Book those flights, and take a look at these tips for preparing to fly with children.
Planning your holiday
Plan ahead to reduce stress
When travelling with infants (usually defined as under 24 months, but check the airline you’re flying with), individual carriers each have their own set of rules and charges when it comes to fare prices, and luggage you can check in.
Skyscanner have created a handy guide to these for most airlines, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with these so that you can plan and pack effectively.
Check in online ASAP
With some airlines you’ll get an allocated seat when you purchase your tickets, but this often isn’t the case.
When airlines open up their online check in, make sure you check in straight away to ensure your family can sit together. The closer it gets to your flight date, the more people will have checked in meaning it’s less likely there will be groups of seats together.
If you’re really concerned about this, then it may be worth paying that little bit extra and checking in early for peace of mind that you’re sitting together as a family.
Bag an aisle seat
Speaking of checking in, book an aisle seat if possible. Your child may be begging for a window seat, but if they want to go to the toilet or walk up and down the plane, you’ll feel much less guilty if you’re the one sitting on the aisle seat, as opposed to another passenger.
Build your child’s excitement
Is it your child’s first time on a plane? Talking to them about their holiday, as well as explaining what it’s like being on a plane will help get them excited for their adventure.
Explain that they’ll be flying high up into the sky, and if they sit still and are good, they’ll get to play with their toys; and have an amazing holiday in another country.
Reading children’s books about holidays and catching a plane can also help them to understand more, and build their excitement.
Leading up to your trip, you could even let your little ones help pack their own carry-on bag, filled with some of their favourite toys. Colouring books, crayons and soft toys are a great idea to keep them occupied.
Toys to avoid are anything that makes a noise (just as a courtesy to the other passengers), and anything with small pieces that are liable to fall off (you don’t want to be clambering around on the floor trying to pick up the pieces).
Get time on your side
Airports state you should arrive two hours before your flight, but plan to leave home earlier in case of any unexpected delays.
You may find you arrive at the airport with extra time, but at least it means you won’t be stressing as you get through security. Instead, you’ll have plenty of time to find your gate and unwind in departures; with the whole family looking forward to the flight and holiday ahead!
Pack like a pro
Only pack your essentials on-board
Whilst it can be tempting to pack anything and everything in case of emergency when on-board; packing smartly will stop you from panicking about leaving anything behind.
We would suggest bringing the following on the plane with you:
- Water (purchase this in departures)
- Wet wipes
- Change of clothes (for both your kids and you!)
- Medicine (i.e. Calpol)
- Ear drops (for helping sore ears adjust to altitude change)
Get the right gear
When you’ve got pushchairs to push and hands to hold, carrying a bag and wheeling a case can be quite inconvenient.
Taking a backpack is the easiest option as it means everything you need is all in one place, and you’ve got both hands free to do all the above, and hand over your passports at the departure gate.
In the air
Take food with you
Are you flying with a budget airline? Meals won’t be included with your ticket. Even if you are flying with an airline that serves free meals, your child isn’t guaranteed to like the food on offer. Bring snacks that you know your kids will enjoy so that they can eat when they’re hungry, and you can avoid spending a small fortune on snacks! We all know that a hungry toddler trapped on a plane 30,000 feet in the air is not a good combination!
Pre-order baby milk
Did you know that you can pre-order baby milk from Boots that you can collect in-store at departures?
Avoid the risk of bringing your own and risk having it taken off you in security, and find out which Boots stores offer collection here. Just make sure that you order five days before you fly.
Until you’ve taken your child onto a flight for the first time, you’ve no idea how they’re going to react. They might love it, or they might hate it. The hours of sitting still can be quite boring – it can be quite boring for us adults!
The more they travel, the more used they will be to sitting still on a plane, and you’ll find yourself getting less and less worried.
We hope the tips above will help you have a stress-free and happy flight with your family! Do you have any more tips for help prepping to fly with children? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!