10. Hoodies- Airplanes can be cold, hoodies are warm and comfortable. You can sleep in them with no discomfort.
9. Small toy airplane- This came in quite useful for explaining what was going on: i.e. the airplane is taking off, the airplane is in some turbulence, the airpane is landing.
8. Baby Wipes- I prefer to use washcloths at home, but baby wipes proved to be indispensable on the airplane, partly to clean the sticky fingers due to...
7. Snacks- This might be fairly obvious, but I was very thankful to have lunch packed, as well as a container of fresh strawberries. It helps pass the time, and most airlines don't serve lunch anymore.
6. Picture books- my favourites are In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendeck, A Glorious Day, by Amy Schwartz, and On a Wintry Morning by Dori Chaconas.
5. A Broad Repertoire of Songs- This may annoy other passengers on board, but songs are an excellent way of boosting morale and keeping kids occupied.
4. Hand puppets- literally. If you have a pen, even a ball point pen, you can draw a simple face onto your closed fist. Just make the closed part between your first finger and your thumb into the mouth, and draw two eyes above it. This puppet can be combined with the previously mentioned repertoire of songs, for maximum annoyance for surrounding passengers, and maximum enjoyment by your children.
3. Maya Sling- This one is very close to the top 10 most useful item for travelling with a baby. I found my sling indispensable. I used it to carry my daughter and keep my hands free for bags and to hold my son's hand. It can also double as a blanket for a tired child, and a nursing cover, if you feel you need one. In a pinch you could even rig it as an extra carry on bag.
2. Lots of Liquids- Unfortunately the new security regulations make it very difficult to provide enough liquid for your children. You cannot bring water or juice onto the plane, but instead need to rely on the airline staff to provide it for you. This means you need to make yourself into a royal pain by demanding larger portions of water, insisting on refills and otherwise annoying the staff as well as other passengers. Of course for younger children there is another source of liquid... which leads to....
1. Two Functioning Breasts- The top most important item for travel with two young children is a pair of functioning breasts. It's common knowledge that the best way to combat the effects of the change in pressure from landing and taking off is by sucking on something. What could be more handy or more versatile than breastfeeding? If you're not breastfeeding you might want to bring a teething toy, a bottle, or some kind of suck-able food item for older kids.
If you happen to be seated beside Barbara Walters just make sure to paste a warm smile on your face, and an armory of breastfeeding slogans on your lips. You have just as much right to breastfeed as your neighbour has to eat in the seat next to you. More in fact, since if you were to cease it might result in a screaming nightmare for every passenger on the flight. It might do well to remind people that on flight breastfeeding is in their own best interests for this reason.