Travel tips: How to enjoy flying with children

Some crucial steps to follow when travelling with kids

With the summer holidays approaching and families starting to think about flying home or to a new destination, it is worth remembering some basic steps to make flying more pleasant for you, your children and your fellow flyers.

It can be a daunting task for any parents to keep their children entertained and well rested in confined spaces.

Paolo De Renzis, Head of Middle East, Africa and Central Asia Sales for British Airways, who has been flying with his three children, claims you can travel stress-free if you plan ahead and take a few simple steps to ensure your child is as relaxed, occupied and comfortable as possible.

Here are a few of his suggestions:

# A happy flight starts online before you leave for the airport. Most airlines have comprehensive details of paperwork required for traveling with minors, so you can plan ahead. You can also order children’s meals or strollers online. You can also reserve equipment such as bassinets for infants.

# Families will children often get priority when boarding.

# Understand air-pressure: the pressurisation in passenger aircraft is likely to be your child’s main source of discomfort. During ascent and descent, giving your child food or drink will trigger their swallowing reflex, which will help their ears equalise.

# Always avoid foods that make kids overactive and tetchy. Chewy snacks like dried fruit will help with pressurising their ears while limiting the spikes in blood-sugar that can result in tantrums. While it’s good to keep the child hydrated, don’t overdo it as this can result in nappy-changes and trips to the toilet

# Pack favourite, familiar snacks for the kids, to supplement to meals served on board.

# Keeping the child occupied is obviously crucial if he or she is awake. One tried-and-tested trick is to gift-wrap treasured toys and present them when the child gets bored. It may also be good time to buy some new toys and ration them out during the flight.

This is probably one time to avoid toys like Lego blocks as they can fall in hard-to-reach places.

# Mobile devices can benefit parents and although many families ration children’s use of tablets, a long-haul flight might justify a little leeway. Headphones are useful tools for movies, music, apps and games, but crayons and paper are always favourites.

# Generally, it’s better to not seat kids on the aisle, as they may bump passing trolleys, which have hard edges and hot water.

# Don’t over-pack. You have to carry it all. You’ll need the basics – wipes, nappies, sanitisers and so on – but if your child is small you’ll need to carry him or her as well.

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