Flying with little ones can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re a nervous traveller yourself, however we’ve put together some great advice, tips and things to think about not only during your journey, but also in preparation for it…
Before you Fly
Can you child fly?
This can vary according to the airline you’re travelling with. Some airlines allow children to fly from two days old, others from two weeks -your GP may have to provide a letter to prove your baby is fit to fly. Bear in mind that most airlines require one adult to accompany each infant and you you are flying long haul, check that your baby is old enough to have the necessary vaccinations – babies under 2 months can’t take anti malaria medication, and under 6 months can’t be vaccinated against yellow fever.
Your child will need have their own passport to travel – make sure that you apply in plenty of time as this will take three weeks (more during busy times of the year) and costs £46. It’s worth using the Post Office check and send service to ensure that you’ve filled in everything correctly and the photos you’ve used are acceptable – there’s nothing worse than having the forms returned and being back at square one, especially if your departure date is looming!
Will your child need their own seat?
Babies up to 24 months can travel on your lap at no additional cost and you’ll be provided with an extension seatbelt.
Should you wish to book a seat with a bassinet/carrycot, check the airlines size restrictions as these may vary. You can do this for little ones under 12 months, but check the individual airline’s restrictions.
For children aged 6 months to 4 years, you can reserve them their own child seat through the airline. These need to be booked in advance and will often be next to the window to avoid blocking other passengers. When booking these seats, make sure to request a child meal if that’s an option as the airlines don’t often do this automatically.
On the Plane
What can you take on the plane?
Infants (up to 2 years) as lap babies, or in bassinets.
You can take one bag for the items that your infant may require during the flight and you may also be able to take:
- One fully-collapsible pushchair
- One car seat
- A small, fully-collapsible pushchair can be wheeled to the aircraft door and then stowed in the hold (check with your airline)
Children (over 2) who have their own seat
They have the same allowance for hand luggage and checked luggage as you do.
Keeping your child entertained
Teach them about the destination
- Get your child to become an expert on continents, countries and cities with Lonely Planet’s Amazing World Atlas app
- Teach your children how to say “hello”, “thank you” and “goodbye” in the language of your destination
- Teach them about local foods – and encourage them to try
- Children love taking pictures, so let them have their own camera. Some of the best holiday photos come from a child’s eye view!
Music and books
- Load your MP3 player with your child’s favourite songs and consider audiobooks
- Don’t forget headphones – look for ones suitable for children, with low volume specification to protect their ears
- Tablets, apps and electronic games can be a great distraction on a plane. Download TV show episodes, films, and games and make sure apps can be played offline