If the thought of flying with your children makes you shudder, take heart. Careful preparation is necessary. However, with some good advance planning, it’s possible for you, your children, and your fellow passengers to have a smooth flight.
Planning your trip
When planning and booking your trip, choose a flight that works best with your children’s schedule. Flights during mealtime can be a good option, as serving and eating food can help keep little ones engaged for quite a while. Flights that occur during a typical naptime may also be a good choice. Look for a direct flight whenever possible, as deplaning and reboarding can be a major headache when you’re laden with strollers, diaper bags, and other paraphernalia. When booking your tickets, be sure to ask about and request any special equipment or arrangements that the airline has for children, such as bulkhead seating with fold-down bassinets for babies to sleep in.
When traveling with children, it’s best to arrive for your flight well in advance. This will allow you plenty of time to check or deal with any special baggage, such as car seats or strollers. It’s also a great opportunity for your children to burn off steam before getting on the plane. More airports today offer play areas for children, so seek those out if possible. If not, a long walk around the airport can be just as effective in tiring out your little ones before the flight.
On the plane
Advance preparation is key to helping your children to have a successful flight. Bring a variety of small snacks, plus whatever utensils are needed to eat them, as the airlines won’t usually be able to provide these. A good supply of toys and games is also essential. In order to figure out how many you need, a good rule of thumb is to plan on one new item or activity for every half-hour or so of the flight. Finally, don’t forget the wipes, which are handy for tray tables and armrests, as well as sticky fingers and faces.