Traveling with children for some is a nightmare. This could be true given the different temperaments, fears, body responses among other factors that contribute to a child’s response to any flight. A part from the child’s needs, if one fails to plan for this flight then they are brewing the best recipe for failure. In most cases you will end up confused and overtaken by events. This experience need not scare you, we can always learn from other people’s experience. Enough preparation and planning for your flying with children can turn the nightmare into one of the best experiences you will have with your children. Let us take a look at some of the basic planning aspects that you need to take care before you are on board with your children.
Different airlines have different policies that govern their operations. A quick research on the different airlines will not only save the surprises but may earn you bonuses that you never imagined were possible. Remember too that policies change over time, it will be prudent not to assume that policies that worked last year are the same as this year, always check to be sure. Now that we are considering flying with children, take enough time to get to know all aspects about policies and all details as regards having children on board. Here are a number of aspects to find out from airlines.
The first question to ask is the policy governing the age of babies allowed on a flight. In the United States of America, 7 days is the minimum age allowed for babies to take a flight. Some airlines will extend this to fourteen days while other airlines may require proof from a medical doctor that the baby is allowed to take a flight if the baby is less than 7 days old.
Take time to consider whether you can bring your own car seat to the plane. When you buy a seat on a plane for your child, you may need to bring along a government approved car seat to the plane. It is advisable to have the car seat near the window or in middle seats away from exit rows. Get to know whether that car seat that you will bring for your child will be considered as extra baggage and thus count against your luggage allowance or there is an allowance for the car seat?
The cost associated with having the child aboard should be ascertained. Some airlines insist that even the lap child will be paid for a ticket while others allow one lap child per one paid for adult aboard the plane free of charge. Some airlines give discounts of up to ten percent of the normal ticket for children under the age of 2 years, other charge fifty percent and there could be as many offers out there as there are airlines. Local flights in the USA do not charge children under the age of 2 years for any flight while international flights will have a discount. All children above the age 2 years are required to have seats of their own, this means you will have to budget for this child as much as for yourself. It is important to know in advance so that you know if you are saving or you may need to dig deeper into your pockets for the flight.
Take time to organize all documents required for your traveling. There could be a need to prove the identity of your child for both local and international flights. A birth certificate or passport should be within reach just in case you may be asked. There are cases where you may need to prove the age of the child especially if a discount is to be given to the child. There have been rare cases where the child’s name is similar to one of the people considered security threats and are burned from traveling. In such cases the children are denied travel, documentation will save such situations. Get to know if photocopies will do or you may need originals. All receipts associated with the particular flight should also be kept within reach.
Investigate into airline’s family policies; they vary widely with different airlines. Rules such as whether they allow pre-boarding for families with little children and if this is true will it be announced or you may have to ask at the gate. Will your spouse be allowed to enter up to the departure get point to help you with handling the children before takeoff? Are their services to help you with luggage when connecting airlines? Does the airline offer meals for children? Do they offer diaper changing facilities on the plane? Can you buy diapers, formula food among other baby requirements on the plane? Are there facilities for warming feeding bottles? Are entertainment facilities like video or games available for children, do all rows have extra oxygen masks? If not, can you be seated in one that has the extra oxygen masks? Are bassinets available?
It is good that the person traveling with the children arrives early at the airport, or station, this will give ample time to move around comfortably and settle in within good time. Late arrivals at the airport will get you panicking and could be a source of confusion that could lead to missing on your flight! It is good to avoid such scenarios.
Also remember to pack fewer luggages. With children accompanying you, you may not be keen enough to handle so many luggages and this may lead to losing some of your luggage. A bigger luggage will get you worked out. You cannot imagine a crying child and at the same time so many luggages.
Take offs and landings may cause pain in the ears of your children, a drink may help ease the pain for the children as they take off, plan for one.
Lastly, when booking an airline via the net, it is good to know if the website offers discounted seats for the children. Some sites do not allow for booking discounted seats online while others go out of their way to search for offers available on the market for you so that you have a wide range of airlines to pick from.