Picture this scene: your treasured little bundle of joy cries so loud on a flight that windows could shatter. Other passengers give you cold stares as you walk (with shame) over to your seat. Flying with young children can be a stressful and unpredictable experience. If you want to avert disaster, here are a few tips to make your trip as smooth as possible.
Ask for preferential treatment in advance
Most airlines will be very understanding of your situation, especially with a young child. You can request front row seats (with the extra legroom) so you don’t need to disturb other passengers. Baby bassinets and airline approved car seats are also available on request. Just make sure to request these well in advance so proper arrangements can be made on the day.
Load your luggage with distractions for the little one. Download as many Netflix cartoons as you can and bring some lightweight toys and games for the journey, too. You can also never have enough wet wipes for all kinds of ‘accidents’. You might want to consider pull-up diapers just as a precaution.
Use the stroller service or terminal transport
There are plenty of reasons to love Hamad International Airport (which also snagged the Best Airport in the World title for 2019). Ask at the information desk near the big teddy bear (Lamp Bear by Urs Fischer) to provide you with a stroller to take up to your departure gate. You could also use the terminal transport (the little golf carts) to speed up your journey. The little one will probably even enjoy the ride.
Bring snacks and BUY water
Make sure to buy more water than you need before you board the plane. Sometimes it can be a long wait (especially as an economy passenger) and your child’s grumpiness could be eased if they are well-hydrated. Similarly, have lots of bite-sized snacks like small cheeses, grapes, chips and biscuits on hand so you don’t have to wait until after your plane departs. Invest in a tupperware box with separate compartments to save on space and packaging.
Schedule your vaccinations
If you’re travelling to any destination where vaccinations are required, then it’s probably best to check with your doctor when the best time to vaccinate your child would be. It’s best to avoid situations where the child might suffer from side effects such as fever, diarrhoea and other aches during your flight.
Pack lollipops and DUMMIES
Infant ears are particularly sensitive to the air pressure changes that come with altitude. Consider packing something for them to suck on, which will ease their pains and as a consequence, yours too.
Prepare some goodie bags
If you have a particularly boisterous child, your biggest worry might be the looks you get from fellow passengers. Launch a pre-prepared charm offensive by offering up some goodie bags and a “Thank you for your patience” note. It’s a nice, unexpected gesture and something that will definitely help if your child is having a mid-flight meltdown.
Use the bathroom before you board
This should go without saying but make sure you all have several bathroom breaks before you board the plane. Minimise that tiny percentage of risk of the bathroom being out of order for an hour just when your dear little one needs to go.
Prepare for the unexpected
You might be concerned about what your child will do on the flight and that’s a common concern. Just make sure in the midst of packing for your trip, and on the day, that you’ve got everything you need, too. Anything can happen on a flight, especially when you least expect it. It’s the safest bet to always be prepared for the unexpected.