Flying with children

Flying with Children – It’s not as scary as you think

Our little person LOVES to travel. She is just as passionate about it as Shawn and I are! Something else she’s crazy about? Flying! Flights can be a little nerve racking for adults. There’s so much to think about. Will we wake up on time for our flight? What if there’s heavy traffic on the way to the airport? I hope it’s a smooth flight. And Zee? The only thing on her mind is how cool it’s going to be sitting in the window seat; how awesome it is to be up in the fluffy clouds; how exciting it is to be going somewhere on holiday! I think she’s loved it since our trip to Cape Town way back in 2011.

Flying with children - Zee CT

Our first time flying with children … well, one child

The first time we flew somewhere with Zee, she was 18 months old. We were excited about going to Cape Town again, but we were also a little nervous about flying with a baby for the first time. Turns out though, we had nothing to worry about. Our little person looked around curiously at the strange, giant vehicle we were boarding; she was all smiles; she was pretty pleased that we gave her a jelly sweet to munch on when the plane took off; she slept a bit; by the time we landed she was up and ready to explore this place she’d not seen before. 🙂

That same year, there were two more return flights with Zee, both to Durban and back. The first of those flights, it was just her and I. Shawn had to drive (work reasons) and would meet us there that evening. Zee was a year and 8 months at the time. Fortunately for this very paranoid mommy, everything went well. Shawn had taken our luggage, which meant a quick, smooth check in at OR Thambo International, and zero stress on the other side as well. The following flights to and from Durban were (thankfully) equally uneventful. See, it’s really not as daunting as you may think.

Okay, but what about longer flights?

It was December 2012, and we could barely contain our excitement! We were also quietly nervous… You see, we were about to leave on our first international family holiday, and we had no idea how the 11 hour flight to Paris would go down with our 3 year old! We soon discovered that the night time flight was an excellent idea, as she fell asleep less than an hour after takeoff, and slept blissfully for 8 hours! She woke up happy, recharged, and ready for this exciting new adventure.

It went so well in fact, that we decided to do it again the following December. I’m happy to report that we had the same excellent result on that 11 hour flight to Amsterdam (yay!). The only slightly uncomfortable thing about those flights was me squishing myself into the corner in order for Zee to sleep across her seat and mine. I’d do it every time, if it meant a happy, well rested kiddo on a long flight.

A few of my tips for flying with children

  1. When booking long/international flights, try to book flights that leave at night. This is bedtime, which means you‘ll most likely have a well rested, bright eyed and bushy tailed little person when you arrive at your destination, instead of a restless, cranky one.
  2. If you’re flying with a baby/babies, do a final nappy change right before you have to board the plane. A clean and comfortable baby = a happy baby = no tears (from baby or mommy 😂).
  3. When it’s time for the plane to take off, as well as when it’s going to land, have your baby on the boob, bottle, or pacifier to help prevent pain or discomfort. For babies who are a little older/toddlers, chewy snacks will work.
  4. Don’t forget to take one of their favourite plushies for them to cuddle while they sleep on the plane, or while sitting in their stroller and taking in the sights.
  5. A fully charged tablet comes in handy especially during daytime flights, and when there aren’t any movies showing that they’re particularly interested in watching.
  6. When flying to Europe for example, departing from South Africa in Summer, pack a set of warm clothes in your hand luggage. Once the plane has landed, you can quickly get your little one warm, snuggly, and ready for Winter, before you even set foot inside the airport.

Flying with children - Zee Paris

Travelstart’s Top Tips

It’s always nice to hear what those in the actual business of flights and travel have to say on the subject. So I think it’s great that Travelstart has put together a handy list of their top tips on flying with children.

Flying with children

They also spoke to parents who’ve flown with kids about their experiences, and the tips they’ve picked up along the way.

Travelstart has been our go to site whenever we’ve planned a trip. Just last year we found ourselves needing last minute tickets to Cape Town, so of course I was back on on the website looking for the best deals. We really like the convenience of being able to compare flights from different airlines all on one page. Give them a try when you’re planning to go on an adventure to a new place with your little ones. Where would you go next?

South African Mommy BloggerDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Two Tiny Hands
One Messy Mama

19 thoughts on “Flying with Children – It’s not as scary as you think

  1. Spirited Mama says:

    A little travel blogger in the making? well said on the tips. We try to coordinate trips around naptime for Troll. Dudie has always been a great traveller. But WHY do kids always want to use the bathroom or have a nappy change on the aeroplane?

  2. Eva Katona says:

    We travel a lot with these two and Ibalso travel with them on my own (short haul only!) the first time with a 1yo and a 3 yo was very very very scary, but the more we did it, the less scary it became. I’m off with them this weekend again! I’m more scared of the transit time then the flying. (And I’m very nervous flyer!) #familyfunlinky

  3. Donna says:

    Great tips! We’re flying to France for the first time with 2 of them in a few months. It’s a tiny flight, but i’m still nervous about it! #familyfunlinky

  4. Tammymum says:

    We flew with our baby for the first time when she was 6 months old and it was totally fine. Since then we have flown countless times with her and her brother – there is only 11 months between them so it cn be busy but we still do it. I think they’re so used to it and have done it so much it doesn’t really bother them. Sometimes its not always plain sailing but to be honest most of the time it has been much less scary than you might think. WE’re yet to fly 11 hours though! One day… Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  5. Mrs Jibril says:

    just the thought of traveling with kids can be so stressful, but honestly it usually turns out smoother than expected. we travelled with my son when he was 5 months old from Australia to Kenya and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be then I had the courage to travel alone with him when he was 18 months old on a long flight from Kenya to Australia. #globalblogging

  6. Heather Keet says:

    I love your post and it couldn’t have come at a better time. My parents are bringing my two small nieces to visit me in two weeks, it’s a 6 hour flight and they are nervous. I’m passing these tips along to them! #GlobalBlogging

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much Heather! I’m so glad you’ve found my tips helpful, and I hope they help your folks on the upcoming flight. ?

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