The general consensus when it comes to the number one thing that people don’t want to experience on a plane is being seated next to a child. And actually, most parents don’t want to be flying with their toddler or infant either. They can be difficult to soothe and keep quiet on a long flight, which makes for an agitated parent and grumpy fellow passengers.
It’s not the child’s fault, nor is it the parent’s. However, with 24,142,000 general aviation flight hours recorded in just 2015, that’s a lot of chances of an unhappy tiny passenger. Luckily, there are things that moms and dads can do to help make flying with toddlers and infants much easier.
Consider your child’s needs
Primarily, consider your child’s needs compared to flight times. If your toddler is extremely cranky during certain hours, then you shouldn’t book a flight during that timeframe. Knowing your child’s patterns and habits can help you book a flight where your child will be more complacent and relaxed. You wouldn’t book an early morning flight if your baby is a natural born not-a-morning-person, so book a flight time where you know what to expect. While the global aviation industry transported an estimated $6.4 trillion worth of cargo in 2012, your own precious cargo doesn’t care what is happening if it conflicts with their daily routine. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you even board the plane.
Pack some snacks
It’s pretty hard for your child to scream and yell if they have food in their mouth, which goes for just about everyone else as well. In all seriousness though, packing ample amounts of snacks can help keep your child content especially if they’re hungry. A hungry baby is an unhappy baby and an unhappy baby makes for a terrible flight. Pack some of your child’s favorite snacks (probably should stay away from the sugary stuff though) and let them nibble away for the duration of the flight. Combine snacks with entertainment and you’ve got a well-behaved child.
Have extra diapers and clothes
Accidents happen and you shouldn’t expect anything different while on a plane. Stuffing your child’s extra diapers and changes of clothes into your check bag is a one-way ticket to a smelly flight-long disaster. Be sure to pack a few extra pairs of clothes and plenty of diapers in your carry-on bag to be prepared for any accident, no matter how big or small.
Let them play
Remember that little tidbit from earlier about entertainment? Well, if your child is old enough to enjoy a movie or game, then it’s a great idea to have one ready. Packing a tablet or gaming device for your child can be a blessing for the parents who need to catch a few Z’s on their flight. While only 17% of airline passengers like to sleep during their flight, moms and dads probably make up the majority of those people. Keeping your child entertained can allow you to get some well-deserved rest.
Flying is often the easiest way to travel compared to sticking them in the back seat of a car for hours on end. Not to mention the estimated one-third plus of America’s major roadways that are in poor condition, making for an even worse travel experience. So next time you need to fly with your toddler or infant, keep in mind these helpful hints.