10 Tips for Flying with Children

There may be trouble ahead... Flying with children needs a bit of preparation. Airlines allow flying with children from when they are just a few days old. In fact, the only real restriction is likely to be the amount of time it takes to get a passport for them if you're travelling abroad. I've known people get one in less than two weeks using a photo taken on the day of their birth. This lasts for five years so is obviously not a good likeness after a while but the customs officials don't seem to mind.

However old, travelling with one or more small children could potentially be a nightmare both for parents and other passengers. Here are a few tips which may make the flight easier:

  1. Try to sit as far towards the front as possible. Not only is it slightly quieter in front of the engines, but you may have no-one sitting in front of you to annoy.
  2. Even if you do have people in front of you, as much as possible try to sit near to people with children the same age as yours. They could make nice little playmates and their parents are more likely to understand if you become noisy.
  3. I personally think a window seat is best for children. Even before take off there are fascinating baggage handlers and re-fuelling trucks to look at as well as a window blind to play with. There's also little danger of them escaping as there is with an aisle seat.
  4. Have lots of books and toys ready for the flight. Some people recommend wrapping them first to kill a few more valuable seconds in the plane. Whichever, we've found that bringing out a favourite book or new toy, however small, every ten minutes or so is effective in keeping boredom at bay. The only disadvantage is that if they are playing up, you could be rewarding bad behaviour and making things worse.
  5. Try to book flights that fit in with your feeding and sleeping schedules but bear in mind that they may fall asleep in the car on the way to the airport and so won't be tired on the plane.
Depending on the airline, there may also be a free pack for children.
  1. If you can, book a flight that's not likely to be full. You may get an empty seat next to you or even a free row.
  2. Meals are great time-killers, especially during take off or landing when swallowing helps to ease earache caused by the change in air pressure. Water is also good for adults and children to minimise jet lag when crossing time zones.
  3. It goes without saying - flying with baby wipes, spare nappies and a change of clothes is essential!
  4. Ask the stewardesses for help. We've always found them keen to help and happy to chat to little boys and girls. Depending on the airline, there may also be a free pack for children or even a short "baby-sitting" service.
  5. Make sure you state the exact age of your child when booking flights. You're classed as flying with an infant if your child is under two years old and they are expected to sit on an adult's knee. On long-haul flights, if your baby weighs 10kg or less you should be placed facing a wall (e.g. where the large video screen is) and supplied with a basinette. This is a simple crib that attaches to the wall in front of you and makes sleeping much more pleasant for you and your baby.

Comments (now closed)

Great information
17 January 2007