A lot of people put a good experience of flying with kids down to luck and although some of it may be, by having a plan in place your chances of an enjoyable trip will improve. Earlier this year I took my children, two and three at the time to New Zealand on my own and I can tell you first hand I was a bundle of nerves. My husband was there to help at the airport so checking in our luggage and car seats was fairly easy but as soon as we got to customs I was on my own. My kids were surprisingly really well behaved and one of the reasons for that was because I had surprised them with their little suitcases just before we left home so they were proudly wheeling those around plus they had never been to the airport so it was all a new experience for them.
Once we were at the gate waiting to board I asked a flight attendant if she wouldn’t mind explaining what was happening next so my kids wouldn’t get bored and start acting up. She was lovely and made them feel really special so they sat on their suitcases and waited patiently, waving and smiling at the flight attendant every now and then. We had to walk out onto the tarmac to board our plane and it was so exciting for the kids to see all the aeroplanes and that made me smile knowing something I wouldn’t think twice about made my kids day.
By this stage I was happy we had made it on the plane in one piece. New Zealand is only three hours away but it could easily have been the longest three hours of my life. Fortunately, it wasn’t, there were no tears and no tantrums. I had packed a lot of food for my kids knowing if they got bored they would just want to eat. I packed fruit, sultanas, nuts, carob, sandwiches and water. It was food they had every day so I knew it wouldn’t upset their tummy. Sometimes people fall into the trap of feeding their kids at the fast food places at the airport and not realise it might upset their tummies if they don’t usually have that type of food. The last thing you want is for your child to get diahhorea on the flight. I noticed other families with children on the flight and some of the children cried the entire time. The kids were overtired and the food they were being given was full of sugar so they literally couldn’t fall asleep.
I also brought a few different activities and I had surprised both kids with a little doll and a toy car mid-flight. I knew their attention span was only ten to fifteen minutes so I would introduce something different before they got too bored. We also had televisions on the back of our seats so every now and then they watched a kids show and because my kids don’t watch a lot of television at home they were mesmerised. My kids also played on the floor in front of their seats which suited me just fine, as long as they weren’t running up and down the aisle I was happy.
I had booked our flight time early in the morning because we all wake up very early in my house and my kids are at their best in the mornings. I had also made sure they had a good nights sleep the night before so they wouldn’t wake up cranky.
I can safely say the whole plane ride was a success. We met the captain which I was so thrilled about you’d think I had just met John Travolta! We were even allowed in the cockpit and the captain let my son sit in his chair and pretend to fly the plane. A great ending to the kids first plane trip.