21 Jun Tips for Flying with Children
Having flown several times with my five young children (all under five years of age – that’s a story for another blog post) I have had my fair share of tricky juggles while up in the air. Ahead of the school holidays, I thought that I’d share some tips from my own experiences, with the hope of giving you confidence and peace of mind when travelling with young ones.
- If you are flying with an FAA approved car seat, make sure to call your airline ahead of time to confirm that they permit car seats onboard. Better yet, try getting confirmation in writing from their head office, print it out and keep it with your boarding passes. For more information on local airlines and travelling with car seats, read tomorrow’s blog post.
- Arrive very early so that you’re not flustered and rushed – remember that your kids can sense your mood and if you’re feeling anxious, it is likely that they will too! Go through information to confirm your seats and then pass the boarding gates – this is typically where you can begin to experience some difficulties. Come prepared by arriving early, giving yourself enough time, should anything happen at the security gates.
- Be patient and friendly – remember, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. I have noticed that by being polite approachable and by showing understanding towards staff, they are more likely to assist in making my children feel more comfortable and at ease. Arriving at the airport with a combative attitude will likely ruin the trip for yourself and your children.
4.Sit in the aisle so that if you need to make a trip to the onboard bathroom, or grab snacks, bottles and toys from the overhead, you don’t have to worry about climbing and falling into a stranger’s lap several times over.
- Come prepared by bringing your child’s favourite snacks, a good set of headphones and a tablet or iPad with games and movies already installed. Admittedly, I am a feeder but there’s a method to my madness and it’s harder to make a noise when their mouths are full 😉
- If you are travelling with an infant on your lap, try to feed them on take-off and descent. Just as chewing gum helps us, allowing babies to suck on something will prevent their ears from hurting. If feeding isn’t an option because they’ve just fed, popping a dummy in their mouth will also help.
- Stay calm! I know it is easier said than done, but children really do pick up on any sign that you’re stressed or beginning to panic, which makes them act out. On my last flight, my son had a meltdown which culminated in him flinging a bag of chips over the passenger in front of us – it was a less than ideal situation but knowing that getting myself worked up would only make things worse, I chose to apologize, switch his seat and took a deep breath, saving my meltdown for once I had exited the plane.
- Enjoy the trip! You might be nervous or even scared of taking your first trip, but every parent should enjoy the process of flying with their children. Try not get yourself so worked up that you forget to take a step back and appreciate the wonder with which they experience the trip.
While coming prepared certainly helps, kids are unpredictable so take peace in knowing that your child is not the first and will certainly not be the last to have a meltdown on a plane, but if they do… hold your head up high or maybe, look the other way and be secure in the fact that you’re a few thousand feet up and they can’t go anywhere, so you’re pretty safe!