Traveling with Kids + TSA = Nightmare

Most people are accustomed to hearing their parents talk about how things used to be harder in the old days i.e. “We walked to school uphill both ways.” However, if you’ve flown with young kids recently, you know that in this case, it’s just not true. Going through security with little kids under today’s restrictions is an absolute nightmare. I actually feel bad for the people behind us as we line up our two car seats, four bags, four coats, four pairs of shoes, toys, and computers to go through the x-ray. This is in addition to having to remember to keep our boarding passes in our hands and taking all of the kid’s drinks, packaged food and medicine out of our carry on bag, all of which has to be packed in small clear plastic bags. Last but not least, we need to be careful not to put a child through the x-ray machine in all the commotion.

Then there is the issue of food. With the exception of JetBlue, most airlines don’t even offer free snacks anymore. So like many parents, we bring our own snacks, especially on long flights. Two months ago, in Ft Lauderdale, at 6:30am, the TSA confiscated my daughter’s breakfast, which was a small yogurt that they claimed was in the “gel” family. Needless to say, she was hysterical and we could not find another yogurt within security. Last month, we made sure to stock up for a 6 1/2 hour flight to Los Angeles, given that American Airlines does not serve any food other than paid snacks. However, the TSA folks confiscated our six packages of diced peaches, which the kids live on, because they were suspended in liquid. They also took our ice pack which was keeping the kid’s sandwiches cold and we had to dump out the kid’s cups full of water and juice. We were told by the TSA folks that the ice pack would have been allowed if it had been keeping milk or formula cold, but we could not have it for food. I’m sorry, but how does that make it less of a threat? Anyway, we fought hard about the peaches, offering to eat them and asking the TSA rep to run a bomb detection test on them, but it was to no avail.

Common sense really needs to prevail with respect to airline safely. It’s hard enough to travel with kids, but these blanket TSA rules, combined the lack of food being served on the airlines, creates a major headache. Parents are essentially forced to take their chances on overpriced stores within the security area. It’s time for the airports to consider a special dedicated family screening area, where the parents won’t be as rushed and some more senior TSA officials can help make judgment calls on which breakfast and snacks items are or are not a threat to national security. It’s been well documented how Israel’s flagship carrier, El Al, focuses on personal interviews and human judgment to provide what is considered the best security in the world. This is far more effective than blanket rules which are likely ineffective because they are targeting yesterday’s terrorist tactics. Instead, they make an already difficult situation even more so for parents who travel with young children.

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8 Responses to Traveling with Kids + TSA = Nightmare

  1. says:

    I completely agree with you ….unfortunately until a legal way to get around this is not found and atleast one airline does not feel the burn things are not going to change….i am travelling with my baby for the first time …ALONE….wish me luck!!!

  2. says:

    Don’t forget about having to take napping kids out of their strollers, or taking infants out of their carriers, so the carrier or stroller can go through the x-ray machine. We also need to send young kids through metal detector by themselves which they proceed to run away immediately.

  3. says:

    I couldn’t agree more! Last time I flew I found the flight attendants to be very unsympathetic and couldn’t even spare a small carton of milk for more 18 month old daughter. I fly next month with now two little ones, I can’t wait. One other bit of info if you take a “red eye” like a lot of parents like to do most of the resturants and concessions close are closed after 10 pm so I am not sure where you are supposed to get “safe” beverages.

  4. says:

    Travelling with children is tough but if they alter the regulations the bad guys will now have a way around security with the prohibited items. Since everyone and everyone’s property are screened equally that avenue is removed.

  5. Davey's Mom says:

    And many of the airlines, including both American and Southwest, don’t allow pre-boarding with small kids. I don’t know how many people we smacked in the head with his infant car seat last time! He’s now 18 months in a convertible car seat.
    To the June 18th commentator, puh-leese! The terrorists aren’t going to win because your fruit juice is confiscated? Bu##-$^@! ( My characters) But air rage may return if all the toddlers are infuriated and scream the whole flight. And no fair giving my toddler the evil eye since you want his yogurt confiscated!

    I’ve traveled around the world twice now. No country, even after 9-11, is as unreasonable as the US. By all means, profile us! That works and a special line so we don’t hold up everyone else would be a god-send.

    PS a positive suggestion to other parents with small ones. Don’t keep track of your individual bags by visual clues-keep track of the NUMBER of bags. If you have to, duct tape #’s to them. Looks ridiculous but it works.

  6. Yolanda says:

    I truly understand all the inconveniences that TSA and their procedures may cause to all families. But always keep in mind, it is all done to protect YOU and your little ones. I’m an individual who appreciates their hard job. Without hesitation, I will follow all their instructions, if it means that I will be secure and protected from those who want to harm us!

    I am also a frequent traveler, and it gets to me that TO THIS DATE, people still don’t follow the rules, they don’t understand them, or they just simply want to annoy the rest of the passengers! Because of their ignorance, we pay!!!!!!!!!! Long lines!!!!!!!!!!!

    Let’s be patient, eventually we will get to wherever we want to be…SAFELY!!!!

    Better prevent that be sorry, don’t you think?

  7. Kari says:

    Okay so probably not the most popular post but seriously I fly with my 2 young children about 6-10 times a year. As a mother of 2 young children I come prepared and think about the snacks I am bringing before I go through security- there are plenty of options other than liquid foods- maybe fresh peaches would have been a better option bring empty sippy cups buy milk, juice in the airport – some airlines do not supply the crew with milk so don’t expect them to have it. Wear easy shoes- don’t bring a over abundance of carry on luggage pay the 15 bucks and reduce a whole lot of stress. I just bring what is necessary for the kids and a little back up in case of delay. The TSA is just doing their jobs they are not trying to be mean- most people these days know the restrictions. If your not prepared your journey will be a nightmare. My best advice be prepared and have a plan from check in to baggage claim.

  8. what does it mean to be free? says:

    Several people have said that we just need to do what TSA says because its being done to protect us. But what about when they require a woman in a wheelchair to undress next to the screening area? Or they make a crippled child limp through the scanner, unassisted? Or when they make a mother drink her own breastmilk? Then we find, whoops, we have no recourse, no right to challenge what are obviously cruel and unconstitutional decisions, because we’ve given away our freedom.

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