The 411 on YYZ

Six sen­si­ble hacks for trav­el­ling through Pear­son Air­port this March break

Bayview Post - - Kids -

If pulling your two young sons out of school for a year and trav­el­ling to 29 coun­tries doesn’t make you an expert on get­ting through air­ports with a fam­ily, I don’t know what does.

That’s what travel writer Heather Green­wood Davis did, and she shared her top six tips with me for get­ting through Canada’s busiest air­port, Pear­son In­ter­na­tional in Toronto.

1. “Do as much as you can be­fore you get to the air­port. That means ev­ery­thing from pay­ing for your lug­gage ahead of time to on­line check-in. The more lines you can avoid at the air­port it­self, the bet­ter your ex­pe­ri­ence will be,” says Davis.

With thou­sands of fam­i­lies trav­el­ling at March break, the lines are go­ing to be long and the pa­tience of lit­tle kids will wear thin af­ter a few min­utes.

By check­ing in on­line, you can also guar­an­tee your fam­ily will sit to­gether, should this be your goal.

2. Once you’ve got­ten through the bag­gage check-in or have man­aged to stuff ev­ery­thing you all need into carry-on bags, you’ll get to the air­port’s se­cu­rity screen­ing.

Make sure you don’t have liq­uids in your carry-on (note: if you’re go­ing some­where warm this means only sun­screen bot­tles less than 100 ml) or that ju­nior hasn’t snuck in a lightsaber.

If the kids are ac­cus­tomed to a cer­tain wa­ter bot­tle, bring it with you but make sure it’s empty. You can fill it up at a wa­ter foun­tain af­ter you’ve cleared se­cu­rity.

3. Once you’re through se­cu­rity, buy a few snacks for your­self and the kids. You never know when you might run into a de­lay (on the run­way) be­fore you get to your fi­nal des­ti­na­tion. A “hangry” kid makes for stressed par­ents. You can bring snacks from home, but not if you’re trav­el­ling on a NEXUS card (an ex­pe­dited process for pre­screened trav­ellers be­tween Canada and the U.S.).

4. Al­though most air­lines al­low par­ents of chil­dren un­der the age of three to pre-board or board be­fore your zone is called, un­less you are rac­ing to stow carry-on bags, don’t board early with kids. The less time on the plane, the bet­ter.

5. Pre­pare your kids to sit qui­etly on the plane well in ad­vance. Have them get used to us­ing head­phones with their iPads at home so they don’t yank them out on the plane. Warn them about seat kick­ing and make it a pun­ish­able of­fence (no iPad for you!).

6. “And go early. The stress of rush­ing for your plane is only go­ing to add com­pli­ca­tions to an al­ready busy day. The new restau­rants and shops at Pear­son mean you can find plenty to do while you’re there. Or pull out that new book you’re plan­ning to en­joy on the beach and start the va­ca­tion early,” says Davis.

Throw in a glass of wine at an air­port lounge, and I’m all over that one with you, Heather.

Safe trav­els. KATHY BUCKWORTH

Don’t pre-board un­less you have to; the less time on the plane, the bet­ter

Kathy Buckworth is the au­thor of I Am So the Boss of You: An 8-Step Guide to Giv­ing Your Fam­ily the ‘Busi­ness.’

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