Expert Tips on Flying with Children

No matter the reason: a family holiday or visiting relations abroad over the summer, flying with children is challenging at best. Flying with a baby can be difficult enough but things ramp up once your children can move independently. We have collected some tips, including some from parenting experts, for flying with children, including getting to and through the airport:

1. Flying with children: prepare for success

Before you fly with your children Elaine Halligan, parenting facilitator with The Parent Practice recommends, “talk to your children about the upcoming flight in advance. Use books and toys to talk about what happens when you get on a plane, what to expect”. Make sure you “let them know what they will and will not be able to do while on board. Roleplay with the children on how to talk to the air hostesses and order food. Explain to the children that meals are served when the crew is ready and that you can’t order whenever you are ready (like a restaurant)!”.

2. Plan

Spend a few minutes doing some research on the airport:

  • Which terminal do you fly from?
  • Is there a ‘family lane’ to get through security?
  • Where are the baby changing facilities?
  • What are the food options?
  • Where are the bathrooms?

Top tip: we often remember to research the airport we are travelling from, but don’t forget to check out the airport at your destination so you know what to expect on the return trip.

3. Get ahead

Judy Reith coach, author and founder of parenting, advised, “Try and get ahead with your own packing and lists so you have some gas in your tank to cope with the journey. Delegate as much as possible to your partner or older children. If it’s a holiday - you deserve to enjoy it too!”

Flying with kids can be difficult enough but things ramp up once your children can move independently.

4. Clothes 

Dress simply as everyone must pass through metal detector, stick to tracksuits or comfortable cotton clothes and avoid metal details on clothing.

5. Praise

Judy Reith also recommends, “comment on any behaviour that you want more of, for example “you are waiting quietly with me, well done .”

6. Time

Have lots of it, and we really mean that. Most children, especially young ones don’t know the meaning of hurry so allow time for them to put their own bag on the security belt, have a tantrum in duty free and of course that last minute trip to the toilet!

7. Pack 

Although your children may want to bring their own carry on, limit what they have in their wheelie case or backpack, just in case you end up carrying it! Some suggestions are:

  • A small water bottle
  • Some snacks for the plane
  • Colouring book and colours (or even better a small magic writer with a pen attached to it, so you don’t have to crawl under airplane seats after a lost crayon!)

These are our tips on flying with children. Have you any more secrets to success to share with us?

Don’t forget to protect your family with comprehensive family travel insurance while you are abroad this year.


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