10 Tips for Flying with Children

If you decide to fly on holiday the thought of the children being couped up on a plane for even a few hours can bring anxiety to the parents. You worry about their behaviour and the affect on you and the other passengers on the plane. The best thing to do is be as prepared as possible so here are my top tips.

1. Prepare Your Luggage Well

Prams and pushchairs can go in the hold with your main luggage and are not counted in your luggage allowance. You can take the pram/pushchair through to the steps of the plane and it will be put in the hold from there. Make sure you have a bag or a strap to hold it all together/protect it. Make sure you have everything you need in your hand luggage before going to the airport - you don't want to be swapping items between bags at the check-in desk.

2. Arrive Early

Arriving at the airport in good time will help you and your family to be more relaxed. Un-packing the car and running throught the ternminal with luggage and children because you are late for check-in is not a good way to start your trip. Arriving and checking in early will also give you a better chance of all sitting together on the plane.

3. Book Your Seats in Advance

Try and see if you can book your seats in advance. If on a long-haul flight and travelling with a baby you should be able to request a basinet. This should ensure you receive the bulk head seats (more legroom) as this is where the basinets are placed for your baby to sleep.

4. Take Something to Suck for Take-Off and Landing

The pressure change in the cabin on take-off and landing can hurt young children's ears. Have some sweets for them to suck/chew on and if you have a baby try and feed them their milk at this time.

5. Visit the Loos Before Embarking

Try and get your young children to visit the toilet just before getting onto the plane and try and change your baby's nappy at the same time. Plane toilets are very small and can be a difficult place to squeeze you and a child. Remember to take your nappy changing equipment in your hand luggage.

6. Take Plenty of Water

Take plenty of fluid with you and don't feel shy to ask the air stewards for more for your children. Flying can make you feel very de-hydrated.

7. Take Plenty of Snacks

Snacking a young child can be a good way to keep them firmly in their seat and pass the time.

8. Take Books and Toys

Books, toys, pencils and paper can help to keep your young ones amused on the flight. It really is a matter of how much you can fit into your hand luggage.

9. Talk to Your Fellow Passengers

If you are nervous about flying with your children then tell the passengers next to you. Say "I am sorry if the children become a little restless". Do this before the flight starts, if your fellow passengers can see you are making an effort to keep your children happy and amused then they will have more sympathy with you if/when they start to play-up.

10. Walk Around the Plane When You Can

If the plane is big enough then allow your children to stretch their legs and look out of the plane at one of the fire exit windows for a few minutes. I think the days of visiting the pilot in the cockpit are gone but a walk around the plane (especially on a long-haul flight) is not a problem.

Other Facts About Flying

Children under 2 normally fly for free or for a small nominal fee. They are not allocated a seat so must fly on your lap and they are not allocated a luggage allowance.

Children from 2 to 11 (may vary with airline) are normally charged a % of the adult fare although they will have their own seat. You will also be allocated a % of the normal adult luggage allowance. If they are charged at full price then they will be allowed a full luggage allowance.

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