Most of us have probably experienced being stuck on an airplane with a young child that just won’t be quiet or quit kicking the back of our seat for the entire duration of the flight. Such misbehavior is very embarrassing for the parents involved (particularly on long haul flights) but due to the fact that there are more family friendly holidays available than ever before, an increasing number of people are choosing to fly with their toddlers in tow. Here is what you need to know about helpful tips for flying with kids.
If you are a planning to catch a plane with your little one in the future, you are probably wondering what you can do to ensure that your own kid/s behave whilst you are up in the air. From my own experiences I can tell you that the following tips for flying with kids will definitely help to make them more comfortable and curb naughtiness…
Tips for Flying with Children
Do Children Need Identification For Flying?
The first thing you are probably wondering as a parent is whether or not children need identification to fly.
The TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling within the United States. They do suggest you contact the airline directly for questions regarding specific ID requirements for travelers under the age of 18.
However, if you are flying with kids out of the country, your child, even baby, will need a passport as identification.
What Do You Need To Fly With Kids?
We covered the identification requirement for children above. The next most pressing question on many parent’s mind is, “Are children allowed to fly with carseats?”
Yes, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a child safety restraint system (CRS) for the duration of your flight. You can find specific on FFA approved options and tips CRS on airplanes at FAA.gov
Do you need anything else to fly with children? Well, if you are are on a long flight, you will want to take baby formula or baby food with you on the airplane.
Baby food is allowed in reasonable quantities in carry-on bags. Bottles of baby formula (or breast milk) for infants or toddlers are permitted in reasonable quantities through the security checkpoint. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings and inform a TSA agent before the x-ray machine.
How To Fly With Children:
Prepare Your Child for the Flight
If your child is flying for the very first time then it is quite likely that they will have absolutely no idea as to what to expect on the plane. Discovering that conditions are cramped and that certain safety rules must be followed as they board the aircraft could frustrate them, particularly if they then learn that they have to remain in that same space for a very long time.
You should sit down with your child a few times before your holiday to discuss what they can expect – little space to move, small windows, safety demonstrations and a “funny feeling in your tummy” during takeoff are just some of the elements that should be mentioned to your son or daughter in advance.
Even if your child has traveled by plane before, be sure to remind them that they are sharing the space with many others and that they should therefore be considerate. Suddenly yelling at them for getting too excitable onboard will upset your child if you have not previously explained to them how they must behave and this could actually spark additional bad behavior. Pre flight conversations to prepare them for what to expect are a big help when flying with kids
Ensure That Your Child is Feeling Well
No parent would be best pleased should they have to cancel a long-awaited holiday as a result of their child being ill but in some circumstances this cannot be helped. Ear infections are one of the most painful ailments for children and the altitude of a plane in flight can worsen this condition and cause great pain (and great howling as a result – trust me; I know!) If your child is close to full recovery, they are likely well enough to fly but be sure to pack any medications or eardrops which alleviate their pain into your hand luggage.
Packing some headache tablets, travel sickness sweets, tissues (for snotty noses) and anything else that they might need during the flight is wise. If you are unsure whether or not your child is healthy enough to fly, you should take them to see a doctor before you make your way to the airport.
Keep Your Child Entertained on the Airplane
Bad behavior when flying with kids is usually caused by boredom and so it is important to ensure that your kids have plenty to keep them occupied during your journey. Travel versions of Battleships or Connect 4 can pass the time but you should ensure that your kids also have plenty to do on their own (being bugged for “another game” constantly will get old very quickly!)
Buying a couple of new toys or activity packs (containing things like crayons, colouring books and/or sticker sheets) specifically for use on the plane can be very beneficial too. Whereas used toys and activity options can be comforting due to familiarity, it is the new, never-seen-before items which will have a better chance of holding your children’s attention (read as; distract them from being naughty). Try to avoid entertainment options which comprise any small pieces that can be dropped on the floor and/or lost.
When flying with kids, be sure to pack a pair of headphones should you wish your child to tune into any of the in-flight films. At an average of 90 minutes each, movies are a great option for helping to time to fly by (no pun intended).
Dress your Child in PJs for Overnight Flights
If you happen to be catching an overnight flight then dressing your children in their pajamas whilst you are waiting at the airport can be most useful. I have found that the familiarity of their Pokémon or SpongeBob Sqaurepants PJs will help them to drift off with ease once their bedtime approaches. Bring a favourite blanket, pillow or soft toy can also help them to settle.
Expecting your kids to get comfortable and fall asleep in their regular clothes suggests that their regular routine no longer applies and the result may be that they inadvertently think that the rules relating how they should behave are also void in the plane environment.
I hope you find these tips for flying with children helpful. What are your favorite holiday travel tips?