Five Tips for Flying with Children

Kids on an Airplane
Kids on an Airplane  (Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock)

We’ve all flown with fussing babies, fidgeting kids, and moping teens. Face it, flying with children is stressful. But a little preparation can make flying less stressful. Here are five of our time-tested tips to make air travel with children better for everyone.

1. Select Seats Strategically
The best seats for kids? Those in the plane’s very last row. OK, so this row is near the bathroom and generally the least desirable. But the disadvantages here work to your advantage. This row is often the most available, and it’s convenient for changing babies and toddlers, for letting your kids can stand up occasionally without blocking other passengers, and for containing (sort of) whatever noises your kids make.

2. Stay Charged
Of course your four-year-old may be content to sit and read Dostoevsky, but for real families, playing music, movies, and games on fully charged gadgets is an essential part of air travel. Invest in an additional power source, such as the Kensington Travel Battery Pack, especially for long flights—and big families. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget those low-tech options for when the captain says it’s time to power down.

3. Tease the Kids
No, not literally. We recommend giving your kids only a few activity choices when you first board (trust us, they’ll pick something). Then, about halfway through the flight, offer them some different options. Chances are, their next selection will keep them busy for another stretch of time—especially if it’s something new and shiny that you picked up at the airport.

4. Keep the Family Fed
Kids need to eat. Some kids need to eat, well, constantly. With airlines charging ridiculous prices for food and cutting back on the variety, it’s best to be prepared. Small re-sealable bags of sliced fruits, raw veggies, nuts, granola bars, and the like will all go a long way to keeping your kids adequately fueled and occupied while flying.

5. Make Flying a Learning Experience
Listen, folks: you’re flying with children, so you ain’t takin’ that nap. You might as well turn the flight into a bit of a lesson on air travel and independence. Have your kids organize their own stuff, read the safety card themselves (helpfully illustrated!), buckle their own seatbelts, look at the plane’s specs and route in the in-flight magazine, and figure out the game/TV controller. On the next flight, your kids will do all this by themselves.

Published: 6 Aug 2012 | Last Updated: 20 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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