I get asked quite frequently for tips on flying with young children. I don’t profess to be an expert, we haven’t done any super long haul flights (think Aus to Europe), but we have conquered many short – mid haul flights with kids in tow. The important thing to remember is no two flights will be the same, no two kids are the same, and at the end of the day, even if the flight is a total nightmare, you are able to enjoy exploring the world with your family – something that I personally don’t think should be avoided simply because flying with kids can be difficult.
- My main tip is try and choose flight times that coincide with their sleeping times. Obviously this isn’t always possible, but I definitely plan our trips with this in mind. We were lucky enough that during our recent trip to the Cook Islands with Jetstar Australia we had afternoon/evening/middle of the night, flights. Nylah was basically awake for no more than an hour on each of the 4 legs. Kruize also fell asleep during two of our flights. Both at the same time = WINNING! Unfortunately on our upcoming trip to Bali, I can’t put this tip to work – as we have early morning and midday flights – so hopefully the below tips even help us out lol.
- Another tip when flying with kids is to be prepared – with both entertainment and snacks. I loaded Kruizey’s iPad up with Netflix shows and plenty of new games – which kept him entertained most of the time. (Did you know that you can download shows on both Youtube Red and Netflix – that wont require an internet connection to watch later on? – so handy!!) I also ordered the Jetstar Australia Kids pack – which is filled with a variety of little snacks and an activity book that is perfect to keep kids occupied for a while.
- I know when you’re in public, most parents try and keep their children ‘on a short leash’ so to speak (some literally, others not). I’m the type that generally *tries* to keep the kids in line when we are out and about – mainly for the convenience of others – no one likes kids running under their feet, screaming their lungs out in the shopping aisles etc. But basically, when we are at an airport and have proceeded past customs, it is a ‘controlled’ free for all. I allow the kids to expel their energy, explore the terminal, touch the drinks machines, sit on the massage chairs, race up and down the aisles – basically whatever they want (within reason). I’m sure its totally frowned upon by the childless grey nomads, but.. they’ll thank me later during their peaceful flight. Let the kids tire themselves out, because seriously, can you imaging keeping them basically contained and sitting quietly whist waiting to board a plane (remember you’re at the airport 3 hours before flights generally), and THEN expect them to do the same the entire flight? I’d much rather them make a fuss in the airport, then screaming and run up and down the aisles on the plane for 9 hours straight!
- Equipment – if there is anything that can help make navigating the airport and getting on board as stress free as possible – then its a worthy investment to me. For me, this includes our Ergo Baby Carrier & GB Pockit stroller. Both of these items have saved my back so many times.
- Now lets talk aisles, use them if you must! If you can feel that your child is getting frustrated by having to stay seated – take them for a walk, let them visit the flight attendants down in the galley, you might even find some other families on there that are doing exactly the same thing! You need to really not care for the opinions of others. No one likes a screaming baby, including you. But it is bound to happen from time to time, you’re obviously not making your child do it on purpose to annoy everyone around you, so don’t feel guilty! Do whatever you need to do to make the time pass as painlessly as possible. If that means giving your little one your phone to play with, do it. If that means a lollipop, do it. (I know some people say don’t give the children sugar because it will send them hyper, but you will know how they react to sugar, and if it will only make things worse then you’re not stupid hey?) If it means palming them off to dad and you taking that first class upgrade – then damn mumma, do it!! Haha. But honestly, remember it may feel like THE LONGEST FLIGHT ever, but it will be nothing but a (painful) memory once it’s over and you’re in paradise ;).
Thanks to Jetstar Australia for collaborating with us on this article :). If you are looking for a family friendly budget airline to get you to paradise – then check them out. They travel to many amazing destinations, quite frequently have brilliant sales & their staff were incredibly patient with us on our recent trip to Rarotonga.