Let me tell you the funny story of our first plane trip with Paige. She was only eight months old at the time when we flew to Durban for a wedding. I was a little anxious about the trip, mostly because I was worried her ears would hurt during landing. I suffered from ear ache as a child when flying, still do, and it is no fun. So I asked advice from other moms and went online to get some handy tips (like the ones I’m sharing below). One piece of advice is to give a bottle to your baby upon decent to help equalise their ears.
Since we were flying off for a family wedding, we were fortunate enough to be travelling with granny and cousin. I got to sit back and enjoy the flight, staring out the window, with hubby in the middle and granny had Paige on her lap in the aisle seat. Just across the aisle was cousin and behind Paige sat a smartly dress woman wearing a pair of adorable peep-toe shoes.
Paige was a star during the flight. She played, had a nap and was no trouble at all. The flight attendant announced our descent, I handed over the milk bottle and Paige happily drank away. That is until she projectile vomited over granny, across the aisle onto cousin and even into the peep-toe shoes of the lady who had the luck of sitting behind us. I could see the humour in it as, for once, I wasn’t covered in vomit. Fortunately everyone else could have a laugh about it too. Poor granny finally got to change once we retrieved our luggage. Needless to say, we did not try feed Paige a bottle on our return flight.
So maybe I’m not the best person to give advice, but another mom who’s done a lot of flying with her family is Sue Petrie, British Airways’ Commercial Manager for Southern Africa. She suggests a few proven hacks that can make your flight easier.
Booking your flight
- Prepare ahead by checking in online. This is not only convenient for travellers of any age, it also decreases the likelihood of youngsters becoming tetchy while waiting in queues.
- If you’re travelling internationally, check the Department of Home Affairs’ site at dha.gov.za to be sure you have the documentation you need.
- You can reserve equipment like children’s bassinets, as well as children’s meals.
- Remember to also check regulations on decanting liquids into small bottles, so you can plan accordingly.
- Petrie urges travelling families to take advantage of concessions like preferential boarding and being allowed to take strollers onto the air-bridge and to the door of the aircraft.
Packing for your flight
- While you want to pack enough supplies – you might need nappies, pull-ups and wipes, for example. Petrie advises against weighing yourself down with more than you can comfortably carry.
- Naturally you need to pack food that’s appropriate for your child in terms of dietary needs and choking hazard. However, chewy snacks like biltong, nuts or fruit-rolls can help equalise pressure in the ears, which can be very uncomfortable. While you want kids to stay hydrated, foods with too much sugar may make them too energetic. Try diluting fruit-juice with rooibos tea as an option.
- “Avoid toy weapons or those with small parts. Everyone knows you can’t harm anyone or anything with a rubber Pirates of the Caribbean sword, but airport security are likely to confiscate it anyway. It’s also one of the few occasions that Lego isn’t a good idea as it, and other toys with small parts, can be difficult to retrieve when dropped aboard a plane,” says Petrie.
During your flight
- Flying with kids can feel daunting, as though everyone on the plane is watching you and your family and expecting a noisy meltdown. Flight attendants are there to help and they’ll do all they can for families with kids as well as other passengers. Enlist their help wherever you can.
- Few parents will allow their kids unfettered screen-time, but in-flight movies, portable CD players, smartphones and tablets can be a godsend for air-travel as the right app or game can keep a child occupied for hours. Small children may struggle to understand why they have to switch their devices off for take-off though. Packing a good portable charger, or power-bank, and headphones can also help.
- While you want your youngster to have access to the toilet, Petrie advises against seating small children on the aisle as they may be snagged by trollies.
For more handy tips and information on travelling with kids, see https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/family-travel
This is not a sponsored post. Information supplied by British Airways. Image from unsplash.com.