Have you noticed how when you board a plane with small children in tow, everyone suddenly flinches and they only relax when you pass them by, at least one row away? Well, we discovered why – no one wants to sit next to, behind, or in front of kids!
As cute and adorable as these little ones are, apparently no one fancies the idea of being trapped with them on an aeroplane!
Truth be told, kids can be pretty nagging and nasty at times, especially when they are confined for a long time in a small space full of boring adults! For you, flying mothers who find themselves in this situation, have no fear. These 5 tips will help reduce the burden on you and other passengers.
1. Try Flying Non-stop, or Plan for Longer Layovers
In most cases non-stop flights are often preferable when you are travelling with kids because they only experience one gruelling take-off and landing. The pressure changes during these two events can be quite uncomfortable for kids.
A non-stop flight also saves flying mothers the hustle of coordinating kids between connecting flights. There might however be instances when you may need to consider a flight with a layover, especially for long international flights, to afford your babies some time to unwind. In such a case, plan to schedule your bookings in such a way that the layovers are at least an hour long.
2. Carry Photo IDs for your Kids
If you have photo IDs for your children, make sure they wear them. This can help identify them easily in case they slip away from you, particularly at airports. If you do not remember anything else here, remember this.
3. Travel During Off-peak Times
If you cannot get a direct flight, try as much as possible to book at non-peak times (late at night, at mid-afternoon and early in the week) when flights are emptier. This gives you a chance at a free seat for your child to stretch out and sleep.
Try to arrive early – preferably within the stipulated time so you can easily check in. Late check-ins can become a nightmare running around by yourself as you try to figure out where the relevant checkpoints and exits are. We cannot imagine flying mothers with kids in tow trying to do the same.
4. Pack Extra Food for the Kids
Make prior arrangements with the airline if booking directly or through your agent for special meals for your kids if they are picky with what they eat or they have dietary restrictions. Preferably pack some food or snacks that they like – do this even if the airline offers meals – it is a good practice.
5. Choose a Children-friendly Airline
Yes, there is such a thing! Do your research to find out which airlines are children-friendly. You might want to find out things such as the minimum age allowed for a kid to fly (most allow up to 7-day olds). Kids younger than that may require to be accompanied by a doctor’s approval letter.
Find out if the airline offers any discounted seats for children. Most airlines allow lap babies (kids under 2 years of age) to fly for free. See if you can be allowed to bring your child’s car seat on board as well.
We have provided a basic list of some of the best children-friendly airlines known out there but we still urge you to do your homework as their services keep changing.
British Airways has a ‘Feed Kids First’ policy where the little ones receive meals complete with fruits and vegetables before the adults. Besides allowing kids under 2 years to fly for free, they also give them a free seat, as long as you bring a Britax car seat and call in advance to make this arrangement. Britax is a market leader in car seat safety technology and has been in this business for more than 7 decades.
Emirates has a great kid programme as well. During check-in, parents are provided with Emirates strollers to wheel their toddlers through the airport. For those flying business or first class, special play areas in the airport lounges are provided.
Once you are on board, ICE, Emirates in-flight entertainment system, offers hundreds of channels including Disney classics, audio stories and interactive games where kids can be able to play against other kids on the flight. They even have a frequent flyer programme for kids aged 2-16 years. Imagine starting to accumulate miles that young!
Gulf Air has taken the game to another level by providing an onboard nanny through its Sky Nanny program. The nanny is available to assist mothers flying with their kids with things such as setting up a bassinet and playing games with the children.
They can even watch over your kids as you catch your favourite movie or enjoy your meal. In case you forgot something for the baby, they will provide complimentary diapers, colouring books, baby food and whatever you may need on board. How is that for a children-friendly airline?
We hope all you mums out there will have fun with the babies with these flying tips. By the way, did you know you can now book your flights directly through us? Follow this link and let us know how your trip with the kids went and if you have some more flying tips, do share!