Going on an plane with your family will generally be quicker than driving, but plane trips have just as many obstacles as driving. Here are a couple points to remember when flying with a family of young children:
1. Leave home early- You don't want to be rushed getting to the airport so make sure that most of the packing is done the night before. Enjoy a good breakfast and as much play time as possible before you have to go to the airport. Allow yourself plenty of time for the drive, checking in, and getting through security.
2. Park- Have someone take you to the airport who is willing to park in the parking lot and help you unload rather than drop you at the curb. This may cost a bit of money but it is worth it too not be hurried by other cars and curb attendants.
3. Check car seats and strollers- Check large baby accessories with your luggage. Typically car seats and strollers fly for free. Checking them with your bags will guarantee that they get a tracking number and all the right tags, which will be advantageous if something is lost. Checking these things right before you get on the plane is fine too, but they won't get tracking numbers attached to them.
4. Pack amusements- Have a bag just for your child, a backpack that they can carry or roll is best. In the bag make sure that there are loads of activities to keep your child satisfied and engaged during the trip. Snacks are also a good idea. Most airports will allow dry food snacks through security. Also pack an empty water bottle that you can fill up at a water fountain after you get through security. If doable pack toys that make little noise so as not to irritate other passengers, but if a little toy that beeps and sings keeps your child from crying I'm sure no one will mind in the long run.
5. Diapers and Milk- If you are traveling with a baby that is still nursing or on bottles and wearing diapers make sure to bring plenty of both. Baby food and bottled milk is not subject to the four ounce liquid rule in most airports, but check each one you are flying through just to make sure. Also do diaper changing at the last possible moment before you get on the plane...some planes do not have diaper changing areas.
6. Bathroom Stop- Make sure everyone in the family goes to the bathroom before getting on the plane.
7. Playtime- If possible, let your kids run around and get out as much leftover energy as possible before boarding the plane. Some airports have play areas...use them.
8. Get to the gate early- Get to your gate with a lot of time left so that you will be around if they offer pre-boarding for families with small children.