Monday, August 22, 2011

Flying with kids: 8 ways to get cozier on board

Until we all get flatbeds when flying long-haul flights, there is no way to be really, really comfortable in Economy class. And when you're flying with your kids, you have the added problem of trying to make them comfortable enough to hopefully get some sleep. However, here are some things you can do when you're flying to make it a little cozier on board.

ACORN Women's Tech Travel Moc Soft Red,X-Large 9.5-10.5 M US
Maybe I need some travel slippers for my next flight.
1. Take off your shoes - Take off your own shoes because your feet are likely to swell on board, and it's just comfier without them on for an entire long-haul flight. Take off your kids' shoes because they are pretty likely to put their feet up on the seat, especially if they want to go to sleep.

2. Fold up the armrests, maybe - This isn't possible to do on all airplanes, and you might not always want to have your child sleeping in your lap or on your shoulder, but sometimes this can help make you and your kids comfier when you're seated together.

3. Recline your seat, carefully - It's usually comfier to recline your seat because you get a little more space and a better sleeping position. (It also reduces the risk of your head slumping forward and your mouth falling open while you're asleep...) Check the seat behind you before reclining though: if the person there is just receiving their drinks, it might not be a good time to push back!

Fleece Travel Blanket/Pillow by TalusLug Life Nap Sac Blanket & Pillow (Crimson)
4. Grab some blankets and pillows - If pillows and blankets are offered on your flight, then grab some as soon as you're seated and hold on to them. Often, the temperature on board is lowered to "cool" when you're at cruising altitude, and a blanket can really help. Just to be sure, I usually bring along some easy-to-pack fleece blankets for the kids too (packed into their own hand luggage) just in case there are no blankets on the flight. A neck-pillow for your kids and yourself can also be a comfy option!

5. Wear layered clothing - The temperature on board airplanes often seems to vary between too warm (when you're on the tarmac), and a bit too cool (when you're in the air). Wearing a short-sleeved top with a sweater over top makes this easier to handle.

6. Remember to bring your child's comfort items - Bring any particular items your child usually has in bed with them when they fall asleep: soothers, blankies, stuffed animals, whatever. Maybe a favorite book as well. This can definitely help your child relax and feel comfortable enough to fall asleep on board.

7. Pull down the window shade - Blocking out any bright sunshine can help you and your kids fall asleep on board.

8. Keep items you need frequently, close - Any items you know you will need during the flight: water bottles, snacks, head phones, music players, and so on should be kept in the seat pockets, or in hand luggage stashed under the seat in front of you. Getting up to dig things out of the overhead compartment during a flight is doable, but if one or all of your kids are sleeping when you need something, it's a lot easier if you don't have to get up.

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