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How to Fly with Children
Preparing A Child For Flying
When planning a trip with children that includes flying in an airplane you need to prepare your child for the experience. If you say nothing about it and they board the plane and realize after they are seated that they are inside a metal machine that is lifting off from the ground and flying through the sky they may panic. With babies and toddlers you won't get this reaction, but with older children you could. It is best to explain the trip, let them know how many times you have flown. Associate as many pleasant experiences you have had flying with the idea. This will hopefully make them look forward to it.
Bringing Baggage On An Airplane
Keep in mind due to security tightening on flights in most developed countries that if bringing a carry-on bag you need to pack light. If travelling with infants bring what you need in the way of diapers, small blanket, formula, etc. If bringing toys make sure it is simple but enough to pre-occupy them during the flight. Possibly a soother, stuffed animal, avoid rattles and toys that make noise. They may make the baby content but on a commercial airline you will be traveling with many other people. There is nothing more annoying than trying to get some sleep and hearing a rattle for hours.
With older children you may want to look through what they have packed before boarding and use your judgement. Again noisy items are not something you want. With electronic devices like portable gaming systems this may be a possibility if they have ear phones or they are OK to play without the sound, if not don't bring it.
Choosing Seats On A Flight
Choosing good seating when traveling with children depends on your strategy and children. If you have a baby or toddler you want to be close to the bathroom but not right next to it. Close because they may spit up, get sick, have to go, etc. Not right next to it because on a large flight you will have a constant audience as people continue going to the rest room. This can be annoying if your child acts out a lot, if you have to breast feed or if you simply don't enjoy being starred at a lot.
Babies and toddlers should be in a car seat. In the event of an emergency landing this is the best chance for their survival and it also keeps them where they need to be. Children still young but old enough to not be in a car seat should be seated next to the window. This way you are the barrier between them and the aisle. They are away from others that they may annoy, and they will most likely enjoy the view as well.
On long flights when you book you can order food to eat on the flight this to should be considered. With younger children ordering something like Sloppy-Joes (a really messy loose meat hamburger) is a mistake. It can end up on the floor, walls, seat or all over the child. The last thing you want to be doing is climbing over other passengers with a screaming child. Then locking yourself in the tiny bathrooms they have so the child can change. Also choose something light if possible you are flying and a child getting sick while in flight is a possibility.
If flying internationally make sure you have proper documentation prior to booking as even children require a passport when traveling by plane to another country
Makes sure your child uses the facilities before boarding as after buckling seat belts for takeoff you can't get up to go until safely off the ground.
Give your child something to suck on during take off or landing as pressure on the ears can be uncomfortable with altitude changes.