Home / Plan a trip / Traveling by plane. Flying with children. All the tips
Maho Bay, Sint Maarten. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
Maho Bay, Saint Martin / Sint Maarten. Author Marco Ramerini

Traveling by plane. Flying with children. All the tips

Flying with children is a wonderful experience not only for our puppies but also for us. There is nothing to do, to live with them the thrill of getting on a flying vehicle for the first time is priceless, especially when they are grown up.

What is the best age Flying with children?

Today, we are used to seeing children of all ages get on the plane. There is no real age limit, let’s say that for infants not even a week old, airlines require a medical certificate attesting to the good health of the child and therefore the good being on the part of the pediatrician for the flight.

Certainly the best age to fly is from 5 years onwards. During this period, the child is able to understand, remember and enjoy the journey. An age that will also allow us parents to relate our child to different worlds and different cultures, tickling his curiosity.

It must also be said that when children are aged from 0 to 1 year, it allows us parents to flying with children without major problems. The child remains quite manageable. Even if we would have to carry a large amount of hand luggage with us. Just think of spare clothes and diapers in tow.

First of all, it is necessary to clarify how airlines divide children. There are in fact two categories: Infant to whose category belong children between 0 and 2 years of age and Child, that is, children with an age ranging from 2 to 12 years not yet completed.

What are the fares to which children flying by plane are subject?

Children who are part of the Infant category, therefore under 2 years of age, do not have a seat. Although, and this often happens, once boarded the plane if there is a free seat, it is usually assigned for free. The child is seated on top of the adult, taking advantage of special belts that will keep him tied during take-off, landing and if necessary, to the parent. Consequently, children are not subject to the purchase of the seat. But they are charged for the costs of some airport taxes and about 10% of the ticket for long-distance travel.

Children, the oldest, up to 12 years of age, instead taking advantage of the seat, are considered almost as adults by the airlines. They do not hesitate to charge young travelers various fares which generally vary between 70% and 100% of the ticket price.

Flying with children

What documents are needed to travel?

Once the location we plan to visit has been decided, we need to understand what kind of documents we need. Depending on the destination chosen, only an identity card or a passport or even a visa may be required. Let us inquire, therefore, on the waiting times to obtain identity documents if we have to request them for the first time.

To date, the minor European citizen, in order to travel abroad whether it is in European or non-European countries, needs to have his own identity document. This document must be valid for expatriation. In Europe most countries only require an identity card. While for the rest of the world a personal passport is absolutely necessary.

How to get the certificate of the flight baptism certificate?

Many companies within their sites, have in pdf, the flight baptism certificate to be printed before departure and to be presented directly to the pilot, who with pleasure, will sign the card in his own hand, in which the first flight of your child is mentioned, with the date and route and with the name of the company. A beautiful memory to be attached in the bedroom. Pilots are usually very helpful with children, sometimes enough to take them to a close encounter with the cockpit control room before departure.

Flying with children


The transport of luggage during departure can be a big thought for us parents. But don’t get discouraged, it’s all about getting organized in time. Recently, we took a plane trip with our 5 and 7 year old children. And although I am an apprehensive mother, everything has turned out great. Especially for carrying luggage, everyone had a trolley and a backpack on their shoulders. It was edifying to see my children, educated in time, already at home. My husband and I had tried to empower our children, explaining how important it was for everyone to think about their own luggage. And the results showed up. At the airport, they were the first to leave with their trolleys and backpacks on their shoulders, with the joy of us parents and the amused glances of passersby.

Luggage for minors will be a main suitcase. Preferably a trolley, equipped with wheels which is certainly more comfortable and easier to carry. In addition to a hand baggage, preferably a backpack, which for both infants and children, usually cannot exceed 10 kg. However, it is always good to check on the website of the company with which we intend to travel, what are the procedures to follow. Also because if you use low cost airlines there are specific rules to follow.

A very important thing regarding baggage is to affix a tag on each which indicates all the owner’s general information and address. Also remember to indicate the contact details of the first hotel where you will be staying. It will be very useful in case your luggage is lost.

What to put in your hand luggage?

The essential thing is the change of clothing of our children. In fact, even if they are old, they could get dirty or wet accidentally! For the little ones, it is a must to add diapers and wet wipes to be used instead of water. Then you will have to put some small pastime that is not cumbersome, a blanket of plaid, to use when the child falls asleep, because inside the plane, it is not very hot, word of a sensitive to cold mother!

Flying with children

What medicines to carry in hand luggage?

Don’t forget to take your medicine with you in your hand baggage and checked baggage! In hand baggage only those that do not exceed 100 ml are allowed. I usually arm myself with suppositories based on paracetamol or in tablets to be dissolved in the mouth if the children are older.

Then I bring a thermometer, a few sachets of lactic ferments for diarrhea, nasal spray hypertonic decongestant, this will facilitate breathing in case of stuffy nose. In addition, disinfectant wipes, a few packets of paper tissues, a few patches, paper toilet seats and, if anything, a natural-based nausea can happen (using small planes it can happen to be sick and there are products that can help us to overcome this inconvenience).

While all other medicines, especially those that contain liquids, you can put them in the suitcase that will go in the hold. See here which medicines to bring on a trip. Candies must not be missing, to be sucked during landing and take-off!

What foods to carry in hand luggage?

As for the food to carry in your hand luggage when flying with children. You must bear in mind that here we encounter major limitations due to aviation safety regulations. However, these difficulties can be overcome according to the rules.

For very young children the following are allowed:

  • milk powder
  • chamomile sachets.
  • some sealed homogenized products.
  • baby bottle.
  • liquids that do not exceed 100 ml to be put in a transparent bag.

All this is a rule that only applies before boarding and before entering the control area.

