Fool-proof tips for fly­ing with young­sters

Daily News - - ASK GEORGIE - RAVNEET AH­LUWALIA

EX­CITED about hit­ting the beach with your lit­tle ones but dread­ing the flight? You are not alone, says blog­ger Kelly Eroglu, 41, mother of two. Eroglu has worked as cabin crew for a ma­jor air­line for more than 20 years and has ex­pe­ri­enced every type of child-re­lated sky drama.

Whether you’re trav­el­ling for the first time with a new­born or con­trol­ling your rab­ble has sim­ply be­come un­bear­able,

Eroglu has some tips for you. Here’s her (al­most) fool­proof guide to fly­ing with chil­dren.

● CHILLED PAR­ENTS, CHILLED KIDS

“I’ve seen so many peo­ple on planes stressed to the nines. It’s the start of the hol­i­day and you’re stuck in a me­tal tube with the kids, you can’t do any­thing with them and then for the whole hol­i­day, you’re dread­ing the flight back.

If you’re a chilled par­ent, though, the kids can read you and they’re so much bet­ter be­haved.

“Other trav­ellers can be a night­mare if your kids start act­ing up. I al­ways say to pas­sen­gers with chil­dren, as soon as they get on – if your child screams or cries, you are never go­ing to see th­ese peo­ple again, so do not worry.”

● PLAN AHEAD

“I had some pas­sen­gers com­ing back from LA to Lon­don who had noth­ing for the kids – no nap­pies, baby milk, noth­ing. Luck­ily, we carry spare nap­pies and had a sa­chet of baby milk, but I think peo­ple be­lieve we have a ware­house at the back of the plane! We don’t. Stock up on what you think you will need.

● NO ONE LIKES AIR­LINE FOOD

“Many par­ents have this il­lu­sion that if they have fussy eaters on the ground, as soon as they get into the air, the chil­dren are go­ing to eat ev­ery­thing. Ob­vi­ously that’s not the case – and if you have kids who are su­per-ex­cited, who can see their par­ents are stressed and who are hun­gry, they play up even more.

“Pre­pare by pre­order­ing the chil­dren’s meals and also take your own meals and snacks. Make snacks like sausage rolls, which keep well on a longer jour­ney. Crew mem­bers will heat up baby bot­tles for you in a jug of hot wa­ter if you ask.”

● BEFRIEND CABIN CREW

“It’s great if par­ents come and tell us they are ner­vous, be­cause we then know to re­as­sure them. Of­ten, if there are ex­tra crew mem­bers, we can sit with them dur­ing take­off and land­ing to of­fer an ex­tra pair of hands.

“If you’re a par­ent trav­el­ling alone with your baby and you want to go to the toi­let, please ask your crew mem­ber if they will hold the baby for you. Ask for help. “If your child is dis­tressed, I tell par­ents to come into the gal­ley with the baby or ad­vise them to take a walk around the plane. It’s re­ally dif­fi­cult when fel­low pas­sen­gers com­plain be­cause I can see both sides, but I do say to pas­sen­gers who com­plain that there’s lit­er­ally noth­ing we can do. Cabin crew will move com­plain­ers if pos­si­ble.

● HAVE TAC­TICS TO COM­BAT BORE­DOM

“When you’re with kids, you need to plan en­ter­tain­ment. Firstly, al­ways ask for a win­dow seat, as it’s an amaz­ing dis­trac­tion for chil­dren to be able to look out.

“Come pre­pared with colour­ing books, pen­cils, crayons and craft packs. If you are on a long jour­ney, pack iPads and tablets. Make sure you have a USB ca­ble. A lot of air­craft have ports, so you can keep charg­ing.

“Get the kids to draw a pic­ture of the pilot and ask the crew to hand it over at the end of the flight. It’s good for chil­dren to have a goal.

“In-flight en­ter­tain­ment is great for kids but if you’ve for­got­ten to pack child-size head­phones, don’t worry. Rolling up a pair of socks and plac­ing them be­tween the head and the head­phone band keeps them in place.”

● DON’T LET TIME ZONES CATCH YOU OUT

“I think it’s great to let kids run around be­fore the flight to tire them out so they sleep on the plane, but keep time zones in con­sid­er­a­tion!

“I re­ally messed up once on a trip to Hong Kong, when I took my chil­dren to Dis­ney World. They slept on the flight, but at 2am were wide awake and bounc­ing off the walls. I took them out to the only two places that were open – a 24-hour su­per­mar­ket and a 24-hour Mc­Don­ald’s. The next day at the theme park, they were to­tally ex­hausted and fall­ing asleep like zom­bies.

“You see par­ents do­ing air punches when their child has slept for the whole flight but I al­ways think, oh my good­ness, you have no idea what’s com­ing in the next few days.”

● PRE­PARE FOR LAND­ING

“When the plane is com­ing in to land, air pres­sure changes and it can play havoc with chil­dren’s tiny ear canals and is re­ally painful for them. Par­ents should see if they can hold off on a baby’s bot­tle un­til they start the des­cent. When the baby is suck­ing, it can help re­lieve pres­sure. For tod­dlers and older chil­dren, suck­ing on sweets or lol­lipops helps.”– The In­de­pen­dent

PIC­TURE: PIXABAY

When you’re trav­el­ling with chil­dren, plan en­ter­tain­ment.

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