Every air traveller’s worst nightmare seems to be getting stuck next to a screaming child for an 8 hour flight. When your kid’s parent, the nightmare could be worse. You don’t need to hold your breath and hope for the best. Here are a few tips for flying with children without alienating other passengers in the procedure.
Keep your expectations realistic – air travel can be difficult on children (as well as adults). Don’t expect perfect behavior, and don’t freak out if your child act up. Stay calm so that you can deal with whatever issues come up.
Explain the procedures. Prepare children for what they will likely experience during the trip, ie audiences, delays, lines etc..
I recently took my children from Perth Australia to Los Angeles with direct connecting flights via Dubai. In hindsight now I would have chosen an overnight in Dubai to rest, shower and have a nice meal, before tackling the second 16 hour leg of the flight. Our excursion was 27 flying hours in total with a two hour lay over in Dubai, we arrived exhausted without a clue what day or time zone we were in. Based on the time of your kids decide which kind of trip suits your family best.
Schedule naps. If possible select a flight that coincides with your child’s sleep schedule. If they can take a nap at their regular time, or get a great night’s sleep on a red eye, they’ll be more refreshed and better behaved upon arrival at your destination.
Meals – if you child is a fussy eater they might not like airplane kids meals. Bring their favourite snacks and meals for one portion of the trip at least. Hungry kids are agitated kids in tiny environments.
Visit the doctor prior to flight – check there aren’t any illness’s or ear infections. Also check what drugs you can bring if on international flights in the event of sickness whilst away. You do not want to get stuck at customs because you have brought medication not allowed in that country.
Dress for comfort – loose fitting clothes around the waist, pack a jumper, and bring spare clothes in case of spills. If your child is not night time toilet trained attract nappies too. I always fly with spare clothing, toothbrushes, hairbrushes etc so you can feel refreshed when flying.
Bring toys or small teddies to occupy your children when flying. Some airlines have consoles with TV and radio, but not all airlines, so pack a tiny lightweight item to amuse your children.
Last of all give your children movement breaks at least every hour, otherwise they will feel like caged animals. Kids are energetic and like to play and don’t deal well with being confined for long amounts of time.
Great luck parents I hope using these suggestions will give you a more enjoyable flight on your next journey.