If you’re flying with children, remember that no one on the plane loves them as much as you do. Other passengers may have less tolerance for their antics (just being a kid?). And a cranky or unruly child is the bane of travelers who may be seated nearby.To make the flight more enjoyable for everyone, remember the three P’s and allow plenty of time to Plan, Prepare, and Pack.
Plan ahead:Check the timing of flights as you plan the trip, and consider your child’s daily routines. Red-eye flights that depart late at night and arrive at the destination early the next morning may seem tempting. But don’t count on children sleeping during the flight (a crying baby is tortuous for everyone on the plane); and if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll be grumpy the next day, too.
Also, check that your family can sit together on the flight. Some airlines charge extra for selecting seats when you book, but that can be money well spent. Book as early as possible for the best seat selection.Eat before boarding the plane, but steer clear of greasy meals (skip the fast-food burger or pizza). Bring protein-rich snack bars, fruit, or nuts to soothe hungry tummies.
If you have active children who are not likely to nap on the flight, be sure they get plenty of activity prior to the flight, either playing at home or at the airport’s playground, if available. Running up and down the halls of the terminal is not an acceptable place to expend energy.Prepare yourself and the kids
Getting ready for a trip takes time and patience, especially if children are flying for the first time. Talk about the look, sound, and feel of an airplane, so young ones are not afraid. Prepare them for the security screening process, so they won’t get upset when a favorite toy is taken away temporarily.On the plane, you’ll spend time entertaining, cleaning, and putting kids to sleep. Bring along familiar playthings or tech gadgets that will help kids sit still.
Reclining in your seat to enjoy the view of the clouds simply may not happen, so give yourself time to rest after arrival before jumping into a jam-packed itinerary. Set realistic expectations and realize that the process of flying has built-in stress. The best you can hope for is to make it less stressful.Packing your stuff
Check airline regulations and weight limits for baggage. Baby food, formula, and breast milk are often allowed in quantities beyond the allowable carry-on liquid size.Gather all of the essentials in a small and easy-to-carry backpack. Important documents like passports, printed itinerary, transport details, and tickets belong in this bag. Also include your wallet, Smartphone plus charger, and prescription medication (if necessary). And don’t forget to bring an iPod loaded with fun apps along with your kid’s favorite small toy. Keep this bag with you at all times.
You need another bag to store things you may need to access quickly during travel. If you’re traveling with a baby, infant supplies like formula and wipes go into this bag. You also want to have at least two water bottles and a couple of snacks thrown in. Hand wipes and disposable placemats help minimize food mess. Add an extra set of clothes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and pajamas for bedtime.Everything else goes in the checked luggage. If you don’t need an item until you reach your destination or can purchase it there, don’t bring it on the plane. Pack versatile, comfortable clothes, and leave jewelry and expensive or sentimental items behind.
Over packing means keeping up with more stuff and finding room for everything—plus souvenirs—on your return.
Tips condensed from: https://upgradedpoints.com/flying-with-children-guide by Alex Miller
More great info, updated in 2018, from "Guide to Flying with Children and Unaccompanied Minors Rules" https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/unaccompanied-minors-save-fees.php from www.creditcards.com
Photos from free sources