My wife and I have just come back from our first holiday aboard with our lovely toddler Izzy. She was just under two when she flew with us meaning that we only had to pay a small surcharge for her, but the consequence was that she had to share a seat with her mummy.
Leading up to the flight I became increasing nervous about the possible events that could unfold on a three hour flight across Europe. I am going to share with you several tips that helped my wife and I get through the journey with relative ease.
- Explain in detail what’s going to happen throughout the process of flying, including checking in, passport control, waiting around and finally the take-off and landing. It’s also worth explaining the noise and the speed at take off.
- When checking in ask if the plane is full – if it’s not ask if you can have a row of three seats to yourself, so that the child can spread out across one (particularly if it’s a night flight). It makes mummy’s life more comfortable.
- Small children have a habit of kicking the seat in front, so it helps to take the child’s shoes off while flying so that this is less of a worry for you.
- Let the people surrounding you know in advance that they might encounter some noise from your child from time to time during the flight.
- Get some special, unseen toys for the plane – activities such as Aquadoodle colouring in and stickers worked well for us as no mess involved!
- Some little chewy treats help too, such as Haribos!
- Get the child to drink fluids on the way up and way down to help deal with air pressure on the ears. If they’re still drinking from a bottle a newborn teat is a good idea, as it helps them to drink more slowly. We’ve been told that child Olbos Oil can also help if your child suffers with ear pains, but we found it a bit too smelly to use!
- Don’t be nervous. If the child sees you’re nervous flying it will rub off on them!
- Let the child stretch their legs during the flight. Walk with them up and down the aisle, and you’ll probably find that they get loads of attention from passengers – which helps relax the parent as well as the child.
- If you’re taking a pushchair up to the plane with you, find out in advance if it will be offloaded with the baggage or placed at the bottom of the plane steps when you arrive.
- Don’t rush to get off the plane first – my advice is to hang back and take it easy; it’s a holiday after all!
What tips would you advise to help children and parents get through flights and airports with as little stress as possible?
Andy Merchant is happily married to Wendy and lives in Bournemouth. He works in both PR and as an “Independent Social Media Consultant” – you can follow him on Twitter or read his blog “Social Digital Space” to find out all about him