Don't even think about boarding a plane with children under 18 without carrying these essential items, most of which can be gathered from what you already have at home.
“I’m thirsty!” “I’m bored.” “I’m starving…” “He’s kicking me!” Sound familiar? Well, maybe not to families flying Jet Blue or Virgin America, top U.S. airlines that have installed seatback TV monitors to keep passengers busy. But it does to most adults with young travelers! As veteran family flyers, the FTF staff brain-stormed and came up with a list of tools and tips that help us make the miles fly by.
Forget the excess baggage charges and over-priced onboard redi-meals; FTF presents an “Airplane Survival Kit” for air travel with kids of any age. Any adult can assemble it, probably from stuff you already own.
For Adults To Administer
- Moist towelettes or wipes
- Zip-loc bags: trash and dirty diapers
- Spare batteries for all electronics
- Ear Planes: ear plugs to equalize pressure on take off and landing (available in kids and adult sizes)
- Personal upright suitcase on wheels for each child
For Infants & Toddlers
- Waterproof bag to hold toys and drinks/snacks (Buy beverages after security!)
- Formula/juice box (under 3 oz) to drink or hard candy to suck on during take-off and descent to alleviate ear pressure
- Plush toys
- Baby B’Air: harnesses lap child to accompanying adult’s seat belt
- Padded toy bar to clip onto car seat (if used in flight)
- Sportsbottle caps to reuse and convert water bottles (carry on empty, ask flight attendant to fill)
- Change of clothes for each child
- Sesame Street Sing-Along Travel Songs or familiar CDs/MP3s, player/headset
- Plush toy and picture book for sibling to read aloud
- FeltKids playset with self-stick felt pieces, Etch-A-Sketch, crayons and pad of paper
For School Age Children
- Favorite comics, manuals, puzzles, mazes, “Waldo” type books
- Books on CD or podcasts such as “Lost on a Mountain in Maine”
- CD or MP3 player with headset (Y-jack for siblings)
- Magnetic chess and checkers gameboard
- Deck of cards
For Tweens & Teens
- Most of the above plus
- CD collection or iPod
- Nintendo DS, PSP, Game Boy and games
- Portable DVD player (easy to rent DVDs at “Inmotion Films” booths in several airports)
Of course, none of these suggested amusements take the place of using a plane flight to get to know your captive kids a little better, and to discuss what’s on their minds. That may well be the strongest family memory you take away from your vacation.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.