Friday, 8 June 2018

Top Tips for First Time Flying with Children

First Time Flying with Children Child running on an airport walkway. I recently flew with my son abroad for the first time and I was really nervous about how he would take to it and if we would encounter problems. I needn't have worried, he was absolutely fine and it all went pretty smoothly, leaving me wishing I'd done it years ago. I was never brave enough to take mine abroad when they were small, but I really wish I had, as it's such an amazing experience for them. If you're thinking of taking a foreign holiday with your little one, I have got together with some brilliant parent bloggers to create the ultimate guide for first time flying with children. It's everything you didn't know you needed to know!

Don’t stress out and be organised

I used to be so worried if my daughter would scream on the plane but she was good as gold when we did our first long haul. My youngest however screamed the plane down when she went on her first flight to Ireland.. but babies cry. Don’t worry about what others around you think. Organisation is also key! Jenna, from Then There Were Three

Feed them during take off and landing

It helps distract them and helps with their ears and the change in pressure as well. Had such an easy flight with my youngest (he was under a year at the time) when we flew to Santorini due to listening to this advice Emma-Louise, from Even Angels Fall

Put together a fun pack of things they haven't seen before 

e.g new colouring book, new game etc. Make sure it's full of their favourite snacks too! Lyndsey, from Me, Him the Dog and a Baby

Take some sealable plastic bags 

For emergency nappy changes, dirty bibs or any vomit emergencies that may happen which you can clean up and tidy away when you can’t get to a bin or toilet during the flight, take of or landing. Emma from, Ready, Freddie Go

Try to work it around so it’s their nap time

 My eldest was 1 when he first flew and slept the whole flight both there and back Michaela, from Adventures of a Yorkshire Mum

Some airlines allow two free baby items

So my suggestion would be a travel cot if you have one as your baby will be familiar with it and a pushchair - great for carrying all your beach stuff as well as a baby! You can normally hire a car seat with the car rental company and many taxi services provide them. Victoria, from Verily Victoria Vocalises

Get them involved 

So they understand how the whole airport and plane process works. It can be confusing and scary for a child if they don’t know what’s coming. Explain to them what each step is and what it’s for (check in, security/x-ray, gate, boarding, takeoff, landing, customs etc). Also, if it’s a long flight, consider squeezing one of their own pillows into a carry-on bag - something familiar and comforting for them. Tim, from Slouching Towards Thatcham

Let them wander

Emma, from Emma Reed suggests allowing little ones to walk up and down the aisle to stretch their legs and prevent boredom. A great idea and it works, but they may fall in love and not want to go back to their seat for landing, this is my son and his 'new friend' who was besotted with him all the way home from Amsterdam!

A little girl sitting on an older boy's lap looking out of an aeroplane window.

Be prepared to walk slowly 

Having always rushed everywhere in airports, it took some getting used to walking at a child’s pace to the departure lounge! Alice, from Living with a Jude

If they’re old enough, prepare them before you go

By watching or reading something to explain the whole airport process. My kids watched the Peppa Pig ‘Holiday’ episode and read a book about airports, and loved finding the things they had seen in real life. Michelle, from Sandy Toes and Scooters 

Research the airport yourself before you fly 

To see if there is anything child friendly to do, like a play area, or shop they can buy a comic, or an autism friendly scheme, if appropriate. Helena, from Babyfoote

Don’t over-pack 

You don’t need 78 nappies and that squeaky toy your child has never touched - the last thing you need is to have to fish through a massive bag in a confined space just to get a snack. Be prepared, but also be within reason! Kirsty, from Life with Boys

Take a few lollipops in your carry on 

For older children to suck on during take off/landing to help with their ears popping. It’s a great distractions too Beth, from Twinderelmo

Don’t forget the flight home 

Keep some toys or entertainment separate so that they’re busy on the way back too, it’s so easy to concentrate on your initial flight but the one home is just as tiring with kids. Emily, from Babies and Beauty

Get a Lapbaby belt! 

It lets your baby sit comfortably on your lap and holds them securely leaving your hands free. I use mine during the flight - much more comfortable than the one they lend you! Petra, from A Mum Reviews

One thing I learned from our recent adventure is that airlines often offer special arrangements for children, such as priority boarding, and can even help with nervous flyers, so it's worth getting in touch with them ahead of time to find out what's available. 

My last piece of advice is to relax and go with the flow as much as you can. Leave plenty of time for everything, to minimise stress, and keep an eye on the announcement boards for any changes that may affect your schedule. Your stress will quickly become their stress, so keeping things calm will really help.

Happy Flying!! 

Top Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash


  1. Some really great advice here. Letting them wander around so they can stretch their legs can work wonders if you are trying to get them to settle.

  2. Distraction is definitely the key I think being prepared and having a back of activities to keep them busy is a must - some really good tips here!

  3. There are some really great tips and blogs in your article. I always advise parents to take calpol on board as well, you can get them in a sachet now!

  4. I still remember my mum flying with us on an international flight - she was full of stickers that my 2-year-old had put all over her face x

  5. Great tips, keeping them occupied and trying to work it around nap time really helps x

  6. Great tips here. It has been years since we have been on a plane. My Daughter has never been on one yet. We are hoping to take her soon :)

  7. I am really lucky that mine love flying but taking lots for them to do is always key for a peaceful flight

  8. We went on a plane for the first time last year with mine and it was really good fun! We took lollipops for their ears

  9. I think these are all really useful, doable and solid tips for flying with kids - even when you have done it before still good to read and remind yourself - and yes to being organised but not stressed

    Laura x


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