“Every year, over 1.5 million children fly with British Airways to one of our more than 200 destinations in 75 countries,” said Robert Williams, British Airways’ head of Asia Pacific sales. “We’ve learnt much from our own experience of handling small children including babies, as well as feedback from parents, that having a good experience during the flight makes a huge difference in ensuring that the holiday takes off on a high note.”
Mr Williams, who is also a fully-trained cabin crew, shares the following simple tips for a pleasant family vacation:
- Start with checking what family-friendly services the airline offers those travelling with children, such as advance and priority check-in, reserving seats for your family, pre-booking children’s meals and child-seat and carrycot.
- Remember that a bored child can easily turn cranky and restless. So help pack your child’s rucksack with his/her favourite things like toys, travel games and comic books to keep themselves entertained. If you have forgotten to do so, ask the airline whether it has activity packs to keep little ones amused.
- Pre-order your child’s meals to ensure that your child gets to eat the food that he/she likes, rather than to have to deal later with a hungry – and angry – child onboard who refuses to eat his/her meal.
- Make sure your child is dressed right especially on a long-haul flight. Plane cabins get cold in the air so it is important that your child is dressed in comfortable and warm or layered clothes.
- For children who find it difficult to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings, be sure to pack their favourite teddy, pillow or comfort blanket to make them feel more at home and fall asleep more easily.
- Resist the temptation to keep them going for the duration of the flight by giving them sweets. It may be the easiest way to keep them happy, but a child in the middle of a sugar rush can quickly turn a family holiday into a full-blown family drama.
- It is important to always carry a small first aid kit to deal with small cuts as well as medicines that your child may need such as antihistamines and fever and painkilling syrups.
- Even if your child is no longer a baby, wet wipes are always useful for washing hands, wiping off spills and cleaning toilet seats. So too are little bottles of hand sanitisers to keep the germs away.