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Just the mention of “kids on a plane” brings on anxiety for most adults. Don’t fret, you’ll have a sure fire regimen when traveling with the kiddies. Try these seven tips when taking flight with the little ones.
1. Spend the money and buy the extra ticket – do you really want to hold anything on plane for three hours? Not a good idea. Purchase a ticket for each family member and you’ll enjoy more space and every one will be comfortable.
2. Flight patterns and sleep patterns do coincide – book your airfare around the time your children’s naptime or when they are noticeably tired. My children tend to get a lull around 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. every day, even though they don’t take naps any longer.
3. Book the right seating arrangements – Sit in the back row of the plane. It’s closest to the restrooms and no one is sitting behind you; so if junior wants to pound on the wall the entire flight he can.
4. Arrive early – Arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight. You don’t want to be doing the “OJ” thing through the airport with your children.
5. Make security check easier - Most airlines have a family line; go to their website and check before arriving. Avoid belts on the kids or yourself and look for slip-on shoes to wear. Everyone will remove their shoes, belts, cell phones, anything electronic or metal. The less you have to take off, the less you have to put back on.
6. What to bring? - Don’t forget to bring a blanket and pillow, luck favors the prepared – you have to create the atmosphere. Everyone gets a carry-on so bring a backpack if you are past the diaper bag phase and load it with a few stationary toys (you don’t want to be crawling for cars and trucks the entire flight), books, crayons, games and if you are fortunate to have one – a handheld video game. Also, bring snacks, juice boxes or Sippy cups (they will help if the kid’s ears begin to hurt) and gum (if the kids know how to chew it). You can base everything on the length of the flight and then add an hour for possible delays. Save the toys, games and snacks for when you are in the air. Also, take the time to let the kids get comfortable in their new environment. Let them enjoy the takeoff and landing – it really is quite an experience for anyone.
7. Expect the best and that’s usually what you’ll get - Expect everything to go as smooth as possible and envision a perfect flight as well as a good time with everyone enjoying themselves. If you are prepared for the challenges and expecting the best you’ll have safe travels and a great experience.