My family is no stranger to airports. In fact, I think of myself as somewhat of an expert on the subject of family travel. Yes, we’ve survived plane delays. Yes, I’ve prepared for mid-flight meltdowns. No, I haven’t figured out how to ditch the kids for a glass of champagne in business class (working on it).
The weather outside may be frightful, but travelling this winter can be delightful! Whether you’re packing for a winter wonderland with the kids or escaping the cold, these tips from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will make airport security a breeze.
1. Pack liquids, aerosols and gels properly: Only liquids, aerosols and gels that are 100ml or less are permitted in your carry-on. Place these items in a single 1L clear, resealable plastic bag so the screening officer can easily see the contents. Any containers over 100ml should be placed in your checked baggage.
2. Know the age restrictions for baby food: Beverages and food (e.g. breast milk, formula, juice, purées) for children under the age of two are exempted from the liquid, aerosol and gel restrictions. These items should be packed so that they can easily be removed for inspection.
3. Bring solid snacks for the family: While you can’t bring yogurt or peanut butter, you can carry solid food items, such as sandwiches, granola bars and fruit through security when travelling within Canada. You can also bring a refillable drink container to refill once you pass through security.
4. Have medications ready for inspection: Prescription and essential non-prescription medications (e.g. cough syrup, decongestant spray, contact lens solution) are allowed. You can bring them in quantities greater than 100 ml in your carry-on but must show these items to the screening officer for inspection.
5. Leave gifts unwrapped: If you’re bringing gifts, leave them unwrapped as their contents may need to be inspected. During the holidays, some airports offer post-security gift wrapping service.
6. Keep small electronics in your carry-on: Bringing your children’s electronic games is a good way to keep them busy at the airport. Small electronic items, including MP3 players (e.g. iPod) and tablets, can remain in your carry-on bag.
7. Dress comfortably: Make sure you and the little ones can easily remove any bulky outwear including winter jackets and boots with large buckles. These items must be placed in bins provided at the checkpoint for screening.
8. Use the Family/Special Needs lane: Check if the Family/Special Needs lane is available when you arrive at the checkpoint. It’s designed to accommodate larger items (e.g. strollers, car seats) and is best for passengers needing more time or help at the checkpoint.
9. Have your boarding passes ready: Remember to have all family members’ boarding passes ready to present to the screening officer for verification.
10. Contact CATSA if you have questions: If you need more information, CATSA can be contacted directly at 1-888-294-2202 or via: