With summer vacations fast approaching, you may be looking to experience a family holiday. From thousands of channels of inflight entertainment via ice, onboard Wi-Fi, regional cuisine, and a wealth of activity packs for children, Emirates Economy makes Economy Class feel like an upgrade.
So, whether you are reuniting with loved ones, exploring a new or revisiting a favorite destination or simply having an international escape, Emirates has shared some top tips to ensure holidaying with your young flyers is as smooth as possible.
When booking your flights:
Look to time your flights with your child’s daily routine – where possible, try and time your flight times to suit their daily routine. For instance:
- DON’T opt for a late-night departure or overnight flight thinking your kids will sleep through. They may not with all the excitement and noise, and you’ll be doubly exhausted
- DO try to plan a flight departure to fit in between mealtimes or naps as this can help reduce the chance of public tantrums
- DO try to make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep for morning flights, to avoid sleep-deprived meltdowns occurring.
Choose your seats wisely – if you can, always book your baby a bassinette or choose bulkhead seats (these have no seat in front of them so that no one can recline into your space, enabling your children to have more room to play).
- DO consider the advantages of sitting closer to the bathrooms. This makes toilet trips with kids a lot more convenient and the back third of the plane tends to be less populated on flights that aren’t full.
Select children’s meals – don’t forget to opt for children’s meals when booking your tickets. Emirates offers both baby and children (between the ages of 2 and 12 years) meal options, including a range of organic Ella’s Kitchen baby meals. A selection of prepared baby meals is available onboard as well as classic kids’ favorites.
Transfers – Try to have your accommodation transfer arranged in advance, particularly if you require car seats. It will be a relief to avoid waiting in taxi queues and not need to worry about the safety element at the end of a long trip.
Explain the security process – the security screening can be confusing for children, with having to load their special things onto the conveyor belt and be separated (albeit very briefly) from their parents to go through the scanner. Try to explain ahead of time what they should expect and offer plenty of praise on the other side for doing such a great job.
Be buggy clever – if you want to take your pram through the airport consider investing in a folding variety that can be taken on board the plane as carry-on, this will help at the other end when you need to be able to put your tired youngster straight into their pram.
Go sugar-free with your children’s travel snacks – It is a good idea to always carry healthy, protein-filled snacks with you in case of unexpected delays, or when moving between time zones. Your little one’s body clock and appetite may be affected, and they may not be hungry when meals are served – avoiding a ‘hangry’ meltdown in the line at customs is in everyone’s interest!
- DO encourage them to take little sips of water as often as possible, too as dehydration can exacerbate jetlag
- DO carry fruit gums or other sweets as they are great for take-off and landing for older children, to help reduce the pressure on their ears
Allow your children to bring their own carry – on bag and a couple of toys – This makes your child feel more grown-up and adds to the excitement of the complete travel experience. It is a good idea to ensure these toys don’t contain small parts and are brightly colored in case they are dropped or lost.
Comfort is key – make sure your little ones are as comfortable as possible to minimize the risk of any mid-air tantrums, so planning the outfit they wear carefully and packing a mini travel pillow for them is a good place to start. It’s a good idea to have a spare change of clothes and a spare shirt for yourself in case of accidents or unexpected spills
- Bonus tip: let them shop with you so they can pick one they’re most comfortable with
Board the plane first or last – whilst many airlines offer families priority boarding, some parents in fact prefer to board last to minimize the amount of time their baby/small child spends on the plane. Many parents want their small children to burn up as much energy as possible in the airport/airport lounge so that when they are strapped in their seats, they are ready to sleep. Alternatively, if you have multiple children or have lots of carry-on, boarding first and taking your time to settle into your seats can reduce the stress of trying to sort through lots of bags and little ones with everyone watching on.
Safety always – Airports and airlines have responded to the safety requirements of traveling post-pandemic incredibly effectively, however, you may like to carry extra hand sanitizer (including child-friendly versions) with you as well. After all, as much as you ask your little ones to avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily, their curious hands will want to touch everything!
Inflight Entertainment – Allow your children to indulge in in-flight entertainment. By giving your children a license to watch more television/films than usual, it will seem like a treat and will give you time to relax and unwind too. For instance, with the Emirates ice entertainment system children can say hello to all their favorite characters onboard – choosing from over 50 Disney classic films and from over 130 kids’ TV channels, plus music, games, and even special headsets for them too – just ask our cabin crew.
Toys – No matter how old your child is, you should never underestimate the power of a new toy. A new distraction presented at the right moment can work wonders. Young flyers can let their imaginations run wild on their Emirates flight with our new ‘Fly With Me Animals’ coloring book.
Utilize the Cabin Crew – The Cabin Crew are on hand to make your flight as enjoyable as possible. They can help with warming bottles, keeping baby food refrigerated, offering kids activities, holding meals until a convenient time, and maybe even sneaking a glass of wine to you after your child/ren finally falls asleep.
Disembark last – Unless you have a connecting flight or are in a hurry, it’s a good idea to take your time disembarking. You won’t overlook a precious toy if you’re not rushed packing everything up, and both you and your children may be tired so not be operating at your best
Look for family lanes – Most airports will have family lanes for those travelling with children. Do seek them out, they can save you a very long wait.
Managing jet lag – This can be slow, frustrating, and exhausting, but adjusting to the local time zone can be helped by exposing your children to as much sunlight during the day as possible to help regulate melatonin production in the brain and cutting screen time during ‘sleep hours’. Try to avoid naptime too late in the day and ensure their mealtimes are as regular as possible
Finally, lower your expectations! – Flying is great fun, but it can be overwhelming for parents and confusing for young children. They may not respond well to the noise, crowds, the waiting or the rules. Try to explain as much as you can in advance about what to expect and be extra patient with them, whilst being kind to yourself. If they watched more TV than you’d usually like, be thankful for the quiet time. If they cleaned you out of snacks, be glad they’re not hungry. It can be tricky flying with children, but it can also be joyful and it’s always worth it when you get there.