I've been a travel editor for almost 12 years, logging countless miles around the world, and I pride myself on my efficiency at the airport. I am a whirling dervish of organization as I breeze through security—toiletries out, shoes off, pockets metal–free, and all back together again. I smugly never check a bag. I did a weeklong trip to French wine country with just a small duffle and still had room to bring home a couple bottles (this was pre 3oz rule). In fact, the last time I checked a bag was in 2009 on my way back from the U.K. after buying too many bottles of Scotch (post 3oz rule).
And then I had a kid.
This Saturday we will take our first flight with our infant and I am petrified. I finally came to terms with the fact that checking a bag is unavoidable, even though I am not happy about it. It's the logistics that are now keeping me up at night, juggling him and a stroller and bags while not holding up the line at security and being "those people." I have poured over the TSA's Traveling with Children pages to make sure that I am well versed in current regulations. In a fit of hyper organization, I even considered staging a mock check–in at home. And then I realized I had gone to the dark side.
What tricks do you have for getting through security with a little one? Are airlines lenient about checked bag fees when a baby is involved? Do I really need to worry about the TSA confiscating bottles of formula? Will we get dirty looks from other passengers, no matter what we do? Please save my sanity!
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