If, like me, you don’t have a nanny travelling with you, or a private jet, it’s easy to feel a little anxious about travelling with young children. Parenting is hard enough on the ground, so the thought of being trapped in a confined space 40,000 feet in the air, with hundreds of other people around you, is enough to make you reconsider the idea of travel altogether. That’s where I come in to help.
Below are some tips which, I hope, will make flying with children a little less daunting. These tips are based on my ten years’ experience as an international flight attendant and years of travelling the globe with my young family in tow.
Here are my TOP TEN TIPS for airline travel with young children:
1. Patience and extra time
As a parent you know everything takes longer to do with your kids are in tow. Allow yourself extra time to get to the airport, plus additional time at the airport. Besides the standard airport routine, you’ll need to consider stops for nappy changes, snacks and little legs, without the stress of missing your flight. Most importantly, pack your patience. If you’re calm and relaxed, it will rub off on your child.
Flying is extremely dehydrating so make sure you all drink lots of fluids before, during and after the flight, particularly mums who are still breastfeeding. If your child is having bottles, be prepared and pack extra formula in case you’re delayed or diverted. Throw out the meal schedule and give your baby extra bottles to keep them hydrated. Finally, allow time for the crew to heat bottles on the flight using boiled water as there are no microwaves up there.
3. Look after yourself
It’s like we say on the safety demonstration, fit your oxygen mask first before helping others. If you look after your own needs as well as those of your child, you’re going to have the energy and stamina to be able to care for them throughout the whole journey. I know this is easier said than done, but just remember you’re important too.
4. Getting around
The best thing I did was invest in a second-hand, good quality stroller. It’s lightweight, yet sturdy, so it’s very useful both at the airport and when you reach your destination. Most airports will allow you to take the stroller to the gate so you can keep your child strapped in safely as you move through the airport. Ask the check-in staff to tag the stroller so you can hand it over at the gate. If you’re lucky enough for your child to sleep in the stroller, just remember most airports will require the stroller to go through the security scanner at some point!