A purser’s advice when flying with children
Plan your journey
It pays to play your trip in advance. Pack a bag with a few toys such as Lego or an activity book that your child can play with. Children should preferably not be in the aisle when cabin crew are serving food or drinks. The cabin crew will be handling hot food and drinks that could burn or scald a child. Taking a fully charged iPad is a good idea, but don't forget headphones so passengers around you aren't disturbed.
Change of clothing
If your child will be sitting in your lap during takeoff and landing, they can get too hot if they have on too many layers. A lightweight cotton hoodie can be worth bringing, as the air conditioning onboard can make a baby feel chilly.
Who gets the window seat?
In the case of families with several children, there's often a discussion about who should sit by the window. Raise this issue before you travel and agree that one child sits by the window on the way out and the other on the way back. Or that they switch places on a shift system.
Bring any food and medicines you need
You can experience delays. In the worst instance, you may have to sit in the aircraft for a while. Bring some fruit, vegetables, snacks and water. Some children are fussy eaters and don't want inflight food with salad. But remember there won't be a microwave or fridge on board the aircraft. We heat food in water baths which takes time. Nor do we have milk onboard. You’re allowed to pack necessary medicines in your hand baggage.
Remember to pack chewing gum for older children and baby bottles for younger children. If your child has a cold, they can suffer earache on takeoff and landing. Nasal sprays and painkillers ease discomfort. The cabin crew can also provide a “cupping glass for ears”. This consists of paper in a cup that they pour hot water over. The steam soothes earache.
Family time onboard
Use the time onboard for family bonding. Bring travel sets of ludo, chess or other games with magnetic pieces that you can play together.
Lower your shoulders
Sometimes children cry. Don't worry about anyone giving you a dirty look. For safety reasons, children must wear a seatbelt during takeoff and landing no matter how much they cry. Explain to children, preferably ahead of time, that the captain has decided that everyone must sit still when the fasten seatbelt sign is on.
Text: Inga Ragnhild Holst
Published: June 12, 2017