Top Tips for Flying With Kids
At Sunny D, we know that travelling with children can be stressful at the best of times, and at no time is it more stressful than flying overseas.
With help from Mr D and Flightright (www.flightright.co.uk), the consumer portal for air passenger compensation for delayed, cancelled or overbooked flights, we've put together 10 Top Tips for parents flying with children.
Hopefully, they will help you to enjoy a stress-free start to your family holiday.
The first step is to plan your journey. This means giving yourself plenty of time before checking in (online check-in is advised), going through security and getting to the right gate before boarding. Scheduling where you need to be at which time is important as it allows your kids to take a breather in between time-consuming processes and also ensures you don't miss your flight.
Make use of child-friendly services
Many airports offer 'meet and assist' services for families travelling with children. This is a service you can ask for when booking your flight, where somebody meets you at check-in to assist you up until the plane boards. This will depend on airport staff availability but it's also worth noting that single parents with more than one child are given first priority.
Check the latest restrictions on hand luggage
It's a good idea to check-in luggage well in advance, but also to make note of what restrictions on hand luggage are currently in place. You don't want to be caught out at check-in; this could lead to a) paying a hefty fee or b) the stress of quickly re-packing and potentially getting rid of items. Either way, it's a bad start to your holiday.
Take a break
Make use of any play-room facilities the airport has on offer. It's a good way to keep an eye on any wandering toddlers as well as an opportunity for them to make new friends to play with and pass the time.
Consider seat choices
Depending on how big your family is, you don't want to risk being separated from your kids as this will only make the journey more stressful. Make sure you book in advance to ensure all family members are seated together in an accessible part of the plane. Some aircrafts even offer over-handing baby beds so the little ones can take a nap.
Keep an eye on the time if delayed
Passengers who have a valid ticket and a booking confirmation - including paying children - might be entitled to compensation if a flight is delayed. So keep an eye on the time. After three hours of delay a family of four could get up to Euro 2400 back in compensation.
If your imagination fails to satisfy your kids, consider downloading apps to your phone which will keep them occupied. Not only is this the most compact form of ready-made entertainment, there are so many apps to choose from with games ranging from fun to creative to educational.
Child monitors are the essential device if you want to easily locate your child amid a crowded airport. The parent carries a transmitter, while the child wears a bracelet-type unit. Once the tracker exceeds the user-specified range, an alarm will sound. The parent can also push a button to set off a bleeper on the child's bracelet to help keep track of them. Alternatively, write your mobile number on your child's hand.
Let kids who are old enough to help do so
If you have a big family, that doesn't necessarily mean more stress - but rather, more hands. You'll probably find that a lot of kids are happy to play mum and dad for a while.
And last but not least…
Keep hold of their passports
While giving your children early responsibility is important, unless you want to risk missing your flight and facing a lot of extra hassle and expense, we advise that you hold onto all passports on your children's behalf. Just in case.
Don't forget to travel without a supply of deliciously refreshing Sunny D. Travelling is thirsty work!