Top 5 Tips for Flying with Kids
“…we’re all going on a summer holiday (but we’re dreading the flight!)…” – Tips for Flying with Kids
Mums and dads – grandparents, godparents or carers – needn’t let a nightmare flight spoil a dream family holiday before it’s even begun. Independent UK airline bmi regional has teamed up with Dr Becky Parry, an expert in play at the University of Leeds, to provide some advice on keeping kids happy in-flight. Follow these five Tips for Flying with Kids and get the family holiday off to a flying start!
- Be prepared
Kids pick up on stress, anxiety and other negative vibes, so the number-one piece of advice from Dr Becky Parry is to be as organised and as stress-free as possible. Leave in good time for the airport and expect to take twice as long to get through to the departure gate with kids.
- Give a pre-flight pep talk
Airports can be daunting places for little ones, with lots of big people pushing past and rushing around. Explain to children in advance what will happen and what is expected of them, such as when they have to put teddies or clothing on security trays and that they have to sit down on the plane, wear their seat belt and turn off electronic games at take-off and landing. Speaking of which, out of courtesy to fellow passengers, tell kids they must turn off the sound or wear earplugs when playing on consoles.
- Choose toys with care
With careful planning, ‘on board’ needn’t mean ‘I’m bored’; but think wisely about which toys to pack. Magnetic games and stickers are good options because the pieces are less likely to get lost. Dr Parry suggests packing several different items, but not getting them all out at the same time, so when children have had enough of playing with one thing, they’re presented with another – new – distraction. Wrapping them up as presents – perhaps in several layers of paper – adds to the fun and wastes a bit more time as the kids unwrap them.
- Have some on-board family time
Tempting though it might be to spend the flight catching up on downloaded TV shows, or gazing out of the window pretending the children belong to someone else, use the time constructively and engage with them. Play guessing games, make up stories or just ask them about what’s going on in their little world. Many parents feel guilty at not devoting enough time to their kids, and a recent survey by top UK attraction Warwick Castle revealed a third wish they had more hours to do fun and educational things with their children. With few distractions at 35,000ft in the air, it’s a good time to start talking more.
- Easy on the sugar
Refreshments can help pass the time on a flight, but planes and hyperactive kids don’t mix, so go easy on the sugar. Save sweets for take off and landing as the swallowing action can help prevent ears hurting. Milk is a good soother for kids of all ages and, for babies and toddlers, a drink of milk in a bottle with a teat is also soothing to ears when the plane is taking off or touching down.
Oh, and one more tip…
Avoid the mad scramble to disembark. Wait for all other passengers to leave, then pick up toys and other items that will undoubtedly have fallen under the seat. Then go off and enjoy the holiday!
(if you’re looking for more tips or for specific advice, I strongly suggest you head over to see Carrie at Flying With A Baby – with 12yrs experience has a long haul flight attendant there’s really nothing she doesn’t know about flying with your family)
There are many reasons bmi regional is perfectly suited for families, including a wide choice of UK and European destinations with handy regional departures that mean it’s not too far to travel to the airport – and the bustle of Heathrow and Gatwick can be avoided. bmi regional is the UK’s most punctual scheduled airline for the ninth consecutive year – a calming thought for those with delay-averse youngsters! Plus, all fares include at-seat in-flight full bar and snack service, 20kg of checked baggage and – where available – 30 minute check-in, so time at the airport is minimised.
Dr Becky Parry said “Most parents worry about flying with children – particularly if they are first-timers or if they have had a bad experience on a previous flight. Many worries can be alleviated by some careful planning and explaining to children what will happen and what is expected; taking a bit of time to plan ahead can make for a much happier and more relaxed flight.”
She added: “Packing a range of carefully selected toys and activities will help to keep youngsters entertained – organised parents who wrap presents up say this adds to the excitement. Don’t forget it’s the start of the family holiday, so use the time wisely to engage with children, too.”
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