It seems to be that once you have a baby, you should no longer do anything ever. You definitely will be done traveling, or even leaving the house for that matter. If you are one of those cuckoo’s like us that still travel with child(ren), your days of riding in premium cabins is surely over, right?
Here are some tips for flying in premium cabins with a small child:
1. Relax – children can tell when you are tense and are more likely to be calm when you are calm. It is really easy to worry about how your child is going to act and hopefully not act out during your flight, but keep your cool and your little one will too.
2. Smile and be polite – to other passengers and to the crew. Be the pillar of light in the metal tube that everyone is stuck in for hours on end. The crew can be your best friend so show them some love. This tip is also referred to as “don’t forget your manners” and doesn’t require much of an explanation. Don’t leave them behind and if your child is too small to know better, overcompensate for them on their behalf.
3. Remove yourself and your child as necessary. If your child starts to fuss or scream and you can not calm them with in 20 seconds, get up. Take a stroll around the plane, distract your child, check out the mirror in the lavatory, play peekaboo with a Flight Attendant. Do not stay in your seat and make those around you suffer. If the seat belt sign is illuminated and being enforced, try those distractions from your seat; Bounce, laugh, play, hum, feed, try it all!
4. Pack something new – try a new book, toy, app or snack. Something that your child hasn’t seen before and will be intriguing to them and keep them distracted for a little while. Save it for a time where it is critical; a fit that you can not calm right away, or when your little one is restless. It may not hurt to have a back up.
5. Bring old favorites too – there are some solid favorites that work every time with your child, try to bring a favorite with you as well. For us, there is an app on the iPad that Lucy loves and will keep her entertained for at least a solid hour if not longer. This is great for those long haul journeys. Another trick we use are going through photos on our iPhone or a groovebook and identifying everyone in the pictures.
6. Tailor your experience to include your child. This may be what you order during meal service, what you watch on the in flight entertainment, you sleep when they sleep. I know that if I order chicken and vegetables my child will happily share my meal over something like the beef and Wasabi Mashed Potatoes. I also bring headphone splitters so that we can enjoy some of the movies together.
7. Make the best of a bad situation. Maybe your child is not ready to sleep when everyone else is and you are tired and worn out, go for a stroll, check out the snacks in the galley, or play a quiet game. It’s best to rest up as much as possible.
Remember to set your expectations and be flexible. There should definitely be a standard that you should expect your child to obey and behave well, but we must also remember that children are children and need gentle reminders or help from our example on how to conduct themselves. Flexibility is key, you may want to sleep after meal service and before breakfast, but you just may need to skip a meal and grab a snack if your little one has other plans.
You can do it.