Got big plans over the holidays? Travelling with kids via airplane? We've taken our Christmas holidays elsewhere in the past. Instead of having Christmas at home we decided to take it somewhere tropical. And there's nothing like seeing a jolly Santa pull up on a SeaDoo! But whether you're going to visit family in other parts of the country or taking your festive celebration down south, here are some handy tips to keep stress under control and your airport experience a much more pleasant one!
Check in online from the comfort of your home before you leave for the airport. This is extremely helpful and efficient as it can shave off some precious waiting time at the airport and fiddling with inputting info into a machine while keeping an eye on the little one.
Ensure all travel documents and tickets are in hand before you reach your counter or kiosk. A handy large envelope or travel zip up case helps keep you organized and keeps passports, documents, boarding passes all in one place. BTW...double check that all your passports are up to date! We also leave photocopies of passports, credit cards and health insurance info with a relative at home as back up.
Before leaving home, verify that your baggage does not contain any restricted items. Take note of items such as food/formula for babies and tots, zippy drink holders for your kids should be empty going through, and be aware of the size of other liquid item allowances. Also, ensure electronic devices are okay before bringing them along. Also, be clear on what you should do about your Holiday Gifts. Be prepared for the possiblity of pre-wrapped gifts to be unwrapped and opened. So much for the surprise! That year we travelled over Christmas I had bought a Wii console for the family. I clearly wasn't going to lug it to Mexico but instead I did a print out on my computer and put it in a small box for them to open on Christmas day. Having said that, this holiday season, Toronto Pearson will have gift wrapping stations past security check points! For an up-to-date list of restricted items please visit www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca
Let your airline know if you have oversized items to be stowed, such as strollers and car seats. You'll be able to walk up to the gate with most strollers and the handlers will have them ready for you when you arrive at your destination. Car Seats are often checked prior to boarding and you may want to have an extra large clear bag handy to cover just in case they don't.
Talk to you kids about the airport experience before you leave home to ensure they are prepared. There may be some wait times in lines and the fun of having the favourite stuffy going through the security machines. Also, know what to do in case you get separated at the airport. We don't really want to have the scenario of HOME ALONE come to life, do we? KEVIN?
Take advantage of Guest Service Representatives. At Toronto Pearson there are airport staff members located throughout the Terminals that can assist you while you are waiting for your flights.
Keep an eye out for spacious family washrooms which are designed to keep your family together while protecting your personal space.
Check TorontoPearson.com for any special events happening at the airport the day of your trip and plan to stop by to enjoy the festivities! We were once on an inaugural flight to Barcelona and there was complimentary food, drinks and live entertainment open to everyone in the waiting area. And if you know of an inaugural flight, be sure to watch out the windows for the customary firetruck send off.
Give yourself lots of time to enjoy the airport experience! We love checking out the art installations with the kids at Toronto Pearson. And if we should be so lucky to get into one of the business lounges...that's a treat in itself! Oh,and the shopping! Who doesn't love a wander through the shops?
Santa's elves have mentioned to me that there will be a few other special events planned for air travellers over the holiday season. Kids (and parents) are going to love story time with Mrs. Claus!
Events will be listed on the website at
Do you have any handy air travelling tips to share? Leave them in the comment section below!
FELIZ NAVIDAD wherever your holidays may be!