Air travel with kids may seem like a daunting task. The situation may throw up a few challenges but if you are mindful of certain things you can hope to enjoy the flight with kids. The key may lie in keeping things simple. Making a complicated itinerary by packing too many activities can spell trouble. It may help to keep your plan flexible to accommodate your kid’s needs. Also, bear in mind that help is readily available and there may even be people around who may not hesitate to extend a helping hand.
15 Tips for Air Travel with Children
Here is a list of some tips for flying with children:
1. Check Flight Regulations
Different airlines have varying charges and rules concerning kids. A certain airline can charge for something which another airline may be offering for free like luggage allowance for the number of baby equipment one is allowed to carry without any fare. Also, there can be variations in the infant tariff. Before booking your tickets try and understand these regulations for every airline. Make sure it is a kid-friendly airline. Avoid taking aisle seats for your kids. It can be dangerous for little kids with the food and beverage cart carrying hot beverages passing by frequently.
2. Start Your Travel Early
It may prove helpful to book yourself on an early morning flight. For one flight scheduled at early hours are usually not crowded. Secondly, there are fewer chances of delays while taking off and landings which means no frustrating waits. Moreover, kids commonly are sleepy during those early hours. Your kid may end up sleeping the entire time.
3. Plan Carefully Ahead
Try and think of as many possible situations that can arise while flying with kids and be prepared accordingly like carrying a pacifier with a pacifier clip lest your baby drops it midflight and you keep scrambling under the seats to look for it. The likelihood of encountering surprises can be more when travelling with a toddler in flight. Therefore always carry things extra like clothes, medicines, wet wipes, snacks, games. Consider stocking up sufficient water after passing security to tackle a possible delay. You never know what circumstances may spring up. Anticipating situations may help in planning well.
4. Layered Dressing
It may be sensible to dress your kids in easy layers to combat the fluctuating temperatures while flying. You may like to choose clothing which has zippers, buttons to enable easy wearing or removing as per requirement. Kids may frequently want to use the bathroom. Therefore it makes sense to select such pieces of clothing which can make going to the bathroom convenient like pull-ups. Also, go in for slip-on shoes rather than shoes with laces. It can save you some hassle at the time of airport screening. Carrying a stole or a light blanket can also come in handy to keep your kid warm while he sleeps.
You may be attempted to carry everything when travelling with kids. But try and travel as light as possible. Minimizing your luggage may save you a lot of inconveniences. For example, replace your regular stroller with a foldable umbrella stroller. In case you are travelling with more than one kid consider carrying a kid harness.
6. Takeoffs and Descent
Your kids may face trouble while taking-off or landing in dealing with the air pressure difference and it may end up hurting their ears. In case of such an instance, you can offer a pacifier or bottle feed to babies. For toddlers sucking on a candy or lollipop may help. You can also make your kid drink some water during takeoffs and landings to ease the ear pressure discomfort.
It can be tricky to deal with kids who tend to be fussy eaters during flights. Your kid may not find airline food appealing. So you can consider taking along some homecooked food preferably finger foods which is easy to handle and not messy like a roll, stuffed sandwich. Alternatively, do carry some of your kid’s favourite snacks, cookies, a bar of chocolate to cater for those sudden hunger pangs. You may not want to be too particular about nutrition for a change and allow your kid his favourite junk food as long as it keeps him happy during the flight. For babies pack extra milk formula and bottles. Flight attendants usually help with providing warm water.
You may require to plan some entertainment for your kid to keep him engaged during those hours of flight. Try and place him on the window seat which can serve as an interesting distraction. You can load your phone with kid-friendly apps or pack colouring sets, puzzles, playing cards, little toys to battle your child’s boredom.
You may want to relax your rule regarding the use of electronics and allow your kid to play with his favourite gadget or video game during the flight. It may be prudent to invest in some kid-size headphones as the airline headsets can be too large for the kid’s ears. Also, you can put the element of surprise to good use and treat your kid to a surprise gift which you may reveal mid-flight as a nice bonus.
9. Time Zones
It is advisable to consider the different time zones while planning to travel with kids by flight. The changed time zones that you are likely to encounter during your travel can affect your child’s routine. Some children can experience jet lag and get unusually cranky. Try and keep your schedule flexible which may help you to make allowances for your kid’s sleeping and feeding requirements. It may be a good idea to select a flight that coincides with your kid’s regular sleeping routine. In case it will be your kid’s bedtime upon landing avoid letting him sleep on the flight for the entire duration.
10. Airport Facilities
You may like to make use of your time while waiting to board the flight and allow your kid to run around and burn off some of his energy. Make the most of the airport play areas. All the activity may tire him enough to make him sleep during the flight. Also, avoid filling your kid with too much sugar just before the flight which may keep him excited and hyper on the flight.
11. Quick Change Bag
Pack a small bag with all the baby essentials like baby wipes, diaper, nappy cream, extra clothing, hand sanitizer together quite handy, if you are taking a flight with your baby. In the case of older kids, you may pack them each a plane bag with all their necessities.
12. Seek Help
Do not hesitate to ask for help. You can always ask the cabin crew to help you with your kid; like keeping an eye on him while you visit the bathroom or when you feel like stretching your legs. You can also request you co-passenger in case you need some help settling your luggage. More often people are understanding and ready to help.
13. Early Boarding
Most airlines allow boarding people with small kids first. You can take advantage of early boarding which may give you sufficient time to settle down your kids in their seats and put away the carry-on luggage properly in the overhead cabin space.
14. Keep Your Composure
In case a fellow passenger has an issue let the cabin crew handle the situation. Losing your cool and getting angry won’t help. Also remember as long as people see that you are trying to control your kid they would appreciate your efforts.
15. Consider Your Kid’s Age
Travelling by flight can be overwhelming for small kids. Make sure your kid is old enough to handle travelling. It may entail long waits for security check-ups and immigration lines, possible flight delays. Some kids are not comfortable with the aeroplane toilets. In case it is difficult to avoid travelling try and prepare your kid beforehand in the best possible manner you can.
You can make travelling with kids by flight memorable experiences with a little planning and insight. As your child will get familiar with the nuances of air travel you can undertake frequent trips and make everlasting memories.