Once we have entered the boarding gate and passed the control area, we enter an area where there are restaurants and shops selling food. A tip is to buy a few small bottles of water and snacks, such as biscuits or crakers before entering the plane. Sometimes it can happen that your child doesn’t really appreciate the food they serve on the plane and so we can stop the situation.

What is not allowed to carry in hand luggage?

To date, on the basis of safety regulations which are always subject to change. Liquids exceeding 100 ml and any type of food are excluded from hand baggage before entering the boarding gate and before the check-in area. Obviously weapons, scissors, cutters etc. are prohibited.

Check in:

A fundamental rule to always follow before each trip is to leave on time and reach the airports well in advance. Usually the opening for check-in, i.e. the delivery of baggage excluding hand luggage and the delivery of tickets for boarding, for domestic flights is made between 1 and 2 hours before the flight, while for international flights it is done at least 2 hours before take-off.

Checking in for a child traveling for the first time by plane is also a special experience. Respecting the queue before checking in can present a small problem for kids. In this case it can be useful a few days before, to buy a trunkey. It is a small suitcase, with four wheels, in which the child up to 1 year and a half, is seated and transported as a game by an adult or using simple feet. This trick can be useful to make waiting more pleasant.

Boarding and Security Checks

Due to terrorist attacks around the world, airlines have taken the necessary security measures to ensure a smooth flight for the traveler.

Once checked-in, we are given a ticket in which the gate number and boarding time appear. In order to enter the gate, we have to check everything we get on the plane with us. A very important thing is to explain this passage a few days before departure to the child: the child may become frightened, noticing the searches on his luggage. It is good to explain that the policemen assigned to this task do it to make our trip more pleasant and adding that, if they are older, they do it for our safety.

A tip to follow a few tens of minutes before boarding the plane is to go to the toilet, both for us adults and for our children, especially for babies, for the various changes of diapers (in the best equipped airports usually every bathroom is equipped with a changing table).

A very pleasant thing that happens when boarding an airplane is the priority of the ascent by plane to families with children. Finally, remember that for younger children it is allowed to accompany them with the stroller to the airplane entrance, the stroller must be foldable, and at the time of getting on the plane it will be taken into the custody of the hostesses and then returned to the parents upon disembarkation.

Eating in the plane:

When booking the flight, the children’s menu can already be set: for those under 2 years of age, homogenised meat and fruit are usually offered, which you will kindly ask to warm up. While older children will be offered a menu suitable for their age.

Travel Tips:

If the hours that you will spend in the plane will be many, it will be necessary to look for the best way so that the stay in the vehicle for the child is the least boring as possible.

If the child is under two years of age, it will be a little more complicated to manage it in spite of what they say: only with the infant or with the child of a few months it is possible to spend time on the plane in a serene way, colic allowing of course!

In fact, we know very well that a child of this age has only eating and sleeping as his primary need, but being so small they can incur unpleasant earache especially during take-off and landing. But it is not said, it depends on the child. Then if we flying with children ranging from a year to a year and a half, it will be difficult to keep them seated: we can resort to some games brought from home, to a few books, but do not hinder them if they want to walk, they will be curious to explore the plane.

Keeping them seated will not be a problem for older children. Especially in long-haul flights, there are seats equipped with radio and TV, where the child can follow the latest films that have just come out or that will be released shortly. They will also find electronic games suitable for their age, and aerial maps enriched with data relating to speed, outside temperature and time left on arrival.

Take-off and landing:

Taking off and landing are the two most beautiful moments for anyone flying, much more so for the children who will board the airplane for the first time. The moment of take-off, where the noise and power of the engines gradually take power, the acceleration of the plane, these are the things that particularly fascinate the child, not to mention the moment in which the vehicle remains suspended between the earth and sky ! Do we want to talk about the panorama that can be seen from up there? Everything will be magnificent for the child! From the window you can not only admire breathtaking landscapes such as mountains, the sea, but you can experience flying above the clouds!

But unfortunately, during these two moments, very small inconveniences can occur, especially among children: the ears undergo such pressure that they close and then to solve the problem it will be enough to offer the child, a candy or advise him to perform repeated actions of yawn, take a few sips of water, to overcome the discomfort!

If the child in question is an infant, it will be enough to offer him the baby’s bottle or breast, in order to stimulate sucking and decrease the discomfort in the ears.

What are the best seats for children?

A tip for the seat. For children under 2 years is to ask at check-in, seats on the corridor side, to avoid passing every little bit through the seats of the other passengers. Other good seats are front row seats that offer more legroom.

If the child is older, from 5 years of age, however, he will ask for the place next to the window, to be able to see the panorama from above: it will certainly be an unforgettable experience for him / her.

What is the best clothing to stay on the plane?

Whether you travel in summer or in winter, the temperature on the plane is quite cool, thanks to the presence of air conditioning … So, the solution is layered clothing, without forgetting the wool sweater! For the little ones it will be convenient to carry a woolen blanket for sleep. And in any case, don’t forget to bring a complete change with you, a rule that applies to both baby and kids, as inconveniences can always happen!

Sleep on the plane:

Usually children do not have big problems sleeping on the plane, maybe the problem is more ours!

Usually during international flights, airlines are equipped with cribs, also called skycots or baby cots. This accessory is only available for children up to 6 months of age and weighing not more than 10 kg usually. Cots can be requested at the time of booking the ticket but it is not certain that the assignment is certain, you will only see it at the time of check-in! Cradles are hooked onto the free wall of the plane and seem to be comfortable! Obviously they cannot be used both during take-off and landing.

For older children, on the other hand, just lower the back of the seat and place the head on the pillow, which the crew distributes to each passenger together with the cover, in order to have peaceful dreams!

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