Flying alone with twins is an epic adventure. When Mom or Dad needs to travel alone and take the twins along, or you’re a single parent flying with twins, it can be overwhelming. But take heart, you can do this!
Whether you’re traveling on a long-awaited vacation or going to visit Grandma and Grandpa, traveling alone with twins requires some planning and flexibility.
You can travel with two babies, toddlers, or twins of any age. Here are some tips when flying solo with your twins.
If at all possible, try to recruit a traveling companion. If your partner can’t come with you, try inviting grandma or a trusted friend to come along. I know that isn’t always possible but do your best. When you have no choice but to fly alone with your twins, consider their age at the time of your trip.
Flying Alone with Infant Twins
If you do have to travel alone with two babies, here are some things to keep in mind to make the trip a little bit easier for you. Remember when you’re on the plane and the twins are under 2 years old, technically they can be lap children.
A “lap child” means you don’t have to pay for tickets for that child if you hold him or her the entire trip. However, you have to have a lap for each child, so if you’re flying by yourself, you can only have one lap child. You’re going to have to pay for an extra seat for the second twin.
If you have it in your budget, you may want to consider actually getting a seat for each of your twins. This would mean three seats in a row (one for you and one for each twin).
Having an assigned and ticketed seat for each twin lets you put them in their car seats for the flight. Your twins are likely used to being in their car seats and can be resting or just hanging out in the seat next to you. Then your hands are free to help soothe them, pick one up to cuddle, feed them, or whatever you need to do.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is to make sure that your car seats are airplane-approved. You can look for that on the label on the side of the car seat to see if they are approved for airplane use.
When you get to the airport and it’s time to get on your plane, make sure you’re in the pre-boarding group to give you plenty of time to get the babies strapped into their car seats and everything settled. You can anchor your car seats in the plane with a seat belt, just like you would in the back seat of your car.
(RELATED: The Twin Stroller Advisor helps you find the perfect double stroller for your family.)
Most of the time when we flew with our infant girls, they would sleep on the plane. May you be that lucky too!
Flying Alone with Twins Under 2
Once your twins are past the infant phase and starting to be mobile, flights become a little more challenging. The captain turns on the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign and yet your twins still want to bounce, crawl, or run all over the place.
Flying alone with twin toddlers requires a balancing act. As I mentioned above, your toddlers under age two can fly for free if they have a lap to sit on. This means that you could take at least one for free. However, the more mobile your twins, the more you want them restrained in their car or booster seats.
Yes, your toddlers could sit in their seats with just the airplane seat belt. However, having the four-point harness of their car seat makes containing them so much easier.
Traveling Alone with Twins Internationally
Check with your airline if traveling alone with your twins internationally. Each airline has its own policies for when you have to pay for infants. Typically, international flights are not totally free for lap children. You may pay a percentage of an adult fare or at a minimum the taxes and fees for that trip.
Many long-haul flights have bassinets attached to the bulkhead at the front of the cabin. Ask your airline if that is an option for your twins.
Keeping Twins Happy when Traveling
Consider the time of day you’re going to be flying. You’re going to get a good sense for your babies’ rhythm and schedule on a day-to-day basis. You’re going to know what time of day they’re in a good mood, what time of day is not good for them and when they’re fussy.
You want to try to fly when your babies are typically calm and in a good mood. For us, this was in the morning. We’d try to fly first thing in the morning with our family because the kids were usually in a pretty good mood, and that made it a lot easier for us and for those around us.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Because you are flying alone with twins, you’re going to have a lot of sympathetic people around you, especially the flight crew. As such, they’re going to be more willing to offer you help and make sure that you’re comfortable. Make sure you’re over the top in showing your appreciation to them and giving them thanks for the things that they’re doing for you.
That also means that you can’t take advantage of them. You need to do your part to help keep your babies cool, calm and collected.
Take plenty of supplies to help with your twins. Have a stock of formula if you’re bottle-feeding or food if they’re already on solid foods. Make sure that you’ve got the toys and entertainment, including books that can keep your twins entertained and busy.
Also, remember to have something to soothe them. For younger twins, make sure you have a pacifier for each of them. As the plane goes up and down and the pressure changes, your babies are going to have pain in their ears. Make sure that they have something to suck on, whether it’s a pacifier when they’re younger, food if they’re older, or even something to drink. That will help pop their ears and keep the pressure under control.
I’ve written about flying with twins and how to survive air travel with infant twins in another post if you’d like more tips for traveling with alone with twins or as a family.
Picture by Doug
This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 45: Flying Alone with Twins, Dad’s Priorities, Shock of Twins.