When travelling with kids on a plane, it’s important to find an airline that caters to both children and adults.
Above: Dr. Nathasha Sharma is an internationally recognized authority on the psychology of relationships, parenting and motivation.
TIP #1: When kids are bored, they act out. That’s true at home, at school and on a plane. What is different is that when you’re travelling, you likely don’t have the arsenal of boredom-fighters you might have at home — toys, books, space to run around and play pretend etc. Emirates Airlines is proud to offer various touch points for children of all ages, from infants to teens, to ensure there’s never a dull moment.
One way airlines can really enhance their customer service is by providing small toys or quiet games to keep young travellers occupied. In my experience, Emirates has always gone above and beyond here, providing activities that are fun, but are also educational. For instance, through Emirates partnership with Lonely Planet Kids, young travellers have access to travel-themed bags filled with educational books, inspiring world facts, creative crafts and activities.
Above: Preparing for a plane trip is one of the most important aspects of the journey.
TIP #2: Ensure the entire family is ready for travel by packing all luggage and itinerary print-outs a couple of days in advance. This includes picking out outfits for the plane, train, or car ride, as well as packing carry on purses and luggage.
There’s nothing worse than scrambling to get to the airport only to discover you’ve left a few key items at home. While it’s easy to pick things up on the go, children can often latch on to their treasured jacket or prized stuffed toy, making travel tricky for everyone
involved. I always recommend laying out the items you and your family plan to pack at least a day in advance and always plan out outfits that you’ll wear. This allows ample opportunity for you to consider what you’re packing, add or remove items without stress.
And remember, comfy clothes and footwear are more important than ever when you’re travelling with children, so pack the runners and some breathable, moveable clothing. Over the years I’ve discovered one of the secrets to seamless travel is a well-packed carry on. Don’t forget to bring these items: a neck pillow, earplugs, eye mask, headphones, lip balm, moisturizer and a good book both for you and the kids!
Above: Making sure your child has their favorute toy or game can help make the trip much smoother.
TIP #3: Try to maintain the same routines as home when it comes to meals and bedtime. Help kids into their pajamas, read them a book or sing them a lullaby and make sure they have their favourite toy or pillow to cuddle up with on the plane.
Plane travel can be tough on kids. They’re navigating an unfamiliar environment with limited space to play and move around and are surrounded by new faces. This can be scary and often overwhelming for kids, particularly young children accustomed to the routine of day-to-day life at home. To start, I always suggest parents bring along a few comforts from home, like a stuffed toy or blanket to offer reassurance and help children get settled in their new space.
To further ease the transition to plane travel, I suggest mimicking your regular routine — have little ones prepare for bedtime by changing into their pajamas, brushing their teeth and settling in with a bedtime story. The same goes for mealtimes. Encourage your child to eat at their regularly scheduled times whenever possible and pack snacks to help curb hunger throughout the trip.
Airlines like Emirates also provide a custom children’s meal menu served on children’s trays. Again, little details like this are important as they make children feel special and elevate the overall experience.
TIP #4: Travelling long distances with family can be challenging. If you have the opportunity, opt for a stop-over. Not only does this break up long travel times but it also gives you and the family the opportunity to explore an additional location.
Anytime on an airplane with the whole family can be stressful, but it can be even more of a challenge when it’s a long-haul flight. Kids can get restless when sitting for a long period of time and even with various entertainment options, they may still want to move around. If I am flying more than 10 hours with my family, I will often look into stop-over options to break up the trip.
Many airlines offer incentives for choosing a stopover package. Often these packages have been created with existing local partnerships to offer a range of attractions and services that guests can check out within a short period of time. If you’re passing through Dubai, for instance, Emirates stop-over packages are easy to arrange and you can book them up to 48 hours before your departure flight. Their stop-over packages offer guests a wide selection of high-end hotels and all kinds of activities and services for every member of the family, whether it’s visiting iconic skyscrapers or checking out a traditional sand-dune safari.
Twitter: @DrNatasha Instagram: @dr_natashasharma
• In 2018 and 2019, Emirates served 609,000 kids meals.
• In 2018 and 2019, Emirates had 4,700,000 toys onboard, including Lonely Planet Kids activity packs, 12,000 Baby Kits and 3,700,000 magazines and colouring pencils to keep kids of all ages entertained.
• Emirates offers over 4,000 channels of onboard entertainment and 150 kids channels on its onboard ice system.