LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — No matter where you sit on a plane. A screaming child can quickly turn your trip into a high-flying nightmare. But there are ways to keep the friendly skies friendly whether you have children or not.
Luca Fleming, 2, is a jet-setting toddler with stamps in his passport to prove it – but he’s still a toddler.
“I get absolutely nervous when I fly with my son,” travel expert Dave Fleming said. “It’s scary because I worry: Is he going to have a tantrum at 35,000 feet?”
Fleming, known as the “Miles Guy,” said he has tested several tricks for staying sane on long flights with children. “Bring out a new toy,” Fleming said. “They will be immersed in that new toy for quite some time.”
He said Legos are a good choice. “Things that can keep them active putting things together.”
“British Airways actually did a study, where they handed kids toys on a bunch of flights. They found that Lego-type toys were the most effective in keeping their attention,” Fleming said.
When planning a trip with children, Fleming has these tips for parents:
- Pack light and arrive at the airport early to avoid starting your trip stressed out
- Book flights on airlines that offer monitors on the back of seats so your kids can watch movies
- Pack a phone or a tablet with games and e-books
- Make sure the airline has changing tables when traveling with a baby
- If flying with a baby on your lap, ask if the airline has a free seat
Fleming said. “I’ve actually been on a flight to Puerto Rico once with my son, and we were able to put him in an empty seat next to us because no one was sitting there. We didn’t have to pay any extra for it.”
If you have a seat kicker, take off his or her shoes so the child can’t kick as hard. And if you’re flying as a family, consider arranging for one parent to sit in front of the child so a family member will be the one getting kicked instead of a stranger.
Some experts also recommend red-eye flights. But it did not work for Fleming. “I flew my son on a red-eye flight, thinking: OK, this will be perfect. He’ll sleep. It’ll be beautiful. It didn’t work that way,” Fleming said.
He suggested following a traveling mom, whose gesture went viral. She handed out goodie bags with ear plugs and candies to other passengers, explaining to them that it was her first time flying with her baby.
“I thought that was a great way to break the ice,” Fleming said. “I actually want to steal that little trick and do it myself.”
If you still get mean glares or your kid winds up on Youtube, just remember — the person behind the camera was once a child who annoyed strangers too.
“Parents should never be afraid of flying with the children because we want to see things. They want to see things.” Fleming said.
One mom suggested making a wallet or a fake set of keys so your child thinks he or she is playing with yours.