Flying with kids – 10 tips to make the trip easier!

There is hardly a greater triumph as a parent than walking off a plane with a perfectly calm and happy child. It may seem impossible, but with these tips you’ve got every chance of having an enjoyable flight experience with your kids.

1. Book ahead

Let the airline know you’ll be travelling with a baby and remember to bring proof of their age. If they’re under two, they fly for free (though some budget airlines will charge for a baby that stays on your lap). If they’re slightly older, it depends on who you fly with. It always pays to check first.

2. Rest up

If you have an early morning flight, make sure your kids go to sleep early the night before. An under-rested child is far more likely to have an upsetting flying experience. If your kids have a certain nap time, try scheduling shorter domestic flights for those times.

3. Keep calm and...

Avoid Aviophobia, or a fear of flying, which can affect anyone but children are especially susceptible. Adults might be able to take medication to address their symptoms but children require more careful treatment. Some airlines may allow children to visit the cockpit before take-off, which can help the child adopt a rational approach to flying.

4. Plan ahead

Wet wipes, snacks, toys, offline games, sticker books, headphones, new toys to deploy over the trip – you know your child better than anyone and understand what they need to prepare for a safe, quiet flight. The difference between having something and not having it can be incredibly frustrating so it’s best to over prepare in cases of flights. Assume you won’t have personal inflight entertainment and you will definitely need more wet wipes and ziplock bags.

5. Fly non-stop

Getting on and off a plane, wrangling baggage and connections and children is best kept to a minimum. If non-stop flights are possible, opt for those.

6. Sit in the back of the plane

Being closer to bathrooms, to flight attendants and away from other passengers is a smart option when travelling with baby. The same goes for aisle seats – it’s far easier to negotiate a trip to the bathroom without navigating past sleeping passengers.

7. Check the pram

Qantas and Virgin both allow prams and strollers to be checked for free, which means you can stroll your child straight to the gate and collect the stroller at the aircraft door at your destination. Those same airlines will let you check car seats for free, too.

8. Make the most of the airport

Parents’ rooms are worth visiting before you board, just to freshen up and change the baby if necessary. Others will have a children’s play area that can help tire them out before they board.

9. Talk to your kids

Chat with your child. It may sound like an exhausting prospect on top of everything else, but it can be the most effective way of having a quiet trip. Explain things to them, introduce them to the wonder of travel. Watch for signs they’re bored or over-stimulated and take advantage of the chance for some quality time.

10. Write notes for fellow passengers

Some parents have handed out notes or goodie bags containing sweets and ear plugs, apologising in advance for any noise or trouble. If you have the time and inclination, this could go a long way to having a trouble-free trip, and earn you some new friends.

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