I'm an ex-airport worker – the secret tricks to make travelling with kids WAY easier that parents never know about | The Sun08/05/2022
GOING on a summer holiday is a chance to escape the stresses of normal life, but if you have kids it's not always the relaxing time you might have planned.
And it can be really daunting taking little ones through an airport and on a plane, when you aren't sure how they may react in such an unusual, restrictive environment.
Thankfully, while you can't control everything, there are helpful hacks you can do to make life travelling with little ones just that tiny bit easier.
Here, we speak to experts – ex airport worker and CEO of Ricco Events and PR Sonya Dhillon, childcare pro Kathryn Lord and David Doughty, CEO at Admiral Jet, who have all shared their top tips to ensure your trip is all 'plane sailing'.
Involve them in the planning
Age-appropriate books can help children get an understanding of what to expect.
You can also use a map to show the route you’re taking, and they can ask all those burning questions while the excitement sets in.
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Showing children photos of the destination and explaining how hot or cold it is will also help them to take part in choosing what to pack.
This way they can take on some independence by packing appropriate clothes as well as pick out some games they might want to play on holiday.
Avoid anxiety angst
If you have any anxieties about planes, try not to let your child notice this.
During the holiday season especially, long queues and a lot of new noises can be expected when getting to the airport.
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Explaining to children a little about what to expect can be a great help for a smooth and stress-free check-in and security check.
Hand luggage help
If you have a baby especially, packing all the essentials is key.
Ensure to carry extra nappies, wipes and change of nappies as necessary.
You’ll also be able to bring enough milk and formula as these items are exempt from the 100ml rule.
Make sure you also pack snacks galore! Although, preferably low sugar ones as no-one wants a hyper child on a flight – especially on a long haul.
Fill up their water bottles before getting on the plane and bring some of their favourite snacks in case the hunger kicks in between meals.
Raisins, a packet of crisps or some wine gummies are often available in smaller packages and won’t take up much room.
Also, invest in a Trunki Suitcase.
Not only do they look fun, but what a genius creation – something that allows kids to be transported around the airport, while carrying all of their belongings!
Bring picture or painting books to keep the slightly older little ones busy.
Paperback books are lightweight and offer hours of fun, and if old enough, you can start playing little games like tic-tac-toe.
Give them a toy travel companion – a teddy or a doll with their own passport.
This is a great distraction for them to look after through their journey, and check in staff are always happy to go along with this “additional passenger” & throw in a sticker or stamp to add to the experience!
Wear or pack comfy clothes for your child to sleep in if the flight is a long haul.
Taking the toothbrush to do their teeth and changing into PJs can help signal that it is time to go to sleep – and it's a good way to pass the flight time.
Providing a comfy seat or a small flatbed can help settle your child.
Some prams have a removable seat but ensure to check with the airlines if accepted.
Screen time saviour
With only a few things to do, screen time can be a good way to keep the little ones distracted.
You can download their favourite films or shows before the trip and make sure you charge the battery before the flight.
Bring comfy earphones for them so other passengers won’t be bothered by the sound – and don’t forget a battery pack to recharge your devices!
Allow plenty of time
Get to the airport early so that you’re not rushing through the crowds trying to make it to the gate.
Board early or board Last – this comes down to personal preference, but if you board last they spend less time on the plane.
Pack your hand luggage liquids/devices at the top of your luggage so that you breeze through security!
Choose your airline carefully
Finally, make sure you do your research before booking flights.
According to research carried out by Life insurance broker Reassured, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Qantas offer the most perks for children.
They took a closer look at 24 airlines departing from UK airports to compare what they’re offering to travelling parents and their kids.
According to their findings, most of the airlines offer kids’ entertainment such as appropriate movies or colouring pens and paper.
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However, parents flying with Flybe, Jet2 or Ryanair are in for a disappointment, as no entertainment is offered for the little ones.
Instead, Ryanair and Jet2 make some points up by offering free kids’ meals.
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