Haven’t we all experienced this? You have settled into your seat for a long flight and here they come…little tykes! Oh aren’t they cute? Or are they REALLY cute? Suddenly, you realize, “Oh no! They may sit by me!” Comedian Mike Jacobs captures this moment very well in this video!
If you love to travel, what can you do to avoid sitting by these cute tykes?
There are not many options. Online, TravelGadgetDepot.com (TGD) has seen suggestions of getting a seat where children are not likely to be, such as avoiding the bulkhead where travelers with children like to be because a carrier can be accommodated. TGD does not think this is true. Usually the carriers are checked at the gate and most travelers do not have the status to reserve these sheets. Others have suggested business or first class seats. Yes, it is rare to see a child in domestic first class, TGD has experienced children very often in international business class. You will see in a minute that for frequent travelers, flying in a business class seat with a child is preferred to minimize the stress and keep their children from crying.
TGD likes the suggestion of paying someone to change seats. If you are worried about being next to a child (maybe you need to get some work done!), bring some $20 or $50 bills to pay someone to switch seats with you. This helps with noise and the inevitable seat kicking…
TGD recommends taking the very early morning flights. It is rare to see an infant or toddler on the first flight of the morning, such as a 5 or 6 AM flight, because imagine how hard it is for a family to get to the airport at that time!!
TGD always travels with them and downloads movies or TV shows onto our electronics — the iPad is easiest.
There are many apps that allow for downloads:
Amazon Prime Video
are just some, and we are sure there will be many to follow in the future.
When traveling with these cute tykes what can you do to reduce the stress of having a crying child?
According to Barry Bridges on Quora: “Until you’ve flown as a parent with young children, you can’t appreciate how uncomfortable it feels. Screaming and crying are common, but sometimes you’ve got to take a flight.”
TGD feels terrible for these parents. There are ways to help your child fly quietly:
1. Special toys. Give your children a NEW toy that they can only play with on the flight if they are quiet. Dedicate one of their FAVORITE toys for use ONLY on an airplane if they are quiet so they have something to look forward to. Susan Stevens, from Cincinnati, Ohio, traveled often with children because she was an Army wife. She recommends using “a NEW toy, lots of books.. old favorites, plus a NEW one, a special snack…let them pack their own small backpack of what they would like to bring…”
2. Preparation. When a child is old enough prepare them for what to expect and what your expectations are. Susan Stevens says, “lots of preparatory information is important. Tell them what to expect as far as airline protocol, and your expectations of behavior.”
3. Business or First Class Seat. The larger seats provide more room for toys, a comfortable area to lie down to sleep and more gadgets to distract. Dr. Judy Massengill from Tracy, California, who is a frequent traveler says: “Flying in first or business always helped. When Grace was 4 we were on the tarmac for over an hour on our way to London. She spent the whole time playing with the adjustable light in her seat.”
4. Entertainment. With in flight entertainment or downloadable apps and movies there are more options then ever to keep your child distracted and occupied. See the downloadable options in this post above. A simple splitter can allow more than one child to watch the same thing or you can watch something with your child!
5. Food. Use a favorite snack that takes a long time to eat. Michelle Hunt, who traveled with her four children recommends: “if it’s a toddler I would bring fun snacks that take awhile to eat. And nowadays with iPads I’m sure there are cartoons or programs kids would be interested in.
6. Bottle. We all have experienced what happens to our ears when we fly as adults. If it seems like children ears are more easily affected it’s because they are! Their shorter, narrower and more horizontal eustachian tubes get blocked quicker and don’t clear as easily as adult eustachian tubes.
And children’s adenoids, gland-like structures at the back of the throat, are larger and can interfere with the opening of the eustachian tubes. Michelle Hunt says a “bottle, pacifier, Benadryl or something to keep their nose and ears open with the change in pressure,” is very helpful because, “that’s usually when they would start crying.”
What about the toddler? A good spill-proof sippy cup works well.
TGD would like to see airlines tackle this issue. Suggestions are to create suggested seats for those traveling with children in every cabin. This wouldn’t be hard and could allow those sensitive to this to choose the appropriate seats. Airlines could have better amenities for children, such as pacifiers, bottles, snacks, toys, etc. All it would take is for the airlines to dedicate some parents and frequent flyers to solve this problem for them!
In the meantime…KEEP CALM AND TRAVEL ON!!!!!
I am a travel maniac! Because I travel so much around the world, I look for solutions to make my travel easier. I get asked all the time about the travel gadgets I use or my recommended items. It makes me happy to share these things with you to make healthy and meaningful travel happen!