When flying with young children or babies you will need to be extremely organised and prepared. Long haul flights with little ones can be exhausting for parents and being equipped for all eventualities will make your trip easier. Babies are required to have their own passport and remember to apply for a European Health Card (EHIC) before you travel for each of your children.
Each airline will have different rules and regulations regarding babies and young children so it is best to do a bit of research before you book your flight. Most airlines allow babies under the age of two to sit on their parents lap so you should only being paying a small percentage of an adult ticket for your child. Remember only one child per adult can be carried on a parents lap, so if you are travelling alone with twins or two small children you will have to book a seat for one of them. Cabin crew should help you fit a specially designed buckle belt for your child which will attach to your own seat belt.
Many airline companies supply sky cots for babies under nine months old (although this will vary according to the airline), these will need to be booked in advance as there is only a certain amount available per flight. The safest way for your child to travel on a flight is to use a government approved car seat that is certified for use on an aircraft. It is advisable to check if you will be allowed to bring pre-made baby infant formula with you through customs at the airport as security regulations may not allow it.
Keeping young children entertained on long trips can be very hard work, we have all been on flights where children have screamed, shouted, annoyed other passengers and generally run amok. Taking snacks, books and toys to keep your child amused while on the flight and in the airport is highly advisable.
Top Tips for Flying with Children
Pack everything you need for your trip including clothes, nappies, baby food and formula, sterile bottled water, wipes, Calpol etc.
Bring your pram, and keep it with you till you reach the aircraft if possible. Cabin crew should be able to store it on the plane, meaning you can use it as soon as you disembark.
Give yourself plenty of time to check in at the airport. Travelling with children will take longer, think nappy changes etc.
When you check in for your flight, ask if the flight is full. If not, sweetly ask if it is possible to have a vacant seat next to you. If you are travelling with a child on your lap this is particularly a bonus.
When booking airport parking try to get something as close to the terminal as possible to cut down on the extra stress of getting luggage, prams and children to the airport door. If you do need to use an airport car park further away from the terminal, ensure there is an airport shuttle service available.
The cabin crew should be able to heat your baby formula or food for you, ensure you check the temperature before giving it to your little one.
Pack toys and books in your carry on luggage to keep children entertained on the flight.
Try to remain calm! Babies and small children pick up on their parent's anxiety.