Booking your Family Flights

Flying has become an integral part of most holidays and unless you are driving or sailing to your destination, you are more than likely going to be boarding a plane. When it comes to flying, there are a whole host of things to remember, even more so when it comes to flying with young children. However, with a little preparation you and your family can look forward to a stress-free flight and a great start to a memorable holiday.

To help you prepare your next family flight we have put together a few useful tips to try and make your journey run as smoothly as possible.

Understand Airfares and Infant Regulations

Finding an airline that suits your requirements and budget is important for a stress-free flight as fares and regulations can vary, especially when it comes to young children. Many airlines offer free travel to babies and toddlers, however, this is not always the case and so it is worth checking before booking.

For infants sitting on your lap, many airlines will charge a percentage fee rather than a full ticket price. Generally, but not always, this will be 10% of an adult fare whilst others allow children under the age of two to fly for free.

For an additional seat, some airlines charge 75% of an adult fare, although in many cases if your infant is aged over 2-years old they must occupy their own seat at the full adult rate.

When it comes to airline luggage allowances, most major airlines allow a pushchair and car seat, although it is worth checking with your chosen airline in advance.

To help you make sense of these varying rates and regulations, Skyscanner have produced a checklist to help you find the flights which best suits your family’s needs.

Arriving at the airport

Follow the age-old advice of arriving at the airport a few hours before your flight. This allows plenty of time to check-in, pass security and explore the airport with your little ones so they can stretch their legs before boarding the plane (and hopefully sleep throughout the flight).

Selecting your seats in advance can help ensure the family sits together, although it is worth noting some airlines will only allow 1 child per row, so be sure to check this before booking. Most airlines offer families free priority boarding to allow you to get settled comfortably before other passengers board the plane.

Packing for the flight

Plan and plan some more! It is a great idea to write a list of the “Top 10” most important things you’ll need when it comes to packing for your flight. This will depend upon the age of your children and alongside the usual baby wipes, nappies and extra warm clothing you might also want to bring along a “kiddie case”. These are brilliant to pack all your essentials and fun for the little ones to sit on whilst being dragged to the departure lounge. Alternatively, a backpack is perfect for having free hands for holding passports/boarding passes ready.

Buckle up!

As your family are settling into their seats, it is worth grabbing a few essentials from your hand luggage whilst the seat belt signs are still on. A small bag containing a milk bottle, sugar-free lollies, sick bags and baby-wipes can be a saviour in cases of turbulence.

Booking flight times that coincide with your children’s bedtime may be a blessing in disguise. As they get comfortable in their seats with their favourite blanket and teddy bear, there may be a good chance they drift off to the land of nod.

Preparing for take-off

It’s important to consider children’s sensitive ears, as changes in air pressure within the cabin can cause some discomfort.

Encourage babies to suck on a bottle whilst small children can suck sugar-free sweets. Teach older children to hold their nostrils, close their mouth and try blowing out through their closed nose. This trick makes the ears “pop” providing a calming sense of relief.

During the flight

For a stress-free flight, make flying fun! Pack a phone or tablet (be sure it’s fully charged) and download your children’s favourite games and cartoons. Many kids love drawing, so pencils and colouring books are a great addition too. Keep hunger at bay with healthy snacks, skipping foods high in sugar, so your little ones remain calm whilst also avoiding too many fluids or it’ll be up and down to the toilet all flight!

The window seat is perfect for children as you can point out landmarks during your flight, such as the Nou Camp on UK flights to Majorca, or enjoy role-playing games imagining you’re the pilot and crew. Alternatively, bring along a wrapped gift. It may be their favourite toy, food or something new, whatever you chose, the idea of opening a present will excite them and distract them from boredom of long flights.

Flying with your children can be an enjoyable part of your holiday and by making the journey fun and comfortable, encourages a love of flying and an inspires future travel.