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'Tis the season for family travel horror stories Add to ...

Although many of us are still working through the bottomless pit of Halloween candy amassed last week, it’s hard not to start worrying about the holiday travel plans we have to make - and the inevitable headaches that entails.

In a piece titled Are We There Yet? When Families Fly, by New York Times writer Michelle Higgins outlines the services families report are on the wane - pre-boarding, free crayons, the odd diaper or jar of baby food and milk.

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Yes, even a simple request for a glass of milk can be tricky. Ms. Higgins writes that John and Mary Rose Lin of Jersey City ran out of milk for their 18-month-old twins on a recent Continental flight from Newark to Maui. But when they asked for some, the flight attendant said no.

“That particular beverage, the Lins recall being told, was for coffee, not children," she reports.

In another anecdote, Ms. Higgins tells the story of blogger Sierra Black, who was seating apart from her two children, ages 5 and 2 -- all in the centre aisles of different rows.

“After a flight attendant insisted that the family take their assigned seats — which caused the children to cry since they were separated from their mother and sitting between strangers — Ms. Black ultimately managed to commandeer seats for the three of them together, but only after the entire plane had boarded.

“‘Even if I wanted to leave my 2-yr-old in row 26 while I kicked back with a paperback up in row 5, I kind of think I shouldn’t be allowed to,’ Ms. Black wrote on her blog.

In an outline of some of the luxuries (colouring books! “feed kids first” policies!) airlines outside the US offer, Canada’s Air Transat comes up roses.

They offer dedicated family airport counters, courtesy strollers and a Kids Club for 2- to 11-year-olds who live in Canada, reports Ms. Higgins.

Inspired by the piece, Motherlode blogger K.J. Dellantonia added a few more bits of advice aimed not at surviving any airline policies per se, but surviving amid your fellow passengers.

Among the common sense tips: Be nice to the airline staff. Dress the kids nicely. And apologize if your kid freaks out.

Parents, are you flying over the holidays? Are you pessimistic about surviving it or do you have some tried-and-true tips to share?

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