Think about flight times when booking the flight – Will your child be tired/hungry. Is it better for you to fly during the day or at night?
Check the seating arrangements – Airline facilities for child meals, cots and other seating for infants do vary so it’s worth checking what is available and whether you need to book in advance.
Buggy or not? Think about whether you will need to take a buggy and/or car seat with you. How far can your children reasonably walk? Consider a baby carrier or sling so you can keep your hands free. Both buggies and car seats will usually be carried by an airline free of charge. Although you can usually take a buggy to the boarding gate, bear in mind that at the other end the buggy might come out on the carousel, leaving you to ferry your children along yourself.
Check-in in advance – If you can, it saves time standing in queues which kids, for obvious reasons, have a strict aversion to as it involves keeping relatively still!
Keep everyone fed and watered – I’ve said this before but it’s really important for avoiding those low-blood sugar meltdowns. Ensure you have plenty of kid-friendly snacks. Baby milk can generally be taken through security or you can buy at Boots once through the security checks. Boots also allow you to pre-order ready-to-drink formula milk to collect airside – this has to be done at least 7 days in advance.
Keep them entertained – A couple of favourite books, sticker books, small toys. Some parents like to take along a few new toys that they can produce at intervals along the journey to stave off boredom. It might be worth investing in a portable DVD player and headphones, we’ve found these invaluable.
Don’t pack the kitchen sink – It’s really tempting to pack for every eventuality but don’t, you’ll just end up carrying more and won’t be able to find the things you need easily. However, it is useful to have a spare set of clothes/pyjamas. Although, the only spillage I’ve ever had was me pouring a gin and tonic all over my jeans!
Allow more time than you think you need – We all know how long it takes to even leave the house with kids! The last thing you want is additional stress caused by rushing.
Relax and enjoy it – Easier said than done, but flying is a really exciting experience for your children so try to let them enjoy it and you will enjoy it more too.