My dad’s been a pilot since before I was born, so I grew up traveling as an “airline kid.” When I got married, I smoothly transitioned into being an “airline spouse,” since my husband is a baggage assembly lead. This means I’m very comfortable on airplanes — while simultaneously suffering from Standby Stomach — but I don’t exactly travel the traditional way.
For one, we never check luggage. Checked luggage is a huge pain when you’re traveling standby since it means you can’t jump from flight to flight as opportunities present themselves — you’re stuck with the plane holding your suitcase.
We started flying with our kids when they were three and five, and while it certainly would have been easier to check huge suitcases full of everything we might need or want, we’ve managed to keep things streamlined and only take what we can carry directly onto the plane.