A new survey conducted by Northstar for Expedia on flight etiquette found that inattentive parents are the number one offenