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Flying with kids: 
9 tips for an enjoyable trip

Never flown with kids before? Or perhaps the last time you flew with them did not go as well as you had hoped? With a little planning and preparation, you and your kids can enjoy your flight together.

Travelling by plane is often the easiest, most comfortable, and fastest way to get around, but when travelling with little ones, it's wise to do a little advanced planning. Here are our nine top tips for when you're flying with kids. 

Flying with kids Many people dread travelling with kids, but there's no reason to. When travelling with kids, check out our top tips to make your trip a walk in the park. A father holding his young son and looking out at a plane parked at a boarding gate A father pushing a loaded luggage trolley with his daughter sitting on top A girl holding her favourite cuddly toy, a rabbit, on her head A father and mother holding a little boy and laughing as they make their way through an airport A girl walking with a rucksack and holding the hand of a grown-up Two pilots sitting and smiling inside a cockpit A brother and sister smiling and looking at the same mobile phone Two kids travelling unaccompanied are met by a stewardess when boarding a plane
With a little preparation, flying can be a walk in the park for both adults and kids.

1. Don't forget to eat

Know the feeling when your stomach's rumbling, it's been too long since you last ate, and you can feel you're not as patient as you usually are? Kids feel the same way too! Bring a packed lunch with you or go to a restaurant at the airport and fill your stomachs with food. You'll then all have a little more energy and be in a good mood to enjoy the flight.

If there are several hours between meals, consider pre-ordering your in-flight meals. You’ll then have something to look forward to during the flight and can keep your blood sugar levels stable until your next meal.

Read more about food on board

A father pushing a loaded luggage trolley with his daughter sitting on top
With a little food and drink to line the stomach, everyone has a little more patience for the flight.

2. Pack smart for both kids and adults

Kids can pack their own backpack with things to keep them occupied. What do kids most like doing? For shorter trips, one or two items for entertainment can suffice, such as a tablet and drawing materials. If you're going on a longer trip, it's wise to pack a few more items. Perhaps you also have room for a surprise or two in a backpack that you can bring out when boredom sets in?

Don't forget to take your kid's favourite teddy! It can be heartbreaking if your best friend has been packed in the suitcase and not in the backpack. 

For you adults – don't forget to put your passports, travel documents and house keys in your hand luggage. Pack all valuables and everything you need for the first few hours in your hand luggage – to avoid any issues in case your checked baggage is not readily available on the conveyor belt when you arrive.

A girl holding her favourite cuddly toy, a rabbit, on her head
Your kid's favourite teddy must of course be in the hand luggage

3. Give your kids extra space

It can sometimes feel a little cramped on board a plane. But doing what you can to create some extra space for the little ones can be helpful. Raising the armrest between your seats and tilting the seat slightly back creates extra space for little bodies that can find sitting still for several hours somewhat boring.

4. Keep moving

It’s important for us adults to keep moving, but it’s even more important to keep kids physically active. Sitting for long periods can make both adults and kids restless in their legs, so it's wise for you to keep moving during the flight. Walk up and down the aisle – but remember that young kids should not go by themselves and should have someone with them.

A father and mother holding a little boy and laughing as they make their way through an airport
When flying, it's beneficial for both adults and kids to keep their legs moving to avoid becoming restless.

5. Bring along your kid's favourite book

When everything else is boring, having a good book up your sleeve can come in handy. You can read the book together, look at the pictures and disappear into another world. The book will come in particularly useful if you're flying late or around the child's regular bedtime – you can get your child to settle down and relax with familiar routines. 

For slightly older kids, we recommend audiobooks – they can listen to the audiobook while drawing, keeping both their minds and hands occupied.

A girl walking with a rucksack and holding the hand of a grown-up
Remember to pack a book that you can read together - it will make the flight go by a little faster

6. Say hello to the crew members on board

If you’re allowed to board the plane before the other passengers, you can ask if your child can have a quick peek inside the cockpit. If they have enough time, the cockpit crew might say hello and perhaps even show your child some of the controls. The cabin crew is keen to ensure that everyone has a pleasant journey, so make sure you say an extra-friendly hello to them. During the flight, you and your child can talk about how the plane works and you can look at the uniforms the cabin crew are wearing. How many of them are wearing scarves? How many wheels do you think the plane has?

Two pilots sitting and smiling inside a cockpit
By using a few easy tips and tricks, you can easily make the flight an enjoyable experience for your child. He or she might even get to meet the captain!

7. Pre-book your seats

Avoid the stress of choosing a seat by booking in advance. With pre-booked seats, you’re guaranteed to sit together, and you can choose the row that suits you best. Kids should sit by the window and not by the aisle, so that arms and legs are not in the way when the cabin crew pass by with the trolley. 

They will also have a window to look out of. Maybe you could show your child a map before you fly? You can talk about the places you’re flying over. You might even spot a city down below. If you’re travelling with two adults and two kids, it might be a good idea to spread out across two rows so that each child gets their own window.

Read more about seat reservation

8. Minimise the time for boredom

You might need one extra trick to keep your youngest child occupied during the flight. Play "Kim's Game" by getting the child to study six objects on the tray table in front of you. Ask your child to close their eyes while you remove one of the objects. Is your child able to spot which object you have removed? Then swap roles.

Another popular game that doesn't require much equipment is "I spy." In this game, you start by giving your child the first letter of an item you can see on board the plane, and your child then has to guess what this item is. 

And remember – have a fully charged tablet or phone with games that your child can play offline. The flight might not be the place to limit screen time.

A brother and sister smiling and looking at the same mobile phone
Having a fully charged mobile phone or tablet makes the flight a lot easier. This will keep your child occupied for longer.

9. Our best packing tips for hand luggage

When travelling with kids, we recommend packing the following in your hand luggage:

  • A carrier bag for collecting rubbish
  • An empty water bottle to fill up after the security check
  • Sweets or a baby bottle to prevent ear discomfort
  • Noise-cancelling earphones
  • A fully charged phone or tablet
  • Wet wipes for spills and sticky hands
  • Hand sanitiser for hands after going to the toilet
  • A blanket or large scarf in case they get cold
  • A downloaded audiobook or music
  • Snacks and water
  • Stickers, a favourite book and colouring pencils
  • A ballpoint pen – because it’s always handy to have one with you
Two kids travelling unaccompanied are met by a stewardess when boarding a plane
The less time your child has to get bored, the better the flight will go.

With a little extra planning from both adults and kids, your next flight together will be a walk in the park. Welcome on board!

Find tickets for your family's next trip on the low fare calendar.