Does the thought of taking that annual trip back home send you into a mild panic attack? Put away those quaaludes: British Airways has prepared – with help from its crew – 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 British Airways cabin crew I have found that flying can be made more comfortable and even fun for kids by following a few simple pointers.”
1) 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.
2) Take a small compact travel pushchair for easy cabin stowage onboard. Regular-sized pushchairs or strollers will normally have to go as hold luggage.
3) Pack their favourite teddy, pillow or comfort blanket to help them get to sleep more easily and make it feel more like home.
4) 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.
5) 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.
6) 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 adjust to jetlag and their normal routine, before they go back to nursery or school.
7) Keep your child entertained. The in-flight entertainment system has a dedicated ‘Skyflyers Kids’ section with films, TV programmes, music and stories especially for younger customers under the age of 12.
On longhaul flights, the airline has a special child friendly menu, which parents can book free of charge in advance. Children are also given entertainment packs as they take their seats. BA also arranges family seats in advance of check-in to ensure families are able to sit together on their holidays.
Meet the pilots!
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.”
Fun family travel fact: did you know that over 1.5 million children fly with British Airways each year, and during the peak school holiday period alone the airline flies half a million young travellers.
Thank you, British Airways, for these anxiety-reducing tips for family travel!