Flying with Children
Flying with kids in tow? How to make it easier for everyone
Flying with children can, at first glance, seem like a daunting task. For many children, it’s an entirely new experience and parents may worry about how they’ll react. Other parents may worry about a child being disruptive on a flight, where, unlike at a park or a grocery store, the child cannot be removed to prevent disruption to others. However, with a little bit of preparation, traveling by airplane with kids can be manageable, and even fun.
Bring Your Own Entertainment
Many airlines now provide TV shows, video games, or other entertainment for kids and adults alike through a small TV on the back of the seat in front of you. However, you shouldn’t depend on these devices as the only way to keep your children occupied when flying. There might not be child-appropriate material available, the screen may malfunction, or your kids may just want something else to do. When selecting games, toys, or other forms of entertainment for children to bring on the plane, be sure to think about factors like messiness or time constraints, as well as whether it’s something that can easily be set up on a plane. For example, a traditional board game likely will not be a good choice, since it’s easy for pieces to fall and roll out of reach. However, choosing something like a magnetic chess board with pieces that remain stuck to the board can be a great alternative.
Come Prepared With Snacks
Similarly, it’s a good idea to come prepared with your own food. While most airlines will provide a beverage and some sort of snack, like peanuts or pretzels, access to meals can be unpredictable and it can be difficult to accommodate a child’s picky palate. A hungry child is often a cranky child, so it’s in your best interest to head any chance of trouble off by bringing something they can eat if hunger strikes while you’re in the air. Additionally, having a favorite food available can make flying less of a disorienting experience for children who are not accustomed to traveling by plane. Make sure the food you bring is something that can go through airport security; unless you want to purchase it once you’re past the gate, bringing beverages is likely a no-go.
Look Into Boarding Early
Many airlines offer special preboarding for families, especially those with young children. This is typically offered at no additional cost to the parents. Check ahead to see if this will be an option for your family, as some airlines have age cutoffs for this service. Getting the kids on the plane before all the hustle and bustle of general boarding begins can really cut down on some of the stress of flying; you can avoid jostling with others in the aisle, as well as annoying other passengers if your kids need some help getting into their seats.
A little bit of preparation really goes a long way when it comes to flying with children. With a few minor adjustments to your travel routine, you should be up in the air in no time.