Six Tips for a Smooth First-Time Flying Experience With Kids
My family and I just returned from visiting my husband’s family in Tampa, Florida. It was the kids’ first time flying, and I was a bag of nerves preparing for the flight. Once our travel day arrived, though, it went smoothly. These six tips will help you have a seamless first-time flying experience with kids.
Research Flights for Discounts
Before purchasing our flights to Tampa, I spent weeks looking for the best prices. We purchased our flights in February, even though we weren’t traveling till September. I found a few flight deals online and ended up finding one that was amazing. Once our flights were booked, I was able to research the airline and the airport and start thinking looking for discounts on hotels and car rentals.
Plan the Airport Drop-off and Pickup
Schedule your airport drop-off and pickup before you depart. Since we have a big family, we drove our car to the airport and ended up with sticker shock at parking prices. A quick search of airport parking specials online helped us save over $100 by parking at an area hotel and taking a shuttle back to the airport. We were lucky to find a good deal at the last minute, but booking ahead of time could save you more money on parking. The hotel shuttle picked us up and took us back to our car once we arrived back from our trip.
Use the Skycap for Checked Bags
If it’s possible, use the skycap to drop off your checked bags and get your boarding passes. Using the skycap saved us time in lines and allowed us to walk straight to the security checkpoint. My husband and I both dressed in shoes that were easy to remove and prepared our items to be scanned. Families use a different scanner, so we quickly passed through security and headed to our gate.
Pack Snacks for the Kids
Children can easily become bored and frustrated while waiting for the flight. We packed some snacks for the kids to have at the gate and while on the plane. We choose small items, since we would only be at the gate for an hour or less. The snacks also helped them with nerves while boarding the flight, during takeoff, and while waiting for in-flight service.
Ask for Early Boarding
Once you arrive at your gate, check with airline staff to learn about the boarding policy for families. On our flight down to Tampa, we had to wait for priority and VIP customers to board the plane first, but on the way home, families needing extra time boarded first. Early boarding allowed us to take our time down the jetway and get onto the plane without having to wait.
Pack Entertaining Options
Prior to our trip, we charged all the kids’ tablets, packed their favorite books, purchased coloring books, and got new headphones for the flight. Our JetBlue flight offered free Wi-Fi, which was perfect for the trip. If your airline doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi, download games you can play offline.
Prior to leaving the plane, ask about getting to meet the pilot or taking a picture in or near the cockpit. It’s a fun memory for the kids. If you’re planning your first flight with your kids, check out ParentsNeed for all kinds of tips for traveling, and good luck on a smooth trip.