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Take the Family › 10 Ways to Make Flying More Comfortable with Kids

10 Ways to Make Flying More Comfortable with Kids

Air New Zealand's Economy Skycouch ™ seat.Air New Zealand's Economy Skycouch ™ seat.

There’s no getting around the fact that flying with kids can be a drag – even if things run smoothly and without delays, all that waiting around in airports and sitting still for extended periods of time can make even the most serene of kids cranky and fidgety. We’ve looked at the best ways to make your time in the air as comfortable as possible.

• Ensure each member of the family is dressed in loose-fitting clothing and roomy shoes, and has something warm and familiar to put over their shoulders, whether it be a cashmere shawl or a child’s favourite blanket from home. 

• If you can, reserve seats online in advance. Some airlines try to meet requests by families to be allocated bulkhead seating, which has extra floor space, but this is in limited supply. Otherwise, aisle seats give the most room, but on the other hand, sitting by the window stops you being disturbed by other people needing to get out. If your child is going to sleep, it might a good idea to put them in a window seat so they can lean against the wall and won’t get disturbed. Note that pregnant women can’t occupy emergency exit rows.

• Book with Air New Zealand and enjoy use of their revolutionary Economy Skycouch ™ seat – a trio of three Economy seats with large footrests that together create a flexible sofa-like space for relaxing and stretching out, or for restless kids to use as a play area. The airline is perfect for your holiday from the UK to Los Angeles or New Zealand.  

• Try to time flights to coincide with your children’s usual nap times, or see if you can adjust their nap times so they can pass at least some of their time in the air asleep. If you’re flying with a baby, find out if you can book a bassinet so you don’t have to hold them for the entire flight and have them sleep on your chest. As there may only be one bassinet on each aircraft, you need to reserve at the time of booking.

• Consider investing in a CARES Airplane Safety Harness for kids – by keeping them upright in their seats, it may help them sleep better by stopping them from sliding to one side. It can be particularly helpful for parents travelling solo with more than one child to administer to.

• Invest in good travel pillows – try a few out for size in the shop, as different versions work for different people. For kids, we particularly recommend the Trunki Yondi travel pillow, which comes in a range of cute animal incarnations.

• Don’t let the kids sit too long in front of a seat-back screen or with a games console. Take advantage of less busy times to get up and stretch your legs and rest your eyes. 

• Don’t bring tiny toys or things that can easily fall under seats – it’s annoying to have to try to retrieve them, especially at the end of the flight when everyone is trying to get their carry-on luggage and disembark.

• Give kids chewing gum or boiled sweets to suck on take off and landing, and breastfeed or bottle-feed babies – children’s ears are more sensitive than adults’ to changes in cabin pressure.

• Ensure all the family drinks plenty of water and stays well hydrated, and bring plenty of simple, dry snacks – if only to keep the kids quiet!

Read more of Takethefamily’s Tips on Flying with Kids and Flying While Pregnant.

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