Traveling with your special needs kid doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. There are many things you can do to make flying simple. These five airport tips for parents will get you started on your planning.

1.         Call the TSA

The TSA has a helpline specifically for those with special needs. You can call them at 1-855-787-2227 with any questions you have about their procedures, screening policies, and anything else that will make you more comfortable at the security checkpoint. When you call, a representative will either give you the relevant information you need, or if you need specialized assistance they’ll refer you to a disability expert at the TSA. They recommend you call at least 72 hours in advance so they have the time they need to coordinate support at your checkpoint if necessary.

airline travel special needs

2.         Bring plenty of small bills

From taxi rides to airport shuttle drivers, there will be numerous people who help you out on the trip. You want to get from one spot to another as quickly as possible, so be ready with singles and five dollar bills. This allows you to simply tip and move on without waiting for change.

3.         Check in ahead of time

Skip the lines in the airport by checking in ahead of time. You can print your boarding pass with almost all airlines, and most will now let you show your boarding pass on your phone. However, keep in mind that in some cases boarding passes must be loaded individually on your phone. This can cause hold ups when it’s time to board the plane, so it may be worth it to print them out and have them on hand.

4.         Backup plans can save you

It’s great to plan and it’s great to be prepared, but that preparedness should include backup plans. You might have car trouble on the way to the airport, you may miss a connection, or your flight may arrive late. Make sure you have plans for each of these scenarios: one-hour delays, multi-hour delays, and total cancellations.

airplane travel with child

5.         Breathe deeply and smile!

You’ll spend months planning and preparing so you can have a lovely vacation. When the day finally arrives, don’t forget to take a deep breath and smile! You want to enjoy this special time with your children and your family. Don’t get so caught up worrying that you forget to be present for your trip.