How to Avoid Dragging Your Child by Their Jacket Through the Airport

Jan 7, 2019

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Sometimes at the end of a travel day with kids, parents and kids are just done. As in, “I literally can’t take one more step” done. If you don’t have children, imagine your most exhausting travel day, and then add in managing a couple of heavy, exhausted, squealing, (cute) piglets, and you’re about 50% of the way there. I’ve done some interesting things to get my daughters through those last few steps of going from Point A to Point B when everyone is spent, but I’ve never done what this parent apparently decided was his last resort to get his children through the airport.

According to the information on the video posted below, on New Year’s Day, a man at Washington, DC’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) pulled his child by the hood of her jacket through the airport across the floor. It actually sounds worse than it looked on the video. She was said to not be screaming and doesn’t appear to be struggling or distressed in the video. There was also reportedly a second child, likely a sister, who was walking behind the child who was sliding across the floor by her hood.

As long as no one is getting hurt (and you aren’t drawing on the airplane seats or using a training potty in the middle of the plane), I think parents deserve a whole lot of leeway when hitting the sky with kids. It can get (very) tough at points — especially if you are the only parent flying solo with the kids.

But, here are a few ideas so you don’t have to resort to dragging your child by the jacket through the airport or hotel.

How to Avoid Dragging a Child Through the Airport

Ask for a Ride on the “E-Cart”

The electric golf carts you see in airports can be used by just about anyone who asks. I’ve had to ask for a ride on one after a solo flight with my then 3- or 4-year-old when she was beyond exhausted and passed out. I couldn’t physically carry her and the bags, so it was really the last resort. It took a few minutes to get a cart since we hadn’t arranged for one in advance, but it was well worth the wait.

Use a Bag Delivery Service

Keep your hands free so you can carry your passed out or exhausted kids and use a bag delivery service that will deliver your checked bags all the way to your final destination, whether that is home or a hotel. Prices start at $29.95, but go up only marginally for additional bags. Once you check your bags in at the airport, you don’t have to mess with them again until they are delivered within four to six hours after you land.

minivan car delta lyft luggage packed airport
Let someone else bring your luggage home. (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

Use a Luggage Cart

After a post-midnight landing, my then 4-year-old daughter was passed out on the way to the hotel. I somehow carried her and the bags from the Uber to the hotel’s check-in desk, but then had to place her on the floor as I checked in.

There’s no way I could manage carrying all of that to the room, and I couldn’t make two trips and leave her anywhere alone. So, I did what I had to do and loaded her onto the luggage cart. The hotel wasn’t thrilled, but also didn’t have a better suggestion without a bellman on duty at that hour.

Try to Avoid the Over-Tired Demons

I don’t know what was going on for the family in the dragging video on that particular day, but I’d wager a Starbucks coffee or two that at least one of them was overtired (if not everyone). Sometimes travel delays can hit and you just have to deal with the cards you are dealt, but try to schedule your travels where no one day is too grueling, especially if you are flying solo with the kids. Also do your best to keep everyone hydrated and well-fed as “hanger” is a real thing.


Last, but probably not least, be ready to bribe your kids to get through the airport in a reasonably orderly fashion. You don’t have to promise the world, but maybe a packet of M&M’s, a trip to Target, some extra iPad time, whatever. Discipline is obviously needed with children, but the airport or plane may not be the best times for a hard lined approach. Survive the journey and then re-center everyone once you get where you are going.

A promise of a stop at the candy store may be enough to keep everyone going.
A promise of a stop at the candy store may be enough to keep everyone going.

Bottom Line

From strollers to airport golf carts, there are lots of ways to get children through the airport, even when one of them won’t take another step, so you really don’t have to resort to dragging a lagging child by the hood of their jacket.

Featured image by Nivek Neslo / Getty Images.

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