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8 tips to prepare a long-haul flight with children

15 Mar 2018

You’re living in Singapore and are planning to go back home this summer with your kids? You’ve planned holidays in Australia for Easter? Even if you are excited about your holidays, you can be a bit stressed about the long-haul flight with your kids. How to make them sleep in the plane? Are their ears going to hurt during take off and landing? Don’t worry, theses questions are pretty common among young parents! The UEX team can help you. As our team has a couple of parents with young kids, and as expats, we are used to these issues. Here are a few tips to make the trip go as smoothly as possible.


1) Choose your flight wisely

If you want your flight to be as smooth as possible, choose your departure time wisely. Especially if it’s a long-haul one.

If you can, try to avoid stopovers as much as possible. They can be pretty tiring, for kids but also for parents. With a direct flight, you will reduce the time of your trip. These hours are always nicer to be spent at the beach rather than in an airport…

Concerning you departure time, try choosing flights that leave in the evening or at night. First, it will be easier for you to get over the jet lag. Moreover, with luck, your children will fall asleep during take off and wake up only when you will arrive. This might allow the parents to sleep as well.

To finish, if you can, choose an airline company that is kid-friendly. Some of them are more used to handling children and offer some entertainments in order to make the flight faster.

For example with Air France, you can borrow babies carriages or order special food for babies. You can see details on the official website.

2) Be careful about take off and landing

The most stressful moment for a parent during a flight with children are the take-off and landing. The difference in pressure during these phases can be quite painful. This sensation is intensified with kids, because of their small-sized ears.

Luckily, here are a few solutions to reduce this sensation. You can bring along candies such as caramels onboard the plane. For newborns, it is strongly advised to give them something to suck on, like milk bottles or a pacifier.

However, if these couple of tips do not work, you can always try a nasal decongestant spray.


3) Don’t forget entertainment

If your kids tend not to sleep during the flight, bring something to entertain them. It’s a fact, children can get bored very fast! If you have the possibility, bring multiple activities to occupy them.

Color books, puzzles or cards can be good solution. If your children are not interested in the books you brought, there still are other solutions. Ipads, videogames, or tablets are a good way to hold their attention during a long-haul flight. Before you leave, make sure that the batteries are fully charged in order to avoid a crisis in the middle of the flight! A quick reminder that it’s not recommended to leave your kids exposed to screens for too long.


4) Beware of germs!

A study from the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) has showed that viruses can resist up to 7 days in a plane. It would be a bit sad to start your holidays by a visit to the doctor !

Think about washing your hands regularly as well as your children’s, especially after going to the bathroom. One good item to bring abroad are wet wipes, to wipe the little ones hands before they eat.

Try to avoid touching the air conditioning buttons or your tablet. These elements are considered as the dirtiest part of an airplane and are rarely cleaned.


5) Come equipped

Planes are known for their strong air conditioning, and it’s easy to catch a cold. Think about bringing a jacket or a hot blanket onboard for your family. Don’t forget socks for you and your kids. These advices are even more to be taken into account if you’re traveling during the night.

One other thing not to forget is your kids’ teddy bears or their comfort blankets as it will help them fall asleep easier.

Incidents can happen quite quickly especially if you’re traveling with kids. Your tomato juice spilling over your lap and your jeans are drenched… Bringing some spare clothes are mandatory. Think about putting them in your hand luggage to anticipate any problems.

Furthermore, some airline companies do not provide suitable headphones for children. Check out what kind of headphones they give out or bring your own.

Finally, for your whole family to sleep as well as possible, bring travel pillows. These pillows will support your neck during the flight. They are known to reduce neck stress as well as back pain. A good solution to sleep comfortably in the plane.

Another useful accessory to bring onboard for your kids would be the: 1st Class Travel Pillow. This pillow is a inflatable and fills the space between your seat and the seat in front of you, turning your child’s seat into a flatbed. However, you must be careful some airlines have banned it for safety reasons.


6) Don’t forget exercice

Staying seated for long hours : no one likes it! For children, it’s the same, they need to move and exercise. In addition to your toilet breaks, it’s important to stand up and walk around regularly during long-haul flights. Bring them for a 5 minutes walk every 2 or 3 hours. It will help them to relax their muscles and also pass the time.


7) Bring along some snacks and drinks

During a flight, we quickly feel the need to drink and eat. As a matter of fact, the air in airplanes is usually quite dry. It is important to make sure your kids drink enough so they stay well hydrated. However, you should limit the amount of soft drinks or coffee based drinks.

Airplane food usually is not too kid-friendly, even when you book a kids meal in advance. So try to feed your kids before you get on the plane!

Depending on the time of your flight and your destination, meal hours can be shifted. It’s quite frequent for children to be hungry in airplanes. To avoid any issue, bring along a few snacks for the whole family. Try to take something easy to carry around and easy to eat. Chocolate bars aren’t probably the best option as they will tend to melt, especially in Singapore!


8) Take some medicine with you, just in case

Sore throat, fever, a cut, stomach ache…  aches and pains can happen quickly! Just in case, think about bringing some medicine with you. However, don’t forget about the liquid restriction. In your cabin luggage, it is limited to 100 ml per bottle.

If you or a family member is undergoing a medicine treatment, don’t forget your doctor’s note and the original boxes. Customs may ask to see them if you want to enter some countries.


Here are a few tips that UEX team uses when they travel with their kids. We hope they will be useful! Of course, each parent has his own tricks to make travelling more pleasant for them but also for their children. We wish you a pleasant flight!

Sources :

To find out more about healthcare topics in Singapore you can check our articles. To understand how your health insurance plans cover the healthcare costs, you can approach UEX’s happiness team by email or by phone for more information and guidance – and the good news is that they are super nice!

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