Our top tips for surviving long and short flights with kids in tow and keeping them entertained throughout without disturbing other passengers.
Before you fly
Book flights near bedtime to minimize disruptions to routines. An overnight flight might seem like an odd choice, but if your child sleeps for the bulk of it, it’s worth it.
Book a bulkhead seat. If travelling with babies, this provides you with the ability to add a baby bassinet (otherwise your baby has to stay on your knee the entire flight).
Think about your seating. Sitting little ones by a window gives them something to look out of, and somewhere solid to lean a pillow against when they’re trying to sleep. If, however, you’re likely to be doing regular visits to the toilet, an aisle seat is obviously less disruptive to the other passengers.
Wear out children prior to boarding. If you can, have them do something physical just before getting to the airport. This will help tire them out so they are less antsy on the plane and, with any luck, will fall asleep quickly.
During the flight
Take lots of snacks with you. Having lots of your children’s favorite food eliminates any upset caused by picky eaters or airline food they may not like. Don’t forget sweets for ear popping during take-off and landing. .
Don’t rely on the airlines’ in-flight entertainment. The majority of airlines don’t switch on the systems until the aircraft is at cruising altitude and switch it off before descent – that leaves a lot of entertainment-free time, which can be filled by reading, quiz books or coloring.
Pack an inflight i-nanny (iPad). It is worth its weight in gold during long flights especially: a book, music and video player, gaming device, quiz master and much more all in one device.
Have a few surprises, which can be pulled out as needed – new toys or books which can offer a degree of distraction from the boredom of sitting in the same place for hours on end. Avoid toys with small parts or that need a battery – these will have to be turned of during take off and landing.