Taking that first flight with your child can be great fun but it can also be a time of worry and dread on your part. Don’t worry, you are not the first family to take to the air and the crew will be well used to dealing with families with babies and young children. Remember also that most of your fellow passengers will be sympathetic and will only be concerned for your little one’s comfort.
TOP TIPS FOR FLYING WITH CHILDREN
BEFORE THE FLIGHT
•Pack wisely and for all events
•Bring plenty of small snacks, drinks and some treats for emergencies
•Pack one or even two changes of clothes for baby and for yourself
•Don’t forget you child’s comforter, blankie or soother
•A bag of their favourite toys and books
•Colouring and puzzle books are great for older children
BOOKING THE FLIGHT
•Ask if the airline provide any extras for children – travel packs etc.
•If going on a long flight, try to book a bulkhead seat – these seats are available on the bigger planes and are at the head of an aisle so you will have a little extra room in front
•Some airlines also carry special cots that can be assembled and fit into this space
•Ask if you can pre-book allocated seats. At boarding this means you can wait and board the plane last giving your little one more time to run around at the boarding gate.
ON THE DAY
•Be sure to wear comfortable clothing. Even though it may be very warm on the ground, sometimes the temperature on planes can feel a bit chilly so be sure to bring warm clothes for you and your child
•Change your child’s nappy just before you board the plane
•Be sure to give your child something to suck on at take off and landing – this will help to stop their ears popping
•Only produce the toys and books you have packed one at a time
•Save the best sweets or your child’s favourite toys for moments of high tension when a major distraction is needed
•Make sure your child drinks plenty throughout the flight as dehydration makes for a cranky child
•If there are two adults travelling, ask if you can be served your meal separately to allow you to take turns minding your child while you each get a chance to eat
•Walking the aisle is a great distraction but try to put off doing it for the first while as you could spend the whole flight running up and down chasing your child. The chances are that the flight will not be the nightmare you are dreading. Often, even children who do not sleep very well will sleep throughout a flight – this is probably because of the constant drone of the engines. The plane itself will be a great distraction as the different activities and people may well entertain your child during the flight.
If your child becomes upset or distressed during the flight, try to stay calm. The chances are there will be other parents in the same position as you and in general, people are very understanding about it.