Flying with your baby or toddler can be hectic, especially during long flights. Not only do you have to make sure you and your child are comfortable, you have to make sure that everyone else around you is not disturbed by your child. It’s definitely hard work.
If you have small children and are planning to take them on a flight with you soon, here are a few tips that will help you survive a long flight with them.
Booking Seats Around Sleeping Schedules
It’s no surprise that kids get antsy during long flights. When they get antsy, there’s a higher risk they’ll cry or throw a tantrum. Instead of booking flights during the day, why not book your flight so that it synchronizes with their sleeping schedules? For example, if you know that your children usually take naps at 2 p.m., it may be best to book a flight at around that time in order to have them sleep throughout the flight. Overnight flights may also work.
What Should You Pack
If you’re traveling with a child, always be sure to bring toys or activities to keep your child occupied throughout the flight. Also, be sure to bring an ample amount of snacks just in case they get fussy and need a snack during the flight. Blake Zimmerman, veteran travel guru, advises parents to take their kids on a tour of the aircraft as well, which will help keep them stimulated and occupied.
Boarding Your Flight
Most people know the protocol for boarding a plane, women with children and handicapped people first. Boarding early will help you and your child get comfortable in an empty plane and will also allow you to set up any activities or toys you may have brought.
Car Seats vs. Lap
Although children aren’t required to sit in seats, the Federal Aviation Administration recommends buckling young children in secured car seats. Some airlines, like Southwest, allow passengers to use extra seats for their kids free of charge. However, this may not be the case for larger airlines. For flights like these, it’s also acceptable to rest your child on your lap.
In-Flight Potty Breaks
It’s rare to find diaper changing stations in the plane and bathrooms can usually attract quite a line, but many flights allow passengers to change their kids in or out of the bathroom. Be aware that your child may have an accident during the flight, so make sure to bring more than enough wipes and a change of clothes.
It’s no secret that passengers hate sitting next to babies or fussy children. So if indeed they do get fussy, make your effort known to the other passengers so that they can at least lend you their sympathies. Let people know that you’re trying your best to control your child. If you need to, take a walk to the back of the plane, which seems to calm children down and keeps their cries from echoing throughout the plane. If your child is misbehaving, be sure to apologize. Don’t get defensive–that may annoy the other passengers.
Surviving a flight with your young children can be quite a feat, but by considering these suggestions, it’ll make traveling a lot easier.