Posted on : 09-10-2010 | By : Brian | In : Holidays To Thailand
The thought of flying with children can leave some people with a chill running down their spine, especially if the child is not yours and just happens to have the seat in front, behind or beside you. These worries are the main reason many people holiday in their home country or a driving holiday, but it doesn’t have to be that bad if you plan well for it. I have gathered some information from friends, forums and from my own experience and with this post and the next few in this catagory I’ll try and pass on as many hints and tips as I can.
All airlines use the same criteria when determining how much your child will be charged for flying with them, 0-2yo is an infant, 3-11yo is a child and 12yo upwards is a full adult when it comes to pricing. Infants will not be given a seat therefore the cost will be either zero or up to about 10% of the adult ticket. This will differ from one airline to the next so check what each has to offer you as a travelling parent of an infant. Children will be given there own seat and can be charged anywhere between 50-80% of the adult ticket, again this will change with airlines so check prices of a few different ones. Once your little ones reach 12 they will be paying full adult prices for them, so take advantage of their younger years and fly early.
I have travelled with children on long haul flights to Thailand when they were as young as 3 months and have learned something new on every trip but the overall piece of advice I can give is to prepare for your trip in advance and make it like a military operation, at some point it may feel like you are in a battle. Be early for everything! Be the first at check in, be the first at the departure gate, be the first to get on the aeroplane, be the first to get overhead luggage space near you.
If your child is in the infant bracket it’s best to book your flight early and make sure you get the bulk head seat to book your bassinette, or they will be on your lap the whole flight. They may be there anyway but should they fall asleep you have somewhere to put them.
Direct flights are always best if you can get them if not think about what time you will be stopping and what your little one will be like at that time. Now if your little one is an infant this is no problem but if they are older they will not thank you for that midnight stroll around some airport in the Middle East.
Taking off and landing will be the most stressful time for your children so plan for that. Make sure they have a dummy to chew on, a bottle to drink from or some lollies and sweets to suck on. This will help with equalising the pressure in the ears naturally. For younger children and infants it may be best to try and give them some Calpol to help with and ear pain but I’ve never found that to be necessary, yet!
During The Flight make sure you have a large pack of wipes for all those accidents and if with an infant ensure you have enough bottles, nappies and changes of clothing for a 24 hour period. If the child is young enough have them in baby grows the whole trip this will be the easiest way to change and it also protects them from the cold AC on flights. It may also be an idea to pack a light change of clothing for yourself as well, projectile vomit is not a very good ‘arrival loung’ look this year, or any year.
Infant food on airlines is a complicated issue these days so any advice given here is best checked first with the airline. When me and my wife travelled with our children we had with us a supply of ready made formula milk in cartons, some people have said they take the powder and get hot water while on the aeroplane to make up the bottles but we thought that would be a hassle. We found sterilised disposable bottles, so all we had to do was open the packet pour the milk into the bottle and get the stewardess to heat it for a few seconds, but as it was he was happy to have the milk without heating, so happy days.
I’ll stop now as this is getting a long post but in conclusion I would say you should really try and relax and prepare for your fight as much as you can. It will be stressful, especially if your little one cries a lot during the flight, but a crying baby is stressfull when not on a flight so do what you would do normally to sooth the baby. If the children are older then distraction works best but that is for another post.
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