Flight Tickets

Long Haul Travel with Young Kids and Infants

Many people literally shiver at the prospect of travelling with their very young kids and babies on long haul international flights and for many airline passengers it can be quite an ordeal sitting for hours next to a fidgeting child or endlessly crying baby!

For some people the risk of a tantrum laden long haul flight with children is just too much and they never get that far, shying away from the very idea of long haul flights.

Traveling internationally with small children often comes with a few challenges but with a little planning, you can all enjoy the trip.

Whenever possible, book a nonstop flight. This streamlines your trip and prevents change of flight problems. Traveling at non peak times like ... late at night, midday and mondays to wednesdays gives you a good chance of getting on less crowded flights. On these take offs you're more likely to find room for your kids to stretch out and sleep and a free space for your child safety seat. Avoid sprinting through the airport with bags and children, ensure when making reservations that you have ample time between connections. Bring extras of everything, including a change of clothes for you.

It is always a good idea to discuss the security clearance process with your children so they will not be frightened or surprised. Don't travel with toys that could be mistaken for weapons. If you have photo IDs for your children, bring them. Put all your IDs, credit card, passports, visas and tickets in the Security Pouch before leaving home for the airport.

Never leave a young child unattended. Always keep some form of identification in your child's pocket in case you accidentally become separated.

As a precaution for emergency identification purposes, take along several recent photographs of your child. You may also wish to leave extra copies of those photographs with a family member.

Child Seating on Aircraft

Children are not allowed to sit in the exit rows for safety reasons. Pre book bassinet or sky cot if available.

Avoid putting small children in the aisle seat. This will help you keep an eye on them and avoid tangles with the meal cart. Look for off peak flights with greater chances of open seats. If traveling with an infant, be sure to request for a seat where an on board bassinet can be utilized. However, keep in mind that while bulkhead seats have a little more space and no seats in front, keep in mind that itís often just in front of the move screen and thereís no under seat storage on take off and landing.

Select Seats Wisely, and Early...

Appropriate Documentation

When travelling with children, especially if one parent only may accompany the child(ren) out of the country, make sure that you have a signed and notarized letter from both parents stating that permission is given to the accompanying parent (or temporary guardian) to take the child out of the country. In most of the cases the name of the accompanying parent endorsed in the child's passport is sufficient. Make sure also that the accompanying parent or guardian also has the necessary medical release forms for your child. This is especially important when travelling to Mexico. Airline should have these forms available.

Keeping Children Happy on Long Haul Flights

Small Toys, Puzzles and Books

Take lots of the kids favorite toys (small), puzzles and books (lightweight), avoiding toys or puzzles with small pieces as these will almost inevitably fall on the aircraft floor constantly. Bear in mind that when something falls down the side of an airline seat it's almost certainly lost forever, as airline seats nearly always have impossible to reach places, so a plane may not be the best place to take your child's favorite jigsaw puzzles.

Avoid toys that make a noise as these can be intensely annoying for other airline passengers! If appropriate to your child's age, consider packing colouring books, with crayons and sticker books Decks of cards and favorite books are great time passers, as are personal music players and books on tape.

Choose child friendly airlines

Always check that your airline carrier provides TV entertainment for kids and that they have seat back TV on all long haul flights. Kids can't normally see the large screens at the front of the plane.

It can also make a whole lot of difference choosing an airline that offers an in-flight entertainment programme suiting kids of all ages.

Take off and Landing

Take off and landing can subject your child's or baby's ears to some pressure changes (plane pressuring and de-pressuring) and make things uncomfortable for them. Be sure to give your child something to suck on for take off or landing. This could be a soother or a drink of some kind. If the child is old enough, tell him or her to yawn to equalize the pressure in their ears. This can be quite effective and reduce any discomfort.

Drink plenty of liquids in-flight

It's a very good idea to take plenty to drink for your children on any flight, but particularly for long haul flights. Airlines often serve high sugar content drinks or drinks with added colours and preservatives, so if you normally give your child healthier drinks at home or organic fruit juices, consider taking a variety of them with you in leak-free containers on board, especially for a long transatlantic or trans continental flight.

For young babies, the cabin crew will always heat up bottles of milk when asked, but always check the temperature before you feed.

Its always a good idea to carry your own powdered baby milk to be on the safer side.

Snacks and Food items

Its very common now-a-days that in-flight meals rarely turn up at your child's meal time, so taking some snack food items on long haul flights for your children is a sound idea.

Don't forget to pack plenty of wet wipes and tissues as snack time can be very messy.
When you packing food items ....more is better.... anticipate long delays.

Change of clothes

It's always a good idea to pack pairs of change of clothes for your child or children in your carry on bag. In flight misdemeanour are very common among young kids and infants, that could result in the need to change garments!

When You Get There

Adrenalin can keep your child ticking for an unexpectedly long time. Children are in fact very resilient to long haul travel and they'll cope very well, often better than us adults! When arriving in a different time zone, try the best you can to stay up until nearly bed time wherever you have arrived. Going to sleep early can be a disaster and you're better off trying to keep yourself awake.

When long haul travelling with babies and young children the unexpected can always happen always be prepared. It takes a miracle to be prepared for every travel eventuality, as children have a habit of reshaping even the best planned vacations!
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