Flying with kids, I don’t recommend it. Haha, just kidding. But, flying with kids can be challenging, to say the least.
After my most recent trip with my kids, I literally had to take my own advice to keep from melting down!!
Marcus and I pretty much always wait until the last minute to book our flights. With three kids at the time and me being pregnant with my fourth, this presented a challenge. Here are some of the challenges we faced:
When you don’t book far enough in advance, you are unable to secure a full row of seating, so you’re forced to split up.
When we fly in coach and are separated, there are always three types of people:
The person placed in the middle of two of my kids. They sit with my kids for a bit, thinking it’s not so bad… until Marcus and I start passing juice and toys back and forth across their lap and getting up over and over to come to their row. They soon realize they are going to have a not-so-pleasant flight and offer their seat for Marcus or me to be near the kids.
The one that has pity on our split family and immediately gives up their seat, no questions asked.
The one who looks super friendly, so Marcus or I simply ask them to trade us places, and they have no problem trading.
Keep these things in mind when preparing for a trip and DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MIN TO BOOK YOUR FLIGHT unless you want to play the “please switch us seats” game.
Let’s talk about the people in FIRST-CLASS.
For some reason, first class flyers just aren’t as accommodating. For example, A few years ago Marcus and a VERY pregnant, as in nine-month-pregnant me boarded a SIX-HOUR FLIGHT from Florida. At the time we had three girls ages seven, four and three, and we were all flying first-class. As soon as we walk into the first-class section with our young kids, I see everyone’s face change from relaxed and content, to hostile and disgruntled. The last time I checked, we paid for our kids to fly first-class, so they have every right to be in first-class.
Here is the best part… two of our girls are sitting in the front two seats in first-class, and our third is sitting across, next to someone else. Marcus and I THREE ROWS BACK, not even close to the girls! We sit them down, and they immediately start fighting and crying about who is going to sit by who. We figure for sure at this point someone will give up their seat so we can be closer and control them. But nope, those first-class passengers would not budge.
About five minutes into the flight, I watch my three-year-old, Kennedi, toss her safety pamphlet over her head, and it hits the passenger behind her on the left. OMG, but what a perfect segway into the passenger offering to trade us spots. I mean they’ve just been assaulted for heaven’s sake! Do you think that person offers to trade us seats? NEGATIVE. Another few minutes pass, and suddenly I see peanuts flying over Kennedi’s head and into the lap and purse of the other passenger sitting behind her to the right. Do you think she offers for one of us sit closer to our kids? Naw! She didn’t even turn to make eye contact with us as if to say come up here and control your bad a** kids. She gently wipes her purse off, checks it out like the peanuts might of left irreversible damage and continues looking straight.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PEOPLE IN FIRST-CLASS?! Are they just glutton for punishment? Are they so attached to their seats that they are willing to sacrifice their first-class sanity to keep them? I guess so because not one of them offered to trade places. At this point, I’m sort of in a panic. We have never sat this far from the kids, but we had no choice but to deal with it. So what do Marcus and I do? We did what any parents would do who’s kids were up in the front of first-class alone;
We go to sleep.
When we wake up, I kid you not, the kids have full plates of food in front of them, they are sword fighting with butter knives, and my four-year-old is dunking her entire hand in apple juice because her “hands are dirty.” Before I get up to put things back in order, I think to myself, “I bet those people behind them didn’t get a great nap like we did.”
All in all, being separated from our kids wasn’t that bad… for us, that is. We were able to take a nice nap, and the flight attendants adored my girls. Next time you’re flying, and you see a family separated from their kids, keep this story in mind; if you’re a parent traveling with your children and you’ve never been separated from them on a plane and would love a nice break, keep this story in mind.
HERE ARE MY TIPS FOR FLYING WITH YOUNG KIDS:
- Book your flight in plenty enough time to ensure your family all sit together. Perfect example, my story. Need I say more
- Have a game plan. You know your kids, you know what they are capable of so have a plan of action ready in case a category four tantrum ensues.
- Pre-pack their favorite snacks. The night before we go on a trip I get all of their favorite snacks and pack them in a kid-friendly carry-on.
- Make sure the snacks are easily accessible. That applies to you and the kids. I have packed them too deep in a carry-on, and they were melting down by the time I got to them. For your children, they like to feel independent and letting them get their own snacks is fun.
- Pack coloring books, crayons, and small activities to keep them busy. A little puzzle or an activity book with easy tasks to keep them distracted is key!
- Ipad, DVD player or sacrifice your phone. These are kind of no-brainer things to have on deck. Make sure to have their favorite movie on hand and their favorite games loaded. Try to make sure they have “their own” or be prepared to spend the entire flight fighting them to try and retrieve your phone. Oh and don’t forget their little headphones
- SUCKERS!!!!! A dum-dum sucker is our secret weapon when the kids start to act up. It’s an immediate mute plug for them, literally. If they have teeth, keep plenty handy if you need them.
- Allow them to get out of their seat and walk the aisles for a bit. I know this is playing with fire, but from my experience sometimes it’s a must. As long as they aren’t distracting anyone and food service isn’t happening, let them be free for a moment. Particularly during long flights.
- DONT FREAK OUT WHEN YOUR KID FREAKS OUT! I used to do this. When my kids would start melting down, I would too. I’d be so worried about what everyone else was thinking, whether or not they were annoyed. I’d be sweating, desperately trying shut my kids up. The more my anxiety heightened, the more my little ones would act up. Allow your kids to cry; they’re kids. If anyone has a problem with it, tell them they can sit in the bathroom the rest of the flight.
- Whether your flight is 30 min or 30 hours you can conquer flying with young kids!! All you have to do is breathe, breathe out and if things go awry, act as if you’ve never seen them before.
There you have it. Good luck and may the flying God’s be with you!