There is flying with kids and then long-haul flying with kids as well. Some amount of time in a small enclosed tube flying with little ones across the sky can be a challenge.
The challenge on a two- or three-hour flight, however, is much different than on one that needs up to 18 hours of travel, such as what ‘s required on the world’s current longest route that extends 9,500 miles from New York to Singapore. Think of what you’ve done in the last 18 hours — likely to sleep, go to work, take the places for the kids, cook, eat, work out, watch TV, etc. Just imagine spending the entire amount of time sitting next to your child in an airplane seat.
If you’re flying with kids, here are 10 survival tips and tricks for you
1. Fly at Night
A flight lasting 12 + hours, no matter what you do, will include several daytime hours. Yet need to plan a chunk of your long haul flight at night if possible. Even if your kid only sleeps during the “night” for five or six hours, that still brings you thousands of miles closer to your destination. The perfect flight leaves about 7 pm or 8 pm in the evening. Most possibly, after takeoff with the lights on, there will be an hour or two of meal service, and then the flight is lights-out before close landing.
2. Power Up
We probably don’t have to warn you to make sure that all electronic devices are fully charged, but even a fully charged battery can last little longer than a couple of hours. Not every seat has practical in-flight charging capabilities so it’s a very good idea to carry a backup charger.
3. Changes of Clothes
Don’t board a long-haul flight for every member of the family without a conveniently accessible fast change of clothes. I suggest having large, clear Ziploc bags and placing a full (labelled) change of clothes into a specific baggie for each person. This makes them quick to grab and the baggie can double as isolation for any dirty clothes that need to be contained. While you are at it, pack some “air sickness bags” and wipes within easy reach, too.
4. Pack Extra Snacks
Long-haul travel is a different kind of ballgame and you need to pack like you are going into the forest. That does not mean packing the sink in the kitchen, but it does mean bringing things strategically that will keep your kids happy and full.
Aucello reminds us that airplane food (especially in economy) is not the most appetizing on long-haul flights, so it is important to carry an abundance of snacks in case your child fails to eat (or is asleep) during meal service. She also suggests putting in a couple of “treats” to remind them to travel.
5. Use a bassinet or car seat
A standard old airplane seat may not be the best choice for long hours of travelling with young travellers. Many families within the TPG Family Facebook Group advocate using a car seat for younger kids to make long-haul travel more convenient. If your travelling companion is a baby, you’ll probably want to reserve the seats in the bassinet, so call for those to be secured when you book your ticket, as they’re in limited supply.