The key to stress free family flying is in the planning. Pre children, with flights for work planned by wonderful corporate travel agencies such as Reed and Mackay, flying was a breeze! In actual fact I looked for to a flight as much as a spa day – 8 hours of uninterrupted time to myself. But now, with two mini humans in tow, I have to take a more strategic approach.
At The Airport
There is no ‘right’ time to fly with children, its best to just work with what suits your family. We tend to go for a mid morning flight and stay at an airport hotel the night before, making use of the sundown check-in options offered by some airlines allowing us to check in our bags the night before our departure, leaving us to head straight through to security on the morning of the flight.
Parking at the airport is also really handy to book in advance to help stress free family flying. Meet and greet services at the terminal are worth their weight in gold.
Lightweight strollers can be taken up to the plane door and then will be ready for you as you land. Airports that don’t offer this, such as Gatwick, will usually have strollers for you to borrow until you reach baggage reclaim.
During The Flight
When up in the air, for us less is more when it comes to stress free family flying. The more you pack for the children the more they will want, plus packing endless toys and books means less room for your duty free! We let the girls pick two books each and then pack lots of paper and pencils, perfect for keeping them amused wherever we may find us. The best thing about paper and pencil? no charging needed!
In-flight movies are always a great distraction, but its a good idea to invest in some children’s headphones as the ones onboard are not always suitable for their small heads/ears.
No matter the length of the flight we always book the meal options and order children meals in advance. The flight attendants will always feed the children first, giving you a chance to help them before your food arrives.
If the children cry, so what! These things happen. If people tut or moan then offer them the chance to take over and help if they wish – they’ll soon leave you alone!
Getting To Resort
Pre arranged transfers allow you to relax on your way to the hotel/resort, however if you are planning to take a taxi/public transport then plan your route ahead so you can be organised and allow yourself and your family time to enjoy the experience.
Early/Late check in can be booked at all good hotels, plus most will allow you to eat before heading to your room if you arrive during food service times.
Don’t be afraid to ask for something that may help you. As long as you remain polite the worst they can say is no.
But most of all, relax, have fun and enjoy the ride!