Flying with children can be stressful, but there is a lot you can do to alleviate the chaos and make sure the kids feel at home.
While you should not expect them to be on their best behavior, especially in unfamiliar surroundings, here are some things that can keep them happy and you, sane on a long haul flight.
Teach them how to use the in-flight entertainment system
The in-flight entertainment system is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping kids quiet on long haul flights.
Take the initiative to teach your kids how the in-flight entertainment system works. Older kids are usually able to figure out how to explore the games, music, and movies on offer once they have their headphones plugged in.
If your kids are too young to navigate the system by themselves, help them select and play a movie. That could be your key to two hours of peace.
Pack their favorite toys, books, and snacks
Despite the presence of an in-flight entertainment system, bring along one or two of your kid’s favorite toys and books, just to be safe.
That way, when they have exhausted the list of movies they wanted to watch, they will have something else to entertain them. Flying can also be scary for children, and having something familiar and loved can help them feel calmer.
It’s also a good idea to pack some of their favorite snacks into your carry on bag, just in case they get hungry outside of scheduled mealtimes or refuse to eat the airplane food.
Reserve the aisle and window seat for each parent and child pair
This requires a bit of maneuvering but can help each parent and child pair secure three seats, which will enable the child to lie down.
When reserving your seats at the online check-in, book the window seat and the aisle seat in a row of three.
Unless the flight is full, there is a high chance one seat will remain empty, as travelers are often loath to choose the middle seat. If the flight is full and someone picks the seat in between you, chances are they’d be happy to trade it for one of yours so you and your child can sit together.
Brief your kids on what to expect and what rules to follow before the flight
Kids often misbehave on flights simply because they are uncomfortable and do not know what to expect.
Communicate with your child before the flight so he or she has a better idea of what the experience will be like. You should also put in place rules to be followed, such as keeping seat belts on whenever they’re seated and not kicking the seat in front of them.
Another aspect of flying that often makes kids uncomfortable is the inability to pop their ears during landing. Let them know about this beforehand so they do not get frightened, and teach them how to alleviate the pain by sucking on sweets.
Encourage them to walk up and down the aisles to stretch their legs
Long haul flights are tough for both children and adults to sit out. Keep restlessness and stiff legs at bay by encouraging your child to walk up and down the aisles from time to time and do a bit of stretching.
Sending them on a small walk down the aisle every two hours or so can also break up the monotony of the flight.