Do you dread at the thought of flying with your kid? Perhaps you haven’t yet recovered from the embarrassment that greeted you owing to your child’s screaming, kicking and tantrums in the recent journey! An American tourist went on and sued Qantas airlines after a three year old screamed in her ear. Imagine, nowadays etiquette minding is that serious! However, if you train your little prince and princess a bit and are yourself prepared well in advance, you are very likely to have a scream free air travel.
Travelling With Kids on a Plane
Remember, the attention span of your lad is short, he is prone to get easily bored and waiting for baggage check in and security checks has already robbed him of his patience. Crammed seats, uncomfortable leg room and a crowd of passengers renders him more cranky. Babies and kids are considered a nuisance in public-confined spaces. Here’s how to avoid the cold stares of fellow passengers:
Packing Checklist When Flying With Kids
- When travelling with kids, let them feel like a ‘big boy’ or a ‘big girl’ – pack their own back pack with their goodies and and toys safe for the flight. Put in some diapers and napkins, a set of clothes, and some wipes. Will give the kid to look forward to being ‘big’ and will space some space in your own luggage
- Now this bag needs to something comfortable, your child may go from being ‘big’ to being a ‘baby’ anytime. The backpack needs to be handled by you in that case
- If you are a nursing mother, ensure that you carry a shawl or a blanket or ask for one
- Always make sure to have an extra bottle and formula in case you lose one if you have an infant
- Pack a small bag with the essentials – some diapers, napkins,medicines, wipes, bottle, formula, plastic bags, some snacks – this will come handy
- Some people feed their kids relaxation medicines – its your call but it is best not to rely on them as they could react
Before Boarding The Flight With Kids
- Insist on using toilet before boarding: Once the flight takes off, it’s going to be a hassle both to you and the co-passenger
- Let your kids take a walk or just roam around: Do not ground them now, as the during the flight they will not be allowed motion
- Warn your kid about aeroplane police: If he misbehaves or makes noise, he will be arrested and isolated in jail, that’ll keep him subdued!
- Seating arrangement: Double check the seating arrangement, take the bassinet (if available) when travelling with a baby
- Window seats: Choose window seat for your kid and you may take the middle one, act as a buffer. You can keep him engaged by showing hills of feathery clouds, setting sun and small houses. In this way, they won’t upset the passing beverage trolley
On Flight With Toddlers
- Keep motion sickness bag handy: You don’t want to face the disaster of your kid throwing up in someone’s lap!
- Use diaper: Wear your kid a diaper even if you feel he is potty trained. Kids can reverse anytime
- Carry interesting books: Story books, colouring books, comics or picture book; pack his choice. You may even surprise him with a new book!
- Keep his seatbelt fastened always: Explain him the dangers of unfastened seatbelt; that he may fall and get hurt.
- Carry ear plugs and candies: Kids are more sensitive to variance in air pressure at higher altitudes. Ear plugs and busy mouth will make him less complaining.
- Coax your child to sleep: Keep hammering your child from a day before that when he gets on the plane, he will feel sleepy and should relax.
- Carry his favourite teddy and blanket: You don’t want him to throw a tantrum crying for his sleep buddies!
- Electronic Devices: Bring on those electronic devices. iPad, SmartPhones, PS3, portable DVD loaded with music, games, audio books, iPod and movies to keep your child busy and not bored. Charge the electronic entertainment items and keep charger handy!
- Carry fragrance free sanitizer: You don’t know which of the fellow passenger may be allergic to the heady fragrance.
- Carry headphones and keep the volume low: Sometimes the in-flight gizmos do not work their best, so just in case
- Feed him well: Keep him well fed and busy with tit-bits
- Medicines:Keep medicines handy as motion sickness, stomach upset and headaches are common
The Don’ts of Travelling By Air With Kids
- let your kid block the aisle by sitting or sprawling on the floor. This is nuisance to both the passengers and flight attendants
- let his body, feet or mouth stink. This is basic civic sense
- allow touching, pushing or grabbing the body, items or chairs of co-passengers
- book flights during peak travel times. Instead opt for Sunday, Tuesday or Wednesdays during the middle of the day or later in the evenings
- let him kick or bang the front seat. Remove his shoes
- let him spread germs. Provide him with a tissue or handkerchief while sneezing or coughing
- let him run on the aisle. Take him at the back of the plane to stretch and play for few minutes and then back to the seat
- let him encroach others privacy. Peeping over the seat of the couple excited about their honeymoon definitely do not consider this action cute!
- let him disturb others by questioning neighbours and poking at their belongings
- let him litter. Instruct him to put trash in the cup and hand it over to you or the flight attendant
- dress him uncomfortably. Tight clothes can make him irritable
- carry sticky and messy food. Unnecessary trouble in cleaning
Tips When Flying With Children
- Set up a flight schedule for your kid: movie time, meal time, sleep time, reading time, iPad game time etc.
- Select child-friendly seats with larger leg rooms, at least inquire the airlines about smoke-free and silent zones
- Instruct your child to appreciate the flight attendant’s service by thanking them while deplaning
- When your kid needs your attention, give him, otherwise you are giving him a reason to misbehave and others to snicker
- Try to board early so that you can tuck the luggage overhead and roll fancy trolleys without driving over others feet
- Remove those bulky coats while moving through the narrow aisle – less trouble for co-passengers
- Check the bathroom and clean any mess created by your kid
- Choose normal flight time i.e. one which coincides with the sleeping time of your child – less grumpy kid!
- Explain him the procedure at airport and the conduct expected in aircraft. He will process information and prepare for anticipated change
Teach your kid to talk softly and politely not just in aircraft but always. Hopefully, with the above tips you are likely to have a pleasant flight with your little one. In case, there is a meltdown, tantrum or crying, take it easy, these are kids after all!