Tips for flying with children

Being in a confined space with a noisy child can be awkward for parents and irritating to fellow flyers. SUE BOTES of British Airways has these tips for easing the journey

    Plan ahead.  You can order children’s meals online and reserve bassinets for infants from the BA link on family travel

   Take advantage of all the concessions offered to families, such as being allowed to take strollers to the door of the aircraft when boarding. Families get priority when boarding and you can wait until other passengers have disembarked before doing so with your family;

   The pressurisation in passenger aircraft is likely to be your child’s main source of discomfort. During ascent and descent, give the child food or drink to trigger their swallowing reflex, which will help their ears equalise.

   Sweet treats with artificial colourants can cause hyperactivity. Chewy snacks like biltong or dried fruit will help with pressurising their ears while limiting the spikes in blood-sugar that can result in tantrums. Rooibos tea can be a good alternative to fizzy drinks and while it’s good to keep the child hydrated, don’t overdo it as this can result in nappy-changes and trips to the toilet;

   Pack snacks for the kids to supplement on board meals;

  Gift-wrap treasured toys and present them when the child gets bored. Avoid Lego blocks that can fall in hard-to-reach places and toy guns or knives, for obvious reasons;

   Mobile devices can be a boon for parents on a long-haul flight. Headphones are useful for movies, music, apps and games, but crayons and paper are evergreen favourites;

   Don’t seat kids on the aisle, as they may bump passing trolleys, which have hard edges and hot water.

    You’ll need the basics – wipes, nappies, sanitisers and so on – but don’t over-pack as you have to carry it all.

   The aircrew are your allies so don’t be reluctant to ask for help.