Air Travel with Kids: The Basics

Know what to expect before you hit the security line. 

A few years a go I wrote a very brief and basic piece for USAToday on Air Travel Information for Children, which you can read here.

But, were I writing it today, I aadd a few extra (real-life) tips:

1) Be sure to order a "child's meal" if traveling on a long-haul flight. They come earlier than the adults and they are literally - kid friendly food. Plus, they often come with added toys and indicate to flight crew there is a child who will be ready to have some extras. 

2) Don't be afraid to beg, cajole and sweet-talk ground and cabin crew to get better seating with your kids. If you're traveling without a partner or spouse - be sure to let them know and ask if there's better seating. 

3) When possible, book toward the front of the plane. a) the air is fresher and b) all food and drink and snacks come out sooner and it's easier than having your child watch and wait as the entire plane in front of them s served. 

4) Feel free to walk back and ask for extra snacks during flight; especially on international flights.  

5) Pipe cleaners! For many ages - toddler to age 9 - a multi colored pack of pipe cleaners are endless, quiet fun. They can be used over and over. Can be fashioined into hats, glasses, swords and if you lose or forget them - no biggie. They can be easily purchased at Amazon and other craft stores. 

6) Audio books! These are my new best friend. They are easy to pre-download on your phone and your kids will be enamored while still using their eyes while waiting in line or sitting in a stroller or on a bench. StoryNory is one of my favorite for free downloads. 

Photo credit: Philip Dubach