Every air traveller’s worst nightmare seems to be getting stuck next to a screaming child for an eight hour flight.

But when you’re that child’s parent, the nightmare can be worse. You don’t have to hold your breath and hope for the best. Here are some tips for flying with kids without alienating other passengers and losing your mind:

1) Keep your expectations realistic

Air travel can be tough on children (as well as adults). Don’t expect perfect behaviour, and don’t freak out if your child acts up. Stay calm so you can deal with whatever problems come up.

2) Explain the journey

Prepare children for what they’re likely to encounter during the trip: crowds, delays, strangers, etc.

Practice going through an airport screening line. They’ll feel better knowing what to expect.

3) Decide between direct vs connecting flights

A direct flight eliminates the need to rush through strange airport slugging your bags and dragging your children to meet your next plane.

On the other hand, a connecting flight can give your children a much needed break.

4) Decide which kind of trip suits your needs and your children best

Schedule naps. If possible, pick a flight that coincides with your kids’ sleep schedule.

If they can take a nap at their usual time, or get a good night’s sleep on a redeye, they’ll be more refreshed and better behaved when you arrive.

5) Visit your doctor before your flight

Check with your doctor that your child isn’t suffering from an ear infection that will make changes in cabin pressure painful.

6) Dress for comfort.

Choose clothes that kids can relax in. Dress in layers, as temperatures can fluctuate in airports and aboard planes.

Pack an extra shirt, pants and underwear per child in your carry on in case of accidents. Also take some spare nappies especially for toddlers if not fully trained yet.

7) Bring games and snacks

Be sure to provide adequate books, games, and toys to occupy kids during the flight (and while you’re waiting).

Carry a few snacks so you don’t have to rely on flight attendants or overpriced airport meals to feed hungry cranky kids.

Try these tips next time you fly, I hope it is an enjoyable one.

Have you ever travelled on a plane with your kids, how did you cope? Any tips or tricks you would like to share? Leave your comments below.

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  • great tips here amelia. flying can be hard with the littlies


  • Mine always carry a small backpack with books, pencils, etc. a bottle of water and some lollies that they can suck on when plane is taking off and landing (to help their ears).


  • Thanks for the article. Question regarding take off and landing and ear pressure. My daughter will be 6 months when we fly and is breastfeed, do I just express some beforehand and feed her during these times?


  • We flew to Japan just before my daughter’s seventh birthday. We flew from Melbourne to Sydney, then from Sydney to Tokyo. Our flight was leaving Sydney around 9 pm, so it wasn’t long until our daughter was asleep in between us. She got more sleep than hubby or I!


  • great idea


  • i dont think kids should be allowed on planes unless thier parents have brought things for them to do along with lolly pops for the kids to suck on when their ears block up

    in january i flew from melbourne and it was the worst hour ever! a toddler had nothing to do and screamed the entire way. i had some lollies in my bag and offered the mother a few lollies for the child but the mother said she doesnt allow her child to eat sugar

    she doesnt allow her child to eat sugar but she allows her child to assail the earholes of innocent bystanders?


  • Great tips. Long flights will always be hard. Hard enough for adults but to have a young child with you makes it so much harder. Activities are a lifesaver.


  • I should remember to bring some toys next time. I have been tried to save some luggage space by taking less toys, but end up with buying more toys on the way. Not good.


  • thanks for the tips I can try for my next trip which i am planning next month.. thanks


  • Being prepared as much as possible!


  • mine and hubbys first time on a flight was also our daughters first time so none of us knew what to expect but other than our ears hurting from cabin pressure which was fixed when little one got to have chewing gum which is usually banned.


  • these sure are great tips and so handy to use them. thank you for your ideas

    • i will be sharing these tips with my friend. she is taking her kids to america!

      • That’s great that you will share the tips. I am glad you liked the content


  • Good advice, although the prospect of flying with my kids is still terrifying.


  • This is great. We’re playing on travelling this coming year, and it’s definitely a daunting task.


  • Thanks for sharing this interesting article with helpful tips; definitely comfy clothes and shoes, plenty of games, snacks and water. Also; a special little snuggly blanket and small soft toy(but not a precious one in case it gets lost! A special one; a flying buddy for the trip!


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