Bon Voyage!

Traveling with kids can be stressful during any travel season, but knowing what to expect and being prepared definitely puts you ahead of the game.

Boy on a Plane

No one knows travel like a flight attendant, here's a list of dos and don'ts, compiled from survey results of American Airlines' network to help the entire family make the most of the summer travel

Keep your child calm during the flight by;

  •  Discussing the travel process with your child before the trip.
  • Read books or watch movies about airplanes and airports with your children to familiarize them with the sights and sounds, security procedures and appropriate behavior. Knowing about turbulence and air pressure changes will ensure that your child doesn't become frightened in flight.
  • Introducing your child to crew members before the flight begins. Some airlines allow families to pre-board, giving you extra time to get your family settled and meet the crew members on board.
  • Bringing something familiar. A favorite blanket or stuffed animal will comfort children who are fearful or nervous.

Don't let your child become bored. Keep children engaged by;

  • Bringing activity, coloring or reading books for you and your child to enjoy together. Books about airplanes or travel can help children identify things they will likely see during your trip.
  • Wrapping small, inexpensive gifts to be opened periodically throughout the flight. The novelty of a surprise toy or book will last longer than familiar toys, and when it finally wears off…time to open a new one!
  • Embracing technology. DVD players and portable video games will keep children occupied for hours. Don't forget the headsets!
  • Getting creative! American Airlines flight attendants have witnessed some great families at work — learning origami together, having a picnic and doing each other's hair and makeup.

Do keep your child safe and healthy by;

  • Bringing an approved car seat for younger children and keeping them in their seat and buckled at all times.
  • Leaving your child's socks and shoes on during the flight.
  • Packing any medications your child may need in your carry-on, including pain relievers and decongestants to assist with depressurizing sinuses during take-off and descent.
  • Seating children in window or middle seats when possible. Aisle traffic is disruptive to children and flight crew may not be able to see over food and beverage carts.

Don't forget the basics. Make sure your family is prepared by;

  •  Packing sanitary wipes, a change of clothes (for kids and adults) and a blanket or sweater in your carry-on.
  • Bringing a small selection of your child's favorite food and drinks on board. Children can get cranky when they're hungry or dehydrated, and flight crews have a limited selection or refreshments on board.
  • Traveling at the best time of day for you. Correspond flights with nap times if possible. Otherwise, early morning or late night flights tend to be quieter, less crowded and less disruptive to children's schedules.

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Comments on "Just plane fun: Keep your kids calm & busy on flights"

momtothree September 12, 2013 | 6:28 AM

Dear CC! You must not have kids, that's all I can say. I wish you have a "well" behave child on your own one day, then we will see how you dare come here and write things like this. your comment made me laugh hard!

KT January 14, 2013 | 8:33 AM

Dearest CC, All I can say is you disgust me! How dare you. What if the child gets sick on the flight? This does happen with all the germs that are on a plane...regularly. If a child is out of sorts NO PARENT can control the behaviour of their child. Quite often well behaved children behave badly on flights for various different reasons.... Such as: they have been flying for many hours to visit their grandparents and they are tired and cranky, or they are only a toddler and they are going through their terrible twos. In the GOOD OLD DAYS when children were taught to be seen and not heard...they didn't fly, they didn't go out for dinner so the tantrums were contained at home and all parents denied bad behaviour. So get your head out of your arse and feel sorry for the parents who are trying to keep their children quiet on the flight. Show them some respect. Trust me they are hating it more than you. This site was to help parents not to abuse them.

Silva September 12, 2012 | 8:21 AM

I'm traveling to Florida next month w my two little bambinos and I was a little nervous since my kids are very young. My son is 3 and my doughter is 1. I feel so at ease now after I read all these helpful articles. Thanks soo much for awsome advice!!

CC July 15, 2012 | 2:24 PM

Any reasonable person knows that babies and children will not remain silent on an airplane. The sort of situation that irks most people is when a child is continuously disruptive by crying, yelling, screaming, etc. In this case, the behavior is probably pervasive. Something is wrong with that level of disruption occurs and the parent should be held responsible. I've traveled a lot and only a handful of times have I encountered a situation where I would deem that a child is out of control. In those instances, the family should be removed from the plane just as an out-of-control adult would be removed from an aircraft. Parenting skills are lacking in modern-day America and parents need to realize that so many of these behavior problems are preventable. Airline officials should have the authority to act when they believe the situation is intolerable.

Momslifesavers March 19, 2010 | 11:34 AM

I like this lists a lot. My suggestions include; 1. Book non-stop flights whenever possible. 2. Rent a carseat when you get to your destination. Keep your child on your lap. 3. Skycap your luggage when you arrive at airport. 4. For Mom, wear a backpack to be hands FREE! Enjoy!

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