Hello Travel Pandas! We hope you had a great Christmas!
Alright pandas sometimes we don’t just travel by ourselves, we have baby pandas to take with us too! Sometimes this can be stressful on both you and mini pandas. Here are my top 8 tips in regards to flying with your little one!
BRING A CAR SEAT
Babies and children can get really fussy when flying. A good way to ensure they are comfortable is by booking an extra seat to accommodate their car seat. From my experience, the most common problem parents have while traveling with young children is convincing them to stay seated and buckled in. You wouldn’t believe the number of children I’ve seen delay a flight from taking off or landing because the child refuses to stay seated with their seatbelt fastened. The seatbelt in your car seat is much more secure than the one on the plane, plus it’s your child’s seat so they will be much more comfortable sitting in it. I recommend your child be buckled in at all times, even when the seatbelt sign is off. You never know when you will hit surprise turbulence. Plus, you wouldn’t let your child stand up and run around in the car when you’re driving at 100km/hr so why would you let them do that when the plane is flying at 600km/hr?
Prior to coming to the airport, make sure you have enough activities, games, movies etc. to keep your child entertained for the duration of the flight. Children get bored on planes so that’s when they start unbuckling themselves, kicking the seat in front of them or running up and down the aisles to drive you and everyone else crazy. I know a lot of people resort to tablets to keep them occupied but some other awesome ideas are coloring books, activity books, puzzles and of course toys. But be mindful when bringing toys onboard the aircraft, make sure they aren’t loud. No one needs to hear “Ol McDonald had a farm and Bingo was…” 300 times.
Like us adults, children and babies get HANGRY too. The difference is, most of us can recognize when we are. The little ones don’t always know so pack some of their favorite snacks if your child is a little older. Otherwise, make sure you have enough formula or milk! Yes, most flights offer free snacks but are often packed with salt or sugars. Eating snacks or drinking milk can also help combat those plugged ears. The chewing or drinking motion can help pop those ears so the little ones are more comfortable. So save yourself from an unhappy child and make sure their tummies are happy. Oh don’t forget to pack wet wipes and lots of them! There’s lots of germs at the airport, on the plane and on their little hands! Clean those tray tables!
DRESS IN LAYERS
I know lots of parents will go out and buy a new outfit for baby’s first flight. Or make their child wear something they’ve never worn before. Don’t do this. You want them to be comfortable right? Sure you want your kiddies to look put together and cute. But given a choice you wouldn’t want to fly in a suit/dress/heels etc. either so why would they want to wear uncomfortable clothes? Make sure their clothing is comfortable for them. When you buy new clothes, the new material may irritate their skin. Older children will be able to tell you but babies can’t all they can do is cry to let you know. Another thing to remember is to dress in layers. The airplane temperature can be finicky. Sometimes too hot, sometimes too cold. Dressing in layers will help with a cranky child. Bringing a blanket can also also provide comfort to your child as well, especially if they have a special blankey.
DON’T FLY WHEN SICK
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The little ones are grumpy enough when they are sick on the ground. Now just imagine how much more uncomfortable it is for them when they are 30000 feet up in the air. The everchanging temperature and dry air on the plane will make it even worse for them. I highly recommend not flying especially if they have a cold. They could easily blow an eardrum. Most people’s ears will pop at least a few times while in flight and most people usually combat it by yawning, chewing gum and the pinch and blow.method etc. However, sometimes that doesn’t always work for the little ones. I recommend the “elephant ears” method. Next time ask your flight crew for 2 cups with a moist hot towel in them. Hold these up and cover the little ones ears for a few minutes. This should unblock their ears and alleviate any pain if the popping isn’t too serious.
Traveling with children and babies is super hard. You only have 2 hands but you have 6 things to carry on top of your little one. Make sure you know what each bag has and what’s in each pocket or section so you’re not digging around for the paper work or worse, trying to find the snacks for your hangry child. Instead of having 1 big bag for everything. I would highly suggest keeping entertainment/food all together in one bag and important documents and anything else you need at the airport in another. Make sure you check your baggage whenever you can, the last thing you need to worry on is a huge carry on, on top of everything from else. Another popular thing I’ve seen parents bring are large zip lock freezer bags for garbage. Instead of handing garbage to the flight crew 12 times a flight or just throwing it into your purse, just keep it all in the freezer bag so you’re not constantly trying to keep track of all the garbage. This is also good when you’re in the boarding lounge and it’s not convenient for you to walk to the garbage right away.
USE THE BATHROOM PRIOR TO BOARDING
Take your child to the bathroom/ changing your child’s diaper prior to boarding will save everyone some headache. Plus you also get to use the bathroom too! Nobody wants to be the parent of the kid with a stinky diaper during take off or the parent of the child who all of a sudden needs to use the bathroom during taxi or boarding. Plus the lavatories are tiny, uncomfortable and so so so dirty! Don’t ever use one unless you absolutely have to and if you do, make sure you really clean your hands after.
PRE-BOARD WHEN YOU CAN
I know, it sucks sitting on the plane for 30 minutes with your little one before the aircraft takes off. But if you’ve taken them to the bathroom, packed entertainment and snacks your little one should be okay. I have seen many parents try to board last and it makes it very hard for you and for us flight crew members to help you get settled. This is why we like you to pre-board:
You can take your time settling in and the crew members can actually help you get settled. Once regular boarding starts, all crew members must return to the exits in case of an emergency or an evacuation and may not be able to help you.
All passengers travelling with infants, car restraint devices, boosters seats etc. must be briefed on safety procedures prior to takeoff. During boarding each crew member has safety duties they need to complete prior to the main cabin door closing. And nothing is more awkward for a parent than being briefed at the end when everyone is listening and watching.
It’s hard enough to maneuver down the aisle has a lone traveller with 1 bag, let alone with a young child and 3+ bags when everyone is already boarded.
There might not be any more overhead bin space left for your bags if you board last. This is the worst because then you have to jam and cram all your bags underneath your seat which makes it very uncomfortable for both you and the little one.