attendants and friendly passengers. Don't try to eat while holding a baby on your lap, and plan ahead for what you one the babies to eat. The good news is NO ONE can kidnap your kid on a plane.

Good luck!

I always took a couple of toys -- not more than 3 or 4 and rotated them over the trip. My big hint is to take a packet of elastic (1/4'') to tie a toy or something too. you can reel it in, or tie to two seat backs to play with... Heather

I haven't traveled with twins, but I did a lot of traveling when my baby was small, some of it alone with my 7 year old along. My main advice is to get at least one extra seat, and if you can afford it, two. Most airlines give 50% discounts for babies under 2. Bring the carseat(s). Babies sleep so much better in their carseats,and they are less likely to spend the entire trip alternating between feeding and wailing. I'd also recommend getting the Kohlcraft double umbrella stroller. Try Darla's in El Cerrito or Rockridge Kids. (It's easy to maneuver with one hand and easy to gate check, and you can carry the carseat with your other hand. I just traveled with my kids for the first time since 9-11. You do need to leave lots of time for the security checks. Believe what they say about getting to the airport 90 minutes prior for domestic and even earlier for international. Maria