Taking a flight with toddlers can be nerve wrecking. The accusing looks from fellow passengers and flight attendants add to the burden. Although everyone hates to be on a flight that has kids on it - people do not admit it. But as soon as they see a kid on the flight- eyes roll up and you can almost hear them say, ‘Oh god, no’. The flight attendants have the same reaction.
Here are some pointers to make your flight more of a fantasy flight then a flight of terror!
1. Everyone hates a kid on the plane. So, as soon as you find your seat, introduce yourself to your fellow passengers and ask for their co-operation.
2. All airlines first board the business class passengers, then moms with kids, followed by seniors. Therefore, do not board first. Yes, if you board first you would be on the flight for 30 minutes before takeoff. That is 30 minutes of extra torture for your kid- avoid it. Instead be the last to board.
3. Always tele check-in and take an aisle seat closer to the toilet. In overseas flights, the first row is always reserved for parents with kids.
4. If your toddler is heavy then pay for the extra seat- you won’t regret it. In fact, kids get crankier when they have to share space with you. Therefore, if budget is not an issue then always buy a seat for your child, unless it is a baby in your arms.
5. For long duration flights, do not take nonstop flights - break up the flight. The kid will appreciate release from the cooped up space and the new airport will keep them interested.
6. Dress the toddler for the flight. Make your toddler wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
7. Stock up on food that your toddler likes.
8. Avoid giving your toddler sugary and salty drinks or snacks as it will increase the activity level.
9. Check in all your baggage. Try not to carry more hand luggage - only what you will require.
10. Spend on a porter, right up to the flight.
11. Cabin pressure during takeoff and landing causes pain in your kid’s ears - make them suck, swallow or chew something.
12. Most kids scream or howl their lungs out, during takeoff and landing. Screaming helps as it relieves the pain. Just support your child by singing a soft tune and holding their hand.
13. Carry ear buds, not only for your baby but for fellow passengers too. I am serious; you need to support your child. So for that purpose, give your fellow passengers the extra noise isolating ear bud, before takeoff and landing - they will be more supportive.
14. Be ready for jet lag- yours and the baby’s. It’s going to be crankiness multiplied by two. Feel sad for the father or whoever you will be spending time with after the flight!
15. Prefer day flights, so that when you land it is night, your toddler is exhausted and sleeps and you can start fresh. The aim is to land at your destination by late evening.
16. Carry favourite toys at least 2- one book, one soft toy. Take walk up’s and down the airplane with your toddler.
17. Please do not use video games as baby sitters and do not allow your toddler to run around on the flight.
Travelling with babies and toddlers is never easy. However, with the above pointers you will at least feel more in command and confident. So, have a safe and toddler friendly flight, this summer vacation.