Travelling with Children: tips and tricks for long haul flights
By Simon Duncan on September 22, 2017
Until teleportation becomes viable or you can afford a private jet, air travel with children is no easy feat. Before you book flights, packing, planning and organising can seem exhausting. Then you remember Australia to Europe is at least a two stop, 24 hour affair, or direct to LA is 14.5 hours. In some ways, there is a limit to how you can improve the experience, after all, delays and lost luggage is out of your control. For many other needs, however, being organised ahead of time will make your journey smoother. Read on for some of favourite tips to pass the time smoothly when you have the littlies on board.
One of the main challenges when travelling is keeping a busy little boy or girl occupied when they are used to running around for a lot of the day. Therefore, many people have success with booking flights that will depart in their evening time, so hopefully everyone will get a little rest. Newborns and small babies will ideally be allocated a bassinet seat on the plane, but be warned that during turbulence or anytime the seatbelt sign is on, they will need to be picked up and held while wearing their special infant seatbelt. For this reason, have your baby carrier handy in case of a prolonged period of seatbelt wearing so bub can snuggle against your chest while you have your hands free.
Older children might benefit from a number of inflight products now on the market that convert a standard economy seat into a lie flat bed for them. Fly Legs Up, Jet Kids Bedbox and Kooshy Kids all make products that address this need. The problem is, some airline have recently banned them, while others will welcome their use. So you’ll need to investigate what options are able to be used ahead of time to save being caught out. Another option is to take your car seat on board and anchor it to the seat. It needs to be airline approved (contact the seat manufacturer), but if your child has their own seat on board they’ll be more secure and comfortable in this configuration.
For younger children, the concept of a treat to say, a theme park in Melbourne may not register, taking away the option to incentivise good behaviour during transit. However, having a goody bag of small toys to progressively distract your child is a wise strategy. Pack them in a plastic compartment tool box or wrap them individually. The novelty of opening containers and unwrapping is a good game. Packing snacks should also be high on your list, but keep in mind decent airlines will have snacks on board for any long haul flights. Don’t forget their drink bottle also, however it will need to be empty as you pass through security. Bags within bags will assist you to keep changes of clothes and nappy items organised – some people pack an entire change per Ziploc bag to save space in small airline bathrooms.