• Always try and book directs flights. It may cost more, but when you factor in layover time and how tired the kids will be waiting for connecting flights, it’s a small price to pay. Confirm seating in advance or you may end up sitting separately, which could be a good thing but irresponsible parenting.
• Don’t forget to order kids’ meals in advance and make sure to pack enough formula, baby food and healthy snacks (less sugar and salt) to last the flight and then some.
• Bring practical luggage for both checking in and carry on. It’s not about looking cool anymore but having a hand luggage that you can carry easily while holding a child’s hand or having an infant strapped to you will be infinitely helpful. Plus it should have enough compartments and space to hold everything from wet wipes to your mini first aid kit and everything in between.
• Board last for obvious reasons; mainly that the least time the kids are ensconced in a confined space, the better.
• Be prepared to deal with the effect flying has on young ears. One of the main reasons babies and toddlers cry on planes is due to pressure building up and their inability to ‘pop’ their ears. For babies, breastfeed or put them on the bottle during take- off and landing. As they get older a lollypop or gummy sweet also helps. Don’t be shy to ask for help from airline staff – they always have a trick or two to relieve the pressure.
• Apologise if your kid cries a lot, has a tantrum or runs around. There’s always that one passenger who doesn’t appreciate kids and there’s nothing worse than the parent who doesn’t seem to care that their toddler is kicking the seat or lying on the floor wailing.
August - October 2017