As hundreds of thousands of families prepare to jet off on their summer holidays, British Airways has prepared a list of top tips for travelling with children.
Father of two and senior cabin crew member, Justin Cox says: “As a parent I understand that travelling with kids can at first seem like a daunting prospect, but it really needn’t be. After my 12 years as BA cabin crew I have found that flying can be made more comfortable and even fun for kids by following a few simple pointers.”
If you plan to take your own car seat for the flight, check with your airline before travelling to make sure the seat fits the airline’s criteria, as different airlines have different requirements.
Before your child’s first flight in their own seat, sit them on the sofa at home with a cushion between you as the armrest, explaining how it’s going to be on board.
Take a small compact travel pushchair for easy cabin stowage onboard – regular sized pushchairs or strollers will normally have to go as hold luggage.
Pack their favourite teddy, pillow or comfort blanket – to help them get to sleep more easily and make it feel more like home.
Sometimes waiting for take-off or leaving the aircraft can be boring for young children – a bag of treats can work well at this point as a distraction.
While visiting the flight deck mid-flight is no longer allowed, if you ask the crew they are usually happy to arrange for children to see flight deck after landing.
If you are flying somewhere with a big time difference try to allow yourselves two days when you get back to give your children time to get back into UK time and their normal routine, before they go back to nursery or school.
British Airways prides itself on the levels of customer service it offers to families and children.
On longhaul flights the airline has a special child friendly menu, which parents can book free of charge in advance. Children are also given out entertainment packs as they take their seats on longhaul flights.
The airline will also help to arrange seats in advance of check-in opening to ensure families can sit together on their holidays.
Cabin crew and pilots will also do their very best to ensure that children flying with British Airways have a smooth journey.
Senior first officer and mother of two, Carley Lear, adds: “Many pilots, including myself, fell in love with flying at a very young age so we are usually pleased to share our enthusiasm with kids who want to learn more. Children of all ages are very welcome to come to the flight deck to meet the pilots. The best time is after landing when passengers are disembarking. We sometimes have stickers and postcards for children and will be more than happy to talk about flying and what all the controls and buttons on the flight deck do. Budding young pilots of the future can also ask their pilot to sign their junior flight log-book which they can get from the cabin crew for free during the flight.”
Senior cabin crew member, Justin Cox adds: “The in-flight entertainment system is great and provides a wide range of kids programmes, movies and music and I always pack a portable DVD player or a pre-programmed iPod with my kids’ favourites as well. Also, I always try to avoid taking games with lots of fiddly bits like jigsaws. They’re likely to get lost during the flight and cause upset when you arrive at your destination!”