The terms ‘children’ and ‘long-haul flight’ strike fear into the hearts of many adults! However, there are ways to make the whole experience far less stressful, and far more bearable. Here are some ideas.
Pack ample entertainment
If there is one thing that should be your first packing priority for long-haul flights with kids, it’s entertainment. If you are flying with a more expensive airline, they may have individual TV screens for each passenger. These will be loaded with loads of movies and shows suitable for kids. However, these screens aren’t always provided. And even if they are, your kid is unlikely to be able to concentrate on just this for the entire flight.
To be ready for either of these eventualities, make sure your stash of entertainment screams ‘variety’. Pack handheld devices, like games consoles and mini laptops. Pack more tactile things, like playdough and Lego. And pack colouring books and crayons. Avoid pens, though, or they might stain the seats and the kids! Do just bear in mind that space will be quite limited, so anything you pack should be useable in a small space.
Have something to look forward to
It’s an absolute must that you have something to look forward to at the end of the journey. This goes for whether or not you’re flying for a fun reason or a boring one. So, whether you’re headed for your family holidays in Cancun, or are reluctantly moving from the Cotswolds to Canada, give yourselves an aim. For big holidays, it could be a plan for what you will do on your first full day. You could plan to go to a waterpark in the morning, and then hire a Banana boat in the afternoon, for example. Or, if the journey is for a less glamorous reason, plan a special treat when you arrive. A takeout pizza or a trip to the cinema for example. What you do isn’t really that important, it’s that you all have something to focus your sights on. It will speed the journey up and distract young minds from boredom and whining.
Consider seating on the flight
There are two different ways you can organise how you sit on the flight.
One top is to sit the whole family together. The other is suitable for if you are flying with another adult also, be that a partner or a friend. For this option, split your group in two.
The benefit of the first option is obvious; you get to keep an eye on everyone at once. If your kids play well together, they will help keep each other occupied and happy.
However, if the children and prone to squabbling when in a confined space for a long time, go with option two. If you have two children and your partner flying with you, for instance, each child gets the undivided attention of one of their parents. Most airlines will let you swap around half-way through the flight too.
Whichever you pick, put the plans into motion well before the day you are due to leave. This gives the airline time to accommodate your needs. If they are very specific, they might need this time to be able to give you what you’ve asked for.