Tips on flying with young kids

Flying is such an exciting adventure when you’re little, but for parents travelling with small children it isn’t always easy. We take a look at ways to survive your journey and things you need to do before you leave, at the airport and on the plane.
Heading away on holiday? These tips on flying with young kids will help make your life a little easier.

Flying is such an exciting adventure for young kids, but for parents travelling with small children it isn’t always easy.

We take a look at ways to survive your journey and things you need to do before you leave for your holiday, at the airport and on the plane.

Tips on flying with young kids


1. Things to do before you fly

  • If possible, book your flights for non-peak travel times (e.g. Monday - Thursday, avoiding weekends if you can). Fewer crowds mean less stress. Flying in the evening or night is better, so your kids are able to sleep on the plane.
  • Pack lots of entertainment for your kids for the flight (snacks, drinks, books, colouring books, travel-size games, playing cards, other activities, little gifts). Bring far more than you think you'll need so that you’re prepared for any delays.
  • Prepare your toddler or older children for the trip in a way they can understand. Give them a calendar to mark off the days before they go on holiday. Tell them what to expect at the airport and on the plane.
  • Book your kids meals on the plane at the time of booking your tickets. Kids meals and special dietary meals are brought out first, allowing you to get your kids settled eating their meals before your own arrives.
  • If the airline allows, select your seats ahead of time too. Always request an infant bassinet if your child is under 2. However be aware that availability of bassinets varies between airlines and is not always guaranteed.
  • When flying with small kids, some people believe the best seats are the front row or bulkhead seats where the bassinets are. These do have more leg room, however the armrests here don't always fold up (because they contain the tray tables that would normally be in front where the bassinet is instead).
  • Another option to consider is the window seats. During daylight hours, kids will enjoy looking out the window. And at night, the wall provides something for them to lean against. You’ll also have armrests that fold up, enabling your kids to sleep lying across the seats.

2. At the airport before you fly

  • Allow extra time at the airport to check in your luggage, go through airport security and make your way to the departure lounge. As a parent you already know that everything takes longer when travelling with young kids!
  • Give your kids safety rules they will understand, such as what to do if you become separated. For example, should they stay where they are and wait for you? Or should they go to the nearest shop?
  • Look up the airport(s) you’ll be using ahead of time online. Many airports have designated family areas or play areas that are good spots for lengthy stopovers when you have young kids.
  • If you are bringing an umbrella-style stroller to the gate, find out at check-in whether it will be available at the plane doors when you leave the plane or whether you will have to go to a special baggage claim area for it.

3. Flying on the plane

  • Take-off and landing can be painful for young kids ears. Perhaps bring along ear filters which buffer eardrums against rapidly changing air pressure.
  • Encourage your kids to swallow by having a water bottle or even lollipops. If you are travelling with a baby, bottle or breastfeed them on the way up and on the way down to help pop their ears.
  • For maximum entertainment value, bring your kids toys out one at a time, and put one away before introducing the next.
  • Create a 'bag of surprises' they can reach into when they're bored, full of things to keep them entertained.
  • Seat your child by the window. Most young kids find the view fascinating. There is also less chance of them getting bumped by the drinks/meals trolley and other passengers walking up and down the aisles.
  • Remember, not all passengers appreciate the joys of young kids, even a wonderful child like yours! Plan to keep your little one entertained as much as possible. Some parents deliberately choose seats at the back of the plane where engine noise can help muffle piping loud voices.

More kids travel articles to enjoy:

Source: This article was written by TravelTots.
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