teens

"Sit near the back": How a flight attendant travels with her own kids on planes.

I’ve worked for three airlines and also have three kids. My husband and I met while we were both working overseas and he already had two children. So I had to learn fast how to be a mum but also how to travel with children.

As a flight attendant for Jetstar, here are my tried and tested tips for flying with kids:

Extra tips from savvy travellers, because you can never be ‘too prepared’.

Video by MMC

1. You don’t want to be first on board.

Keep your kids busy and moving until boarding is near completion because once they are on board, they need to sit down.

I’ve explained it this way to my kids: “You don’t stand up and move around in the car so you don’t do it on a plane either. A plane is also a bumpy moving vehicle and we love you and we need you to be safe.”

Also, if you bring them on last, they can see everyone else is sitting with their seat belts on and they will do the same.

2. Assign everyone their own backpack.

This is so much better than a wheelie bag as it’s hands free and will fit under the seat in front for easy access. Individual toys and snacks are then easily located rather than you hunting around in your own bag. You will still need to check everyone actually is holding their bag and it’s not left in the car or at security.

travel with kids
Melanie and her kids on a family holiday to Uluru in Australia's Northern Territory. Image: Supplied.
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Good snacks to bring along include cut up fruit, little muffins, cheese stringers, popcorn, crackers and dip, sliced celery and carrot and individual packets of chips. Think small individual bags that don’t need to be resealed or peeled. Pop in a small pack of tissues and wet wipes each too.

3. Dress your kids in bright red or yellow shirts.

If they all go in different directions all at once, or if it’s busy, you can spot them fast in the crowd – whether this be at the airport, or when you’re exploring at your destination.

4. Leave home an hour before you think you need to leave home.

Is there anything more awful than trying to run through an airport with children? There isn’t.

It’s so much better to get there with loads of time to spare. Time for toilet stops, a nice coffee and a biscuit in the food court, and to allow the kids to watch planes landing and taking off through the windows.

Also, this takes the stress out of looking for a car park or bad traffic.

5. Don’t just take an iPad.

travel with kids
Travelling with kids doesn't have to be difficult, you just need to be a bit more prepared. Image: Supplied.

Take books and toys; they don’t run out of battery or break if you drop them. Stock up on sticker books, fuzzy felt, invisible ink books and small Lego kits.

I always said I would never let electronics babysit my children… and then of course I actually had children. Don’t forget the headphones and a portable phone/iPad charger.

I now travel with two portable phone chargers as they come in so handy – not just for the kids. I’ve loaned my portable charger to adults who are left with no way or ordering an Uber or contacting their family to pick them up because of a suddenly flat battery.

6. Sit near the back if you can, near the toilets.

You can see the queue for the loo so there is little waiting (kids can’t wait for long) and of course the cabin crew are there if you need help. Please ask us if we can help you with anything. We do this job because we like to help people.

What are your best tried and true tip for travelling with children? Tell us in a comment below.

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