- Julie Garwood
- The Kids Zone
Flying with kids can be an anxiety-inducing experience for even the most seasoned traveler. As a mom of two toddlers, I know firsthand the challenges and stress that come with navigating an airport with young children.
However, if you're departing from Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport — also known by its airport code, BTV — you're in luck. The 14-gate facility is newly renovated and has been designed with young children in mind. It features several amenities that can make the time you spend there a whole lot easier.
I've flown in and out of BTV a few times — and gotten a behind-the-security-checkpoint tour with my camera in tow. I've compiled a few travel tips that I hope will make your family's airport experience not just bearable but even enjoyable, no matter what boarding group you're in.
The Kids Zone
If you're traveling with young children, there's one feature of the airport that you won't want to miss: the Kids Zone. It's located post-security and accessible from all gates. With several playscapes, a table for coloring, a busy board and rocking chairs for caregivers, it's an ideal spot to pass the time before a flight, whether your little ones need to burn off some energy or simply need a place to relax before boarding.
Before you leave, make sure to look up and admire the mesmerizing ceiling. The changing lights, clouds and other nods to air travel will get kids excited for the journey ahead!
- Julie Garwood
- Mamava pod
Seeking a private space to feed your baby? BTV's Mamava lactation pods are an excellent choice. You might have seen one of these before: Burlington-based Mamava has installed its freestanding lactation pods in all 50 states. You'll find them in hospitals, malls, stadiums and Walmart stores. BTV was actually the very first place to host one.
The pods are accessed exclusively through the Mamava app, which not only directs you to other Mamava pods at the airport pre- and post-security but also informs you of their availability. Each one can accommodate a stroller, breast pump and even multiple children. Moreover, they're regularly sanitized and well ventilated to ensure a safe and healthy feeding environment.
The Skinny Pancake and Hudson News
- File: Cat Cutillo
- The Skinny Pancake
In my experience, keeping kids well-fed is essential to ensuring their happiness before and during a flight. If you forgot to bring snacks for your child or don't want to carry any through security, don't worry — there are snack and food options available in the terminal, though you'll pay extra for the convenience.
Our family's favorite is the Skinny Pancake, where we typically order crêpes or fries to ward off crankiness. We appreciate the allergy-friendly options on the menu, which cater to our dietary restrictions.
There's also a Hudson News store post-security where we usually grab some snacks for the plane and any other travel items we might have forgotten.
BTV airport offers a serene yoga space on the second floor, pre-security, for young yoga enthusiasts and their caregivers — or anyone seeking a moment of tranquility before embarking on a hectic travel day. It includes a few yoga mats and rollers. The soft lighting and beautiful hardwood floors create a peaceful atmosphere that allows you to forget you're even in an airport.
The Little Library
- File: Cat Cutillo
- The Little Library
If your kids love books, they'll enjoy the tucked-away library shelves on the second floor — pre-security — where they can take a break and read a few stories before or after a flight. Curated by Burlington's Fletcher Free Library, the small selection includes titles for both children and adults. On our last trip, we each found something to read for a few minutes before heading to our flight. It includes rocking chairs so you can get cozy, much like you would at your town library!
More BTV travel tips for families
- © Woraphon Banchobdi | Dreamstime
- Yoga studio
- Covered parking is available right next to the terminal. It's very easy to get inside with kids without being exposed to the elements.
- There are a few quiet areas both pre- and post-security where kids can feel free to roam without fear of disturbing others, particularly in the new wing upstairs, just past the security checkpoint.
- We recommend bringing your stroller with you, as it makes getting through security and waiting in the terminal that much easier. We usually check ours right at the gate so we have access to it immediately on arrival, as well.
- Pack a few empty water bottles for your kids. You can fill them using the convenient water-bottle filling stations once you're past security. We always make sure we have water on our flight.
- Rocking chairs are available all over the airport, both before and after security. They're great for parents of newborns, especially, who wish to rock their babies to sleep before heading onto a flight.
- We usually package our snacks in clear gallon-size ziplock bags when going through security, in case there are any questions. We also opt for the smaller, 3-ounce food/applesauce pouches.
- Breast milk is allowed through security and is exempt from the "limited quantity" rule of 3.4 ounces.
- Because of these amenities, our family arrives one and a half to two hours before a scheduled flight. We've never had to wait in long security lines, despite traveling at various times; however, we've heard that the lines can get long, particularly before early morning flights.