Choice tips for surviving your first flight with kids

Anyone who has ever been on a plane instinctively knows just how different that experience is when you have babies or children. It’s one thing to manage yourself through the rigmarole of security and boarding and sitting packed as sardines throughout the flight – and a whole different kettle of fish when there are little ones involved. 

Yet with a few choice tips for flying with kids, some pre-planning, and a whole lot of patience, you can minimise the chances of anyone having a meltdown on the plane (we’re not just talking about toddlers, either). 

Checking in and due diligence 

Before you travel, double check if you’re headed to a country that requires written consent from both parents before flying with children. If both parents aren’t flying with the child, you might need a letter and a birth certificate just to get on the plane. 

You should also check the airline’s rules for flying with babies and toddlers. Reading through these guidelines and suggestions can help ensure there are no last-minute surprises as you’re checking in or boarding. 

Booking the flight  

In the past, that cheap and cheerful 5.45am departure time might have been well worth the lost sleep. 

Now, it might be beneficial to pay a bit more and fly at a more reasonable hour. Not only can you opt for a time that fits within your child’s nap schedule, but also any sleep deprived parent could benefit from the kinder check-in time as well. 

It’s a good idea to try and book seats towards the back of the plane. This should give you easier access to bathrooms, and potentially more opportunities to get up and wander the aisles without getting in the way of the flight attendants. 

If you’ve got a baby, some airlines and planes even offer a seat with a bassinet, however as you can imagine these seats are probably hot property so it’s best to book well in advance!  

Packing carry-on for success 

The trick to in-flight success is distraction, so pack all your little one’s favourite toys (or even something entirely new). Whether that’s a colouring book, or even a tablet that’s fully charged and loaded with games and movies (you gotta do what you gotta do), bring what you can to keep your little one happy for the duration – and maybe they won’t be quite so bothered by all the loud noises and sitting still. 

Airline food can be a gamble for little ones, particularly toddlers, who have specific food preferences, so bring along some of their favourite snacks. This can give them something familiar from home to focus on in a new environment and help keep travel costs down as well. 

And of course, planes can sometimes be too hot or too cold. Layer up as you board and throw some extra clothes in the bag in case your seats in row 28 feel more like you’ve been relegated to the Antarctic. 

Managing tiny blocked ears  

Ear discomfort while flying is unpleasant for anyone, let alone a child who doesn’t quite understand what’s going on or how to fix it. 

Swallowing can help to relieve this pressure, so giving your child something to suck on or chew can work wonders. Breastfeeding, a bottle, or a dummy can be great for babies, whereas a simple lollipop or a chewy lolly is an easy option for older kids. 

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst  

As a parent, you’re already a pro at packing for any event, so you’ll know the likely travel essentials for your child. That said, here are a few things you can bring to prepare for anything:

  • A change of clothes for them
  • A change of clothes for you 
  • Plastic bags (for wet/dirty clothes or rubbish)
  • Emergency toiletries with all the essentials 
  • A powerbank in case the tablet/phone batteries die
  • Activity books
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • A travel pillow so they can nap
  • Snacks, snacks, and more snacks
  • Their favourite bedtime story to help them drift off to sleep

When travelling with kids, it’s always best to prepare for the unexpected. Another way you can prepare for the curveballs life can throw at you may be with life insurance. You may spend time researching insurance policies to find out what they cover to determine if they can help protect your finances before your next family adventure. 

To find a policy, get a quote on OneChoice Life Insurance today.   

This is general information only. Please consider the Policy Document available from to ensure the product suits your needs. This information is provided by OneChoice, a trading name of Greenstone Financial Services NZ Limited NZBN 9429047013582, who have partnered with Pinnacle Life Limited (Pinnacle Life) NZBN 9429030397248, the insurer of this product. Terms and conditions apply.