As frequent flyers ourselves, we know that air travel can be frustrating. Add young children to your trip, and it can feel downright impossible. At ParkRideFly™, we are committed to providing all air travelers with an exceptional experience, which is why we’ve pulled together these tips for parents flying with young children.
Fly Early, Board Early
For one, early flights have a better chance of being on time and they are usually less crowded. Your child is also more likely to be better behaved and less cranky than they would be after a day of activity. If your airline offers early boarding for families traveling with children, take advantage of it. While it does mean more time on the plane, you’ll appreciate the extra space and time to get all your stuff and the kids settled.
Use Off-Site Airport Parking
The flight is going to be challenging enough, the last thing you need is to spend all of your child’s patience circling the lot looking for a parking space, and then navigating your entourage through the airport. Reserve your airport parking spot in advance at an off-site lot that offers curb-to-curb service. ParkRideFly™ not only drops you right at your terminal, but we’ll help you with your luggage, too. Check out our money-saving coupons.
Splurge on Entertainment
Bring as many toys and activities as you can possibly fit in a carry-on, and then bring a few more. If you normally limit your child’s TV time, a flight is not the place to be strict. An extra hour of Paw Patrol on the portable DVD player, or in-flight entertainment, may be just what you need to keep everybody happy. iPad apps, books and a new, gift-wrapped toy are good distractions, as well. And don’t forget kid-sized headphones.
Pack Some Junk Food
Similar to our suggestion to ease up on the electronics time, it’s a good idea to pack some snacks that might normally be considered contraband in your house. In addition to your child’s usual healthy foods, pack some junk food to use in a meltdown emergency. Just be weary of the super sugary stuff, as that can have the opposite effect. And remember chewing, sucking and drinking will make the air pressure changes easier on their ears, so consider lollipops, gum, sippy cups and pacifiers during take-off and landing.
Wear Layers & Bring a Blanket
The cabin temperature varies widely, so it’s a good idea to dress your child in layers that can easily be removed or added. Slip-on shoes, instead of laces, will make moving through security easier, too. And since most airlines no longer provide blankets, you’ll want to bring one from home. Most parents remember a change of clothes for the kids, but you may want to pack an extra set for yourself in the event of air sickness or other accident.
Opt for Pull-Ups & Pack Enough Diapers
Airlines do not keep diapers on hand, so always pack more than you think you’ll need. At least one for every hour of travel. And remember to always dispose of diapers in the trash, not the toilet. Even if your child is potty-trained, you may want to consider pull-ups for the flight. Emergency bathroom trips cannot always be accommodated and the extra insurance is far less stressful than a mad dash to the bathroom or an in-seat accident.
Keep Kids Away from the Aisle
If you’ve ever had you knee or elbow smashed by the beverage cart, you know why the aisle is a dangerous place for little hands and feet. Plus, the inside seats prevent your child from getting into the aisle without you knowing. In fact, try and resist the urge to let your child out of his or seat to roam the aisles. Turbulence, falls, the beverage cart are just some of the possible hazards, not to mention that it may be much harder to get them to fasten their seatbelts once they’ve gotten a taste of freedom.
Plan to Sanitize
It should come as no surprise that airplanes can be petri dishes for germs. Board the plan armed with hand sanitizer and wipes, and be prepared to wipe down everything. You’ll also want to make sure that you child wears shoes to the bathroom. And remember to bring extra pacifiers, because the 5-second rule doesn’t apply here.