Being lucky enough to experience this sort of travel many, many, many, many, many ... so ... many ... times ... never ending travel ... many, many, many ...
Sorry, I was just lost in nostalgia. Where was I? Oh, yes, having experienced this sort of travel many (to the 1,000,000th degree) times, I've become a sort of expert and decided to show how I personally made it a good experience on our most recent trip:
1) Make sure you travel on an extremely busy travel week. For instance, if you live in New England, try travelling the week of winter break. That way all the tickets are 3 times their normal cost and, in order to save $1500 dollars, you must drive to an airport 3 hours away. This ensures the children are well worn out before you even get to the airport.
2) Use all carry on luggage so that you don't have to pay the extra price for checked luggage. This way the stewardesses can take up pent up frustration on you before the flight. (I can't imagine why her eyes bugged out when we entered the plane with our luggage- see picture above for perspective)
3) Make sure your 5 year old is just tall enough so that, sitting regularly, his feet actually have no option but to touch the seat in front of him. That way, you can spend the entire flight contorting him (and yourself) into a myriad of positions to keep him from kicking that darn seat. Extra helpful- sit behind the Wicked Witch of the West who will interrupt your lecture on being respectful to the people in front of you to, well, lecture on the importance of being respectful to the person in front of you.
4) Do everything you can to delay your flight so you have to RUN, with all the kids, across the airport to the connecting flight. Only to find that they have moved the gate to the end of yet another console equally far away (so that you end up running 2 sides of an enormous triangle). Be the last people to get on the plane so that everyone can gawk at you as you get to your seats, where someone is sitting, so you get to stand in the aisle while they move. (Take up 2 and 2/3 rows so that you really can't move somewhere else because you need to sit close to all the kids.)
5) Have 2 layovers so that you get to run for a second connection. It helps if you have a talent for making your connecting flights as far away as possible.
6) Accidentally leave your portable DVD player ON when you pack it so that when you pull it out it has no charge left to watch a movie.
7) Be a big enough family that you can't fit in a rental car or minivan and must either rent a huge Suburban or get your parents to pick you up in their car AND get a smaller rental car.
8) Make sure your husband's job plans a must attend quarterly meeting in Ohio the week of winter vacation so he is gone for the middle 3 days of the family trip.
I guarantee you that, if you follow these steps, your experience of traveling with children will be extremely ... extremely ... I'm sorry I seem to have temporarily lost the ability to produce coherent thought. I can't imagine why.
Have any better "suggestions" that have made your traveling experiences as "fun" as mine?