Sabrina boarded a flight for Paris with her young family recently, full of anticipation (and not a few butterflies in her stomach). While travelling, she gathered together a range of valuable tips for anyone taking short-haul flights with children, and went on to share these on her blog, Starlights in the Kitchen. This week, Sabrina reveals her own personal suggestions to the Austrian Airlines Community too…
Tip 1: The adventure of flying
As children are being bombarded with a huge variety of new impressions at the airport and on the aircraft – especially if they fly for the first time – it’s often a good idea to sit down with them before leaving home and explain to them what they’re about to see and hear. Show them pictures and videos of what an aircraft looks like from the inside. You can go through the images of the whole Austrian Airlines fleet together, and take a virtual 360° guided tour of an aircraft, by [visiting the website.
Tip 2: Get a window seat
To ensure we were able to spend our time at the airport comfortably, and (perhaps most importantly) without getting stressed out, I sorted out our boarding passes 47 hours before departure, using Web Check-in.
We also booked a window seat, so our children could see everything going on outside the cabin. The two boys sat by the window and in the middle, I took the aisle seat, while their dad made himself comfortable in the row behind us. That meant we could all chat, and share the experience with each other “in real time”.
Tip 3: Hand luggage
We decided to take a small rucksack as the children’s hand luggage. This had a toy, a colouring book, and that old favourite, a cuddly toy, in it. We stowed the rucksack underneath the seat in front of us, so it would be close to hand throughout the flight.
Tip 4: Use the right luggage
Invest in a good-quality suitcase with four wheels, so it can be pushed and steered around the airport without too much effort. If you’re using a solid case, then you can put the kids on it too and move them around that way, killing two birds with one stone.
Tip 5: How to get through the waiting time at the airport
Just before you board your flight, let your children run up and down the corridor one last time, giving them a chance to expend some of that excess energy. If you’re departing from Gate F at Vienna Airport, think about dropping in at the Family Fun Gate as well. Here, you’ll find a world of adventure for children, complete with a slide, climbing wall and foam snakes.
Tip 6: Ready for take-off?
Whatever you do, don’t forget to pack some chewing gum, and give it to your children shortly before take-off. Chewing will make the pressure compensation in the cabin happen automatically in those little ears, without their feeling any pain in the process.
Tip 7: Entertainment on board
Once we had taken our seats on the aircraft, our children were surprised by the flight attendants with painting books and crayons, a puzzle and jelly babies.
We had also loaded a few short films and their favourite programmes onto our tablet before we left, so we could distract our little ones at the touch of a button, even up above the clouds.
Tip 8: Snacks for flying
Although we knew there would be snacks on board as well, we still packed nibblies and jelly babies for our children as well. We filled an empty bottle with water after the security check, ensuring both boys were content once we had boarded the aircraft.
Tip 9: Kids will always be kids
From time to time, of course, children can get restless, or even start crying. In this case, it often helps to get up out of your seat with your little ones and have a short wander. Keep calm, and don’t let yourself get stressed out, even by other passengers. Distract your children by playing games with them – I spy with my little eye is always a safe bet.
Thanks very much for all your useful tips, Sabrina! You obviously enjoyed your trip to Paris, and we look forward to welcoming you back on board very soon.
If you want to check out the best connecting flights for your next holiday, click here: