Kids on Planes

If you were one of those watching the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge take Prince George on a 31 hour flight to NZ thinking ‘the horror!’, you have probably at one time or another been ‘that person on the flight with the screaming baby’.

As we all know, certain budget airlines go out of their way to make life difficult for traveling parents, but the following have at least tried to make an effort:

  • Virgin Atlantic: kids all get an unsurprisingly Branson-branded backpack with branded toys, plus special kids’ meals including cheese strings and pizza. Babies are offered cots and complimentary nappies, plus there are bottle warming and changing facilities on all flights.
  • British Airways: BA do offer a couple of useful services (you have to ask tho!). One is a free actual seat for under 2’s as long as you bring an approved car seat. The other is serving the kids’ meals first to avoid tears as the trolley moves up the aisle.
  • Emirates: keen to snare their travelers young, Emirates offer tots the chance to rack up their own frequent flyer points, to exchange at theme parks. They also provide complimentary strollers in the airport and cots on board the flight, plus free formula for babies and kid friendly movie choices.
  • Gulf Air: with their ‘Sky Nanny’ programme, this airline is a cut above when it comes to being child friendly. Sky Nanny can watch the kids, change the baby, play games, sing lullabies – a veritable Mile High Mary Poppins.

Traveling on a low cost airline? It’s often actually cheaper to book another seat for a child than it is to struggle with the excess baggage costs – although most do offer a discount for baby items such as travel cots, carseats and strollers.

A few lifesavers we’ve discovered:

  • Banz Ear Protectors: great for blocking out loud runway noises. Possibly worth offering to your fellow passengers also!

  • Babasling or Moby wrap: handy if the little one needs to sit on your lap and you’d like both hands free to drink in-flight wine.
  • Mothercare ‘My Move’ stroller: at just £20 and in a range of colours, this is super light, super easy to fold and brilliant value as a holiday stroller if the weight of your regular one threatens to ground the plane …

  • Poncho: as we know, in some countries keeping our boobies under wraps is more than modesty, it’s the law. Play it safe if you’re planning to breastfeed on a flight. This one from Etsy comes in vibrant holiday colours and doubles as a blanket.

  • Ready Mixed Milk: either in cartons for tots or disposible bottles for babies, avoids having to taste it at check in to prove you’re not disguising liquid nitrogen as infant formula on a flight you’re taking your actual child on (as airport officials seem to suggest!) Aptamil and SMA make both in their range.

  • Pacapod Firenze Bag: holds 40 litres, includes internal storage sections big enough for feeding/changing items, child’s hand luggage, laptop and Duty Free.