Air Travel with Children – you can survive it!

Everyone has been there before – you are all settled into your seat, ready to relax and rest on the plane, and there it is right next to you or even a few rows back: a crying baby! Let’s be honest, nobody wins here and it is an awful situation for everyone involved: the baby is obviously miserable, the parents are frustrated and embarrassed, and the passengers are agitated.

I personally love traveling and having children only gives me more ideas of places to go – from Walt Disney World® Resort to taking my kids to Oahu, Hawaii, my kids love to travel. If you are getting ready to travel with kids, here are some tips that can help you, your child and well, the entire plane!

kids plane


Take off and landing
The change in cabin pressure can be awful for little ears. If you have an infant, take off/landing are the perfect times to nurse or feed the baby with a bottle. For a toddler, a pacifier or a sucker can be the perfect remedy. Chewing gum is also great for the kids that can handle it. (Once my 3 year-old complained of her ears hurting and I gave her a piece of gum to help. She put the gum directly in her ear—so be sure to give a full explanation of the purpose.)

If your child has a stuffy nose or is not feeling well, be sure to give them some Tylenol (or such) while sitting at the airport. Waiting until the plane takes off will be too late. My niece gets motion sickness every time she flies so she always takes ½ tablet of Dramamine (of course run everything by your doctor first).

During flight
Younger babies (under 6 months) tend to sleep on planes, and many are lulled by the engine noise. Let them sleep! If your baby is awake and fussy, use a Baby Bjorn or baby sling to walk up and down the aisle to give the baby a change of pace. Be sure to bring some toys such as a stuffed animal, books, rattle to keep the baby amused, and don’t forget teething toys for babies needing something to chew. For toddlers: movies, a variety of favorite snacks, having them sit on the floor and make a little tent with a blanket, and surprising them with some new toys can be a great distraction.

Befriend the flight attendants and gate agents. While it is great that parents with children are allowed to get on the plane first, I usually try to wait as long as possible to get on the plane. I also don’t mind sitting in the back of the plane when I have my kids so you can work with the gate agent as well to have the best-case scenario. There are so many nice flight attendants out there (and some that have dealt with too many kids). I have had some flight attendants help make my trip go more smoothly by delivering some extra Biscoff cookies (a favorite for big kids, too), allowing us to move around in the aisle, or provide an extra blanket.

The best thing you can do is relax and just enjoy the trip. I remember the first time I was flying with my daughter by myself and was so nervous and a large man in his 60’s was in the seat next to me. As soon as she started to cry he just scooped her right out of my arms and rocked her to sleep. You never know, you may be sitting next to a grandpa, mother, or just a friendly person that is willing to help.

Traveling with small children can be intimidating, but it is really the perfect time to travel. Do you have tips for air-travel with children?

- Libby from Delta Vacations

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