Flying With Kids – Survival Tips
We have all seen it – a family with two kids sitting a few rows ahead of us on a flight. Both kids are screaming, the floor is encrusted with smashed cookies and a layer of wet wipes and the oldest just ran past you wearing only a pair of socks. This can happen to the most prepared family, but follow this survival guide for your best chances of staying off the KLM blacklist.
1. Be prepared
2. It is never as bad as it feels
3. Do it again
Remember that time you failed a chemistry quiz? You failed because you were not prepared. Be prepared for a flight with kids and you will find that it comes easily.
Use our “Three F’s” concept: Facts, Fun and Food.
Know your Facts.
Have a plan. Know how long your flight is going to be, what state your kids will be in before the flight, what they will want to do after the flight and in general have a plan.
Bring the Fun with you.
Do not expect the in-flight magazine to keep your kids happy for three hours. Pack low-weight activities that have high time yields for your kids. Better, pack activities that are disposable like coloring books that you can recycle when finished. When we are on a longer trip, we bring very few toys but pick up a box of goodies at a thrift shop upon arrival.
Bring Food for the flight.
A hungry kid is a cranky kid. Bring more food than you think you will need, even if you expect an in-flight meal. Water falls into the category of Food in the “Three F’s” concept. Bring your empty water bottle to the airport and fill it prior to your flight. Dehydrated kids are also cranky kids.
It is never as bad as it feels
We have had a few bad flights despite being really well prepared. But no matter how loud you think your kids are, the drone of the high-bypass turbofans drowns out any screamer within a few rows of seats. Airlines service aircraft between flights (at most airports) so those crackers mashed into the carpet will get cleaned up. Changing a diaper in an airline lavatory seems like the worst experience on the planet, but I will take that over driving 12 hours in a car.
Do it again
The key, the best tip we can give is to do it again. If a flight goes horribly wrong (diaper blow-out, lost luggage, sick kid and more) remember that it was probably a bad day. The only way you will get better at flying with kids is to fly with kids. You will pick up some amazing skills along the way. Sit next to parents in the terminal and ask them what they are using or what they brought. Share your experiences and you will find that flying with kids feels like an exclusive club. It is a challenge well worth the forethought and trouble.
Give these tips a try and tell us about both your horror stories and success stories!
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