Flying as a family can sometimes be a stressful. Here’s 10 golden rules to make the trip successful.
1.- DON’T TUNE OUT
Parents must parent their children during the long hours of a flight. Keep an eye on them, moderate annoying behaviour, pre-empt or soothe tantrums, and meet boredom with activities. Do not tune out while your kids run riot.
2.- BOARD LAST
There’s no hurry. Why make your children stand in a queue or sit on a plane for longer than necessary?
3.- STAY TOGETHER
Parents should never turn left and send their offspring right: your children are your responsibility, whatever their age, so you should travel in the same class of cabin. Crew and other passengers should not be forced to help your children; even older teenagers can lack the self-awareness required to be left unsupervised.
4- RESERVE YOUR SEATS
Parents should pay for the privilege. Sitting apart will disturb fellow passengers if you need get out of your seat frequently, or try to communicate with a child from afar. Solo passengers should offer to swap – even if they’ve paid for a seat allocation – as it is likely they will benefit from a move to a more peaceful place. Only the most insensitive passenger would refuse to swap, and then complain about an unsupervised child.
5.- RESPECT OTHERS
Don’t let them play with the recline button (it is not generally necessary for small children to recline their seat on a short journey), or put their tray table up and down excessively. Arms should not hog the armrest, nor feet kick the seat in front.
6.- BE TECH-SAVVY
Tablets are a family flyer’s best friend, so preload devices and relax screen-time rules. Headphones should be worn at all times and be inaudible to neighbours; listening to the tinny tones of someone else’s viewing is top of the list of irritations suffered by other passengers.
7.- LIMIT EXCURSIONS
A parent walking the aisle to soothe a small baby is quite different to a toddler running the length of the plane. Of course nature calls, so parents should accompany children to the loo and back. Nappy changes should never be done on the seat.
8.- ACCEPT HELP
Don’t be a martyr and turn down an offer of help. A sympathetic neighbour or kind member of cabin crew can provide a powerful distraction. Be sure, however, that the helper is a willing volunteer – never force your children on unsuspecting passengers.
9.- THINK ABOUT DRINK
If your flight is host to drunken passengers who are having a ball, speak to a member of cabin crew; confronting them yourself might inflame a fragile situation. Parents should save excessive holiday tipples for the beach bar.
10.- DO YOUR BEST..
Flying with a family poses challenges. If others can see that you are self-aware and conscious of your children’s behaviour, they should cut you some slack….
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