How to Fly With Kids

Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any more stressful to think of ways to keep kids entertained when traveling long hours in airplanes, you even have to consider other passengers who might feel that the children are being too disruptive or noisy! While flying with kids can seem difficult, it needn't be -- by following the suggestions below, you can definitely find fool-proof ways to keep the kids happy, parents stress-free and other passengers contented.


  1. Image titled Fly With Kids Step 1
    Plan the time of the flight. There is never an ideal time to fly long haul, but if you fly through the night, there is more of a chance that your child will sleep through at least some of the journey. This will make the journey -- as well as the time that you need to keep your child occupied -- seem a lot shorter.
  2. Image titled Fly With Kids Step 2
    Use the in-flight entertainment, but don't rely on it alone. Many larger airlines have in-flight entertainment such as films, music and even children's channels. However, there are times when it might be broken or unsuitable. The wearing of the headphones might also irritate your child.
  3. Image titled Fly With Kids Step 3
    Bring an array of entertainment materials for your child. During the times that in-flight entertainment just won't cut it, you should always have alternative sources of entertainment on hand. Bring along items such as:
    • Portable video game consoles
    • An MP3 player, plus music and audio books
    • An electronic book that can be used softly
    • Coloring books, activity books and blank drawing paper - Do not forget the pencils and crayons!
    • Stickers - These are useful for making designs on blank pages while drawing.
    • Magnetic games - Buy the travel-size game kits available from many toy stores, service stations and airport gift stores.
    • Books to read together
    • Flash-cards and other learning items
    • Kid's puzzle books - Sudoku, crosswords, find-a-word, mad-libs, jokes, etc.
    • Print off some games to play on paper, such as tic-tac-toe, mazes or dot-to-dots. There are many such print-outs available on kids' sites online.
    • A couple of your child's favorite toys which are portable enough, such as stuffed animals or dolls
  4. Image titled Fly With Kids Step 4
    Reward your child for good behavior. Surprise and reward your child for his patience on long journeys. Wrap up a new toy and present him with it after he has proven that he has been well-behaved enough -- it's a shameless bribery, but it may work.
  5. Image titled Fly With Kids Step 5
    Bring some snacks. Snacks can keep your children satisfied, which may encourage napping. Choose foods that aren’t packed with sugar and that won’t melt or crumble apart. Licorice, cracker sandwiches, cereal and granola bars are good bets. Try preparing these snacks in unique ways. Young kids will love cereal pieces strung onto yarn to form an edible necklace.
  6. Image titled Fly With Kids Step 6
    Ensure variety in your child's activities. Children hate being restricted. Once they're strapped in, they can't pick up toys they've dropped, or move about and look around as much as they want to. A child on a long-haul flight is a time bomb of energy. Vary activities as much as possible. Alternate between playing music, giving out snacks, playing with toys and reading books.
  7. Image titled Fly With Kids Step 7
    Have the kids become vacation planners. Contact the tourism board or local chamber of commerce of your destination before leaving for your trip. Request travel brochures and tourist information. Arrange these in a folder for ease of viewing during the flight. Let the kids flip through the fliers and magazines while in flight to further prepare them and boost their enthusiasm. Give kids as young as eight a calculator and a budget. Then, let them work out a simple, affordable itinerary. Before coming back home, toss or recycle the pamphlets to lighten the load.
  8. Image titled Fly With Kids Step 8
    Create a photo project. Prior to the return flight, take your digital camera’s memory stick to a drugstore and pop it into a do-it-yourself photo center. Request one-hour prints. Then, purchase a small scrapbook for each child and let them record their memories with special pens while they stick down photos with double-sided tape. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what they thought were the important moments of their family vacation.
  9. Image titled Fly With Kids Step 9
    Take a few minutes to review basic safety strategies with your kids. You do have a captive audience, after all. The excitement of new places can be overwhelming. Remind young ones what to do if they get separated from you, who they can trust and about safety in numbers. It’s also a good idea to have the kids help you make out a safety card that they can keep with them. The card can remind them of everything from the name of the hotel that they are staying in, to the first names of mom and dad.
  10. Image titled Fly With Kids Step 10
    Consider renting electronic gadgets. If traveling within a single country, it may be possible to rent electronic gadgets for the time that you will be in the air. Some entertainment companies rent DVD players, movies and headphones for use on vacation and during flights.
  11. Image titled Fly With Kids Step 11
    Enjoy your flight!


  • Pack a small surprise for your child and show it to them while you are in the airport then the child will be excited to play with it on board the flight.
  • Keep in mind the shrinking aisle space and have your kids bring their own backpacks, instead of a rolling carry-on which can slow them down. Young ones will be proud of all the responsibility that comes with toting their own luggage. Don’t forget to add luggage tags to backpacks too, just in case they get left behind.
  • This is a great time to introduce books, flashcards and other learning materials tailored to your child’s age. If you have school-age children, ask their teacher what he or she suggests. Many teachers will happily provide their students with homework material for the time that they are away from the classroom -- for example, sums, spelling and writing.
  • The most important thing to remember when traveling with kids is to think ahead and minimize the hassles that you might encounter. This includes considering the documentation that children will need when traveling both internationally and domestically. Also, be sure to check on the status of your flight before leaving for the airport to avoid a lengthy wait.
  • If you are travelling with two adults, it may be helpful to drop off one adult with the kids and bags in the drop off zone. While they check in and check bags, the other adult can park the car.
  • Be careful maybe when you're not noticing, (and this actually happens) your child(ren)will go messing around or disturbing people. So you could tell your child(ren) if they followed the rules they will be rewarded. If you have an infant, get extra clothes for them especially diapers also maybe you'll have to bring a disposable diaper bag, and remember also to get extra clothes for you. Another 3 tips, check the weather of the country you're traveling to so you know what clothes you pack. Wear socks, maybe you will have to remove your shoes for security reasons, and socks will keep out people from smelling your foot odor, and they other things to do with. DON'T sit near restrooms. People will passing by you and there will be bad smell there. Check your child (ren) and your bags, maybe they had something not allowed. You DON'T want get in trouble.


  • Remember to check your country's transport authority website for the latest restrictions for carry-ons. There are now restrictions in place on the amount and type of liquids or gels able to be carried past security. Exceptions are sometimes made for children and babies, allowing them to carry on bottles, juice boxes and sippy-cups. Make sure that you declare these items before going through security and that you place them in their own quart-size zip-top bag. It is recommended that you only pack the amount of juice, milk or breast-milk that you will need for the flight. Larger amounts can be checked with your luggage.
  • Have your child under the age of 3 sit in his or her own seat in an FAA-approved child safety seat, not on your lap. It's more expensive, but safer. A lap child might impede your ability to brace and may not have access to an oxygen mask in the unlikely event of an emergency.
  • Avoid toys with little pieces. Fetching little pieces from across various parts of the aircraft is not only impractical, but will likely result in embarrassment for you and loud noise from an upset child. Little pieces or small toys are also easy for small children to throw, and they can land in other passengers' food or faces.

Sources and Citations

  • VideoJug A video of Entertaining Young Kids on a Long Haul Flight. Source of additional elements of article and photos. Shared with permission and appreciation.
  • For more information in the USA, check the TSA website and click on “Travelers.” Note: The TSA has stated that you should never be asked by an airline security employee to sample your children’s beverage, including breast milk or formula.

Article Info

Categories: Air Travel | Family Vacations