Air Travel Tips
Lots of children affected by dup15q syndrome do well traveling by air, and being prepared increases your chance for success.
Before you go, read a social story about airports/airplanes to prepare your child. Create a picture schedule. See if your airport has a Wings for Autism program. Familiarity will reduce anxiety. Practice using earphones, earbuds or cozyphones. Download apps, music, ibooks, and movies onto devices. Schedule a direct flight if possible. Call the TSA Cares helpline 72 hours prior to travel at 855-787-2227 (8am-11pm ET, 9am-8pm ET weekends/holidays). You can print out your own notification card to present to TSA officer for accommodations on www.tsa.gov. Get a letter from the doctor confirming diagnoses and list of current medications. Bring doctor documentation of disability to get a free National Park Access Pass in case there are national parks/monuments/sites near your destination. (Or order online for $10 handling fee: https://store.usgs.gov/access-pass)
On the plane, wheel your stroller/wheelchair right up to the plane and gate check it. Preboard when the airline announces boarding for people who need extra time. Bring an air travel approved carseat on the plane if your child is used to traveling with a carseat. It will be familiar and keep your child safe. Some use five-point travel vests. Seat your child next to the window. Bring a backpack with favorite snacks, favorite toys, books, fidgets/sensory items, and iPad with headphones (some recommend CozyPhones or Bluetooth clip on speakers). “Keeping them busy definitely helps.” Also bring medicines, diapers/wipes, and perhaps a lap pad and change of clothes. Sit at the bulkhead or have someone from your party sit in the seat in front of your child to minimize annoyance due to kicking the seat.
Car Seats and Air Travel
Did you know Every U.S. airline allows you to check a car seat free of charge when traveling with a child. You can check your car seat at the airport baggage counter or wait and check it at your gate.
Can I bring my car seat on board the plane? If you have a seat booked for your child and a car seat that is approved for use in aircraft by the FAA, then you can bring and use a car seat on board for your child.
Consider traveling with a more compact car seat models. Check out this list of the best car seats for air travel.
Car seats are obviously not allowed in exit rows (nor are any kids under age 15). But car seats are also not allowed in any seats where they would block the exit paths of others in the row. In a single aisle plane with a 3-3 configuration, for example, this means that car seats are for the most part allowed only in the window seats. * Booster seats are not approved for use in planes by the FAA.
For more information check out this website: Carseats on Airplanes: Everything you wanted to know
CARES Child Aviation Restraint System is designed specifically for aviation use for children age 1 and older who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds. These youngsters are old enough to be in their own seats, but are too small for the seat belt alone to protect them and provide the safety they require during airplane travel. Their bodies cannot withstand the jolts that are common in routine air travel, much less emergency situations, and they flail forward or slide beneath the seat belt if they are not held securely in place.