Travel tips

Long-Haul Flights with Children

Last updated 6th June 2017

Editor of Nicola Burke splits her family life between Asia and UK, here she shares her wisdom on long-haul flights with children.


If all else fails, snacks are the answer. I promise this will buy you at least five minutes of quiet. Pack raisins, dried fruit, crackers and cereal bars.


Bring lots of activities, especially if there isn’t an inflight entertainment system. For young kids, cheap toys like stacking cups, a pack of straws and window stickers are good. For older kids, take colouring/activity books and load up your iPhone/iPad with educational games and their favourite videos.


Let the kids know not to run up and down the plane. As soon as they get that taste of freedom you’ll spend the rest of the flight playing cat and mouse among the aisles!


Consult a packing list to make sure you don’t forget anything. And always pack more nappies than you think you need. My top tip is to bring a black pashmina, as even if you depart late at night, the lights are often kept on for the first few hours. Drape the pashmina over the bassinet or baby carrier to create travel blackout in the cabin.


If flying with a baby, try to reserve a bassinet seat. Each airline has its own rules on how to reserve it but having a place where you can lay your baby to sleep on a long flight is invaluable. I also recommend bringing a baby carrier in your hand luggage. At some point in the journey (check in or gate), you will have to hand in your buggy. A baby carrier makes life easier for you and also leaves your hands free for luggage.


Try to pick a flying time that will suit you. I prefer overnight flights as (fingers crossed) my kids will be asleep for part of it.

Don’t let long haul travel put you off booking an amazing holiday. Your kids might surprise you with how well they behave or you might just have the predictable nightmare flight with a screaming baby. You just can’t predict it… so here are my top tips: