Let’s face it – every parent flying with a young child worries that their little one will throw a colossal tantrum at 30,000 feet. While we can’t always predict how our children will behave, there are a few things that we can do to make flying with kids easier and more fun. Here are our top tips for travelling by plane with a young child.
1. While it’s tempting to bring only the bare minimum, not having enough nappies, wipes, spare clothes or other everyday supplies will make your life harder rather than easier. Make sure you have everything you need in your hand luggage so you don’t end up hunting through bags at the airport.
2. You may not relish the idea of hanging around the airport for hours, but a frantic dash to the check-in desk because you became stuck in traffic is far worse. Make the most of your time in the terminal by staying active and allowing your child the opportunity to explore her exciting new environment. With any luck she’ll be tired out for the flight.
3. Reins can be a great way of helping you to juggle a toddler, suitcases, boarding passes and the dozens of other items you’ll be towing through the airport – and they might help you avoid a tantrum when your child decides he simply must get out of the buggy.
4. Baby food and meals aimed at young children are often available on flights, but if you have a fussy eater, take along something you know your child will like. And don’t forget a few plastic bags to hold any dirty clothes or nappies.
5. Unsure about your airlines rules and services for people travelling with a baby. Skyscanner have put together this handy guide outlining the policies of 40 international airlines, including charges and what you’re allow to bring onto the flight.
6.Off-peak flights are less demanding than those packed with aggravated passengers, and they are usually cheaper, too. Tuesdays to Thursdays outside of the school holidays are often the most peaceful, but a good travel agent will be able to advise you on the best flight times for your chosen destination.
7. Allow your children the opportunity to stretch their legs and look out of the plane at one of the fire exit windows for a few minutes. Tighter security on planes may have seen the end of visits to the cockpit, but a walk around the aircraft can be beneficial, particularly on long-haul flights.
8. Changes in cabin pressure during take-off and landing can cause discomfort in young children’s ears. Have something ready for them suck or chew on at these times. If you have a baby, this would be a good time to give them their feed.
9. Change your baby’s nappy and try to encourage young children to visit the toilet shortly before boarding the plane. Plane toilets are fairly cramped and can be difficult use with children. Remember to keep your nappy changing gear in your hand luggage.
10. Small toys, book, crayons and paper will help to keep your little one occupied during the flight. Take some of their favourites, but bring a couple of new surprises to distract them should they start becoming unsettled. Also, a supply of non-messy snacks can work wonders when tears are imminent.
11. Many people recommend early boarding for young families, but it’s worth considering whether you will really benefit from spending even longer the necessary on the plane. It may be wiser to let your little one continue burning off stream in the lounge before confining them to a small space for several hours.
12. It may seem extravagant, but buying an extra seat for your baby can mean a more comfortable trip for everyone. Most airlines will allow you to use a lightweight car seat on the plane, so consider whether you’d prefer this to holding your baby on your lap for the duration of the flight.
13. Every airline is different and some are more family-friendly than others. When you are travelling with children, a better standard of service and a bit more legroom can be well worth the extra expense. For helpful passenger reviews and service ratings, visit www.airlinequality.com.