How to survive the LONG HAUL FLIGHT with kids
Fingers crossed that so far our three children love to fly. Tommy often requests a drive to the airport just so soak up the vibe of the airport!
The children from a young age have flown to their grandparents house in Sydney so they started flying early on. I was very nervous and over prepared for their first long haul flight to LA. They were 6, 5 and 2. Everything went as smoothly as possible and now I have mastered the flight prep and how to survive on board!
If I am honest plane food sucks. There is no nutritional value in any of it and it can make you feel blah. Secretly I do get excited reading the menu but it never lives up to the hype. It is important to order your child a meal before you fly. When booking online this isn’t an option so you will need to login to your flight details at least 4 days before you leave. I always take food for the kids so that they can eat when they want and therefore go to sleep when they need to instead of waiting for a meal. Pack little sealer bags of snacks, go for dry, non messy food. We like to take nuts, dry food, muesli bars, apples, crackers, soya crisps or packets of chips. You are allowed to take food on the plane so do not stress over that. On our last trip all food was extra so we picked up SUBWAY on the way to the airport and had it cut up into quarters.
International flights limit all liquids to 100ml max per container
(exceptions are made for baby liquids). My best tip is to take empty drink bottles through customs. I like to take brand new ones so I know they won’t leak and they are clean. Once through customs you can then fill up each persons drink bottle. Many airports have water fountains with a special attachments (usually at eye level) to fill bottles. Otherwise use the water fountain itself. The kids always want more water than the air hostess hands out and it saves constantly asking for water which is given in a little cup. The kids keep their own drink bottles in their seats.
3. SPARE CLOTHES
Regardless of age I like to pack a spare set of clothes for each child. In a large A4 GLAD seal bag I pack spare undies, socks, t-shirt and shorts. I label the bags with each child’s name so they can be easily found. If you are in the situation where a new set of clothes are needed you have to have everything ready to go. Once the change has happened the soiled/wet clothes can go into the seal bag.
Once the seatbelt sign is turned off the air hosts will come around with documentation forms that will be needed when landing. I am the person who fills in all the forms (a sucky job) so it is handy to be organised and ready to go ASAP then once done you are ready to watch your movie. On a separate piece of paper I write everyone’s passport numbers, the date the passport expires and the flight numbers needed. In doing this all the passports can stay zipped away until needed at landing. REMEMBER to pack a pen!
5. BABY WIPES
No explanation needed here just pack a few packets to clean up any mess on hands and faces during the flight. They are also a nice refresher when landing.
6. SHOES AND SCARVES
Depending on where you are travelling to will affect your footwear. Regardless of the destination a pair of thongs (flip flops/jandals) are a must when you fly. My kids take their sneakers off immediately, put their socks in the seat pocket and have their thongs ready to put on. Going to the toilet with thongs on is a must as wet feet or socks from the toilet isn’t ideal. The kids will put their socks on once they are ready to nap and the aeroplane gets cool.
I always pack a few scarves to keep warm or to cover the kids up and to make it a bit darker when they are sleeping.
Headphones – not the ear bud type – are a must and will make the trip so much smoother. DO NOT buy the noise reduction ones for children as with the plane noise they will not be able to hear the movie they are watching. We have found SkullCandy to be hard wearing and suitable.
8. IPADS AND SPLITTER
Each of our kids have their own iPad which I purchased second hand on eBay. I like to rent a few different movies from the iTunes store for the trip. Each child selects a few different movies or TV series, sometimes they are $1 on iTunes. The splitter, like the Belkin Rockstar, means that the kids can watch a movie together.
9. Entertainment in the Airport
The wait for the flight can sometimes the beginning of dramas and meltdowns with kids, especially if there are delays. After walking around and visiting the shops and have a bite to eat what else can you do? We like to travel with a pack of UNO cards or Snap cards. The kids love the game Spot It which we found in USA. If there is a power outlet the kids will spend some time on their iPads
Good luck for your next flight. Remember FOOD, HEADPHONES and ENTERTAINMENT and you will survive. Ignore any stares from other passengers that think your kids will interrupt their flight. Just make sure they don’t kick the seat in front!
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