Tips for travelling with children
With summer vacations nearing, you may be keen to experience a family holiday. So, whether you are reuniting with loved ones, exploring a new city, revisiting a favourite destination or simply craving an international escape, Emirates shares top tips to ensure holidaying with your young flyers is as smooth as possible. From 5,000 channels of award-winning inflight entertainment, regionally-inspired gourmet cuisine, and a wealth of activity packs for children, Emirates makes Economy Class feel like an upgrade.
WHEN BOOKING YOUR FLIGHT
Schedule your flights with your child’s daily routine – where possible, try and schedule your flight times to suit their daily routine. For instance:
DON’T opt for a late-night departure or overnight flight, thinking your kids will sleep through. They may not with all the excitement and noise, and you will be doubly exhausted
DO try to plan a flight departure to fit in between mealtimes or naps as this can help reduce the chance of tantrums
DO try to make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep for morning flights, to avoid sleep-deprived meltdowns occurring
Choose your seats wisely – if you can, always book your baby a bassinette or choose bulkhead seats (these have no seat in front of them so that no one can recline into your space, enabling your children to have more room to play)
Select children’s meals – do not forget to opt for children’s meals when booking your tickets.
Emirates offers both baby and children (between the ages of 2 and 12 years) meal options, including a range of organic Ella’s Kitchen baby meals. A selection of prepared baby meals is available on board as well as classic kids’ favourites
Transfers – Plan and book your airport transfers arranged in advance, particularly if you require car seats. It will be a relief to avoid waiting in taxi queues and not having to worry about the safety element at the end of a long trip
PRIOR TO BOARDING
Explain the security process – Security screening can be confusing for children, with having to load their special things onto the conveyor belt and be separated (albeit very briefly) from their parents to go through the scanner. Try to explain ahead of time what they should expect and offer plenty of praise on the other side for doing such a great job
Be buggy clever – If you want to take your pram through the airport, consider investing in a folding variety that can be taken on board the plane as a carry -on, this will help at the other end when you need to be able to put your tired youngster straight into the pram
Go sugar-free with your children’s travel snacks. It is a good idea to always carry healthy, protein-filled snacks with you in case of unexpected delays or moving between time zones. Your little one’s body clock and appetite may be affected, and they may not be hungry when meals are served. Avoiding a ‘hangry’ meltdown in the line at customs is in everyone’s interest!
DO encourage them to take little sips of water as often as possible, as dehydration can exacerbate jetlag
DO carry fruit gums or other sweets as they are great for take-off and landing for older children, to help reduce the pressure on their ears
Allow your children to bring their own carry-on bag and couple of toys – This makes your child feel independent and adds to the excitement of the complete travel experience. Ensure the toys don’t contain small parts and are brightly coloured in case they are dropped or lost
Comfort is key – Make sure your little ones are as comfortable as possible to minimise the risk of any mid-air tantrums, so planning the outfit they wear carefully and packing a mini travel pillow for them is a good place to start. It is a good idea to have a spare change of clothes and a spare shirt for yourself in case of accidents or unexpected spills
Bonus tip: Let them shop with you so they can pick one they are most comfortable with
Board the plane first or last – whilst many airlines offer families priority boarding, some parents in fact prefer to board last to minimise the amount of time their baby/child spends on the plane. Many parents want their child to burn as much energy as possible in the airport/airport lounge so that when they are strapped in their seat, they are ready to sleep. Alternatively, if you are travelling with more than one child or have multiple carry-on bags , boarding first and taking your time to settle into your seats can reduce stress of trying to sort through lots of bags and little ones with everyone watching on
Safety always – Airports and airlines have responded to the safety requirements of travelling post-pandemic very effectively, however you may like to carry extra hand sanitisers (including child-friendly versions) with you. After all, as much as you ask your little ones to avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily, their curious hands will want to touch everything!
WHILST ON BOARD
Inflight Entertainment – Allow your children to indulge in the inflight entertainment. By giving your children license to watch more television/films than usual, it will seem like a treat and will give you time to relax and unwind too. For instance, with the Emirates ice entertainment system children can say hello to all their favourite characters on board – choosing from over 50 Disney classic films and from over 130 kids’ TV channels, plus music, games and even special headsets for them too – just ask our cabin crew
Toys – No matter how old your child is, you should never underestimate the power of a new toy. A new distraction presented at the right moment can work wonders. Young flyers can let their imaginations run wild on their Emirates flight with a range of toys and travel themed activity packs exclusively designed for Emirates.
Just ask the Cabin Crew – The cabin crew are on hand to make your flight as enjoyable as possible. They can help with warming bottles, keeping baby food refrigerated, offering kids activities, holding meals until a convenient time, and even sneaking a glass of wine to you after your child/ren finally fall asleep
Disembark last – Unless you have a connecting flight or are in a hurry, it is a good idea to take your time disembarking. You won’t overlook a precious toy if you’re not rushed packing everything up, and both you and your children may be tired, so may not be operating at your best
Look for family lanes – Most airports will have family lanes for those travelling with children. Do seek them out, they can save you a very long wait.
Managing jet lag – This can be slow, frustrating, and exhausting, but adjusting to the local time zone can be helped by exposing your children to as much sunlight during the day as possible, to help regulate melatonin production in the brain and cutting screen time during ‘sleep hours.’ Try to avoid naptime too late in the day and ensure their mealtimes are as regular as possible
Finally, be kind to yourself! – Flying is great fun, but it can be overwhelming for parents and confusing for young children. They may not respond well to noise, crowds, the waiting, or the rules. Try to explain to them as much as you can in advance, about what to expect, be extra patient with them and don’t be too tough on yourself. If they watch more TV than you would usually like, be thankful for the quiet time. If they consume snacks you stocked up, be glad they’re not hungry. It can be tricky flying with children, but it can also be joyful and such a fun adventure. Take a breath, enjoy the experience and create wonderful memories with your little ones.