Every air traveller’s worst nightmare appears to be getting stuck next to a crying 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 some tips for flying with children without alienating other passengers in the procedure.
Keep your expectations realistic – aviation can be difficult on kids (as well as adults). Don’t expect perfect behavior, and do not freak out if your child act up. Stay calm so you can deal with whatever problems come up.
Explain the procedures. Prepare children for what they will likely experience during the trip, ie crowds, 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 next 16 hour leg of the flight. Our trip 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 children decide which type of trip suits your family best.
Schedule naps. If possible select a flight that coincides with your kid’s sleep schedule. If they could take a rest at their regular time, or get a good night’s sleep on a red eye, they will be more refreshed and better behaved upon arrival at your destination.
Meals – if you child is a fussy eater they may not like plane kids meals. Bring their favorite snacks and meals for one part of the journey at least. Starving kids are agitated kids in tiny environments.
Visit the doctor prior to flight – check there are no illness’s or ear infections. Also check what medications you are able to bring if on international flights in case of illness whilst away. You do not want to get stuck at customs because you’ve brought medication not allowed in that country.
Dress for comfort – loose fitting garments 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 clothes, toothbrushes, hairbrushes etc so you can feel refreshed when flying.
Bring toys or compact teddies to occupy your kids when flying. Some airlines have fabulous consoles with TV and radio, but not all airlines, so pack a small lightweight item to amuse your children.
Last of all give your children movement breaks at least every hour, otherwise they’ll feel like caged animals. Kids are lively and like to play and do not cope well with being confined for extended periods of time.
Great luck parents I hope using these tips will give you a more enjoyable flight on the next journey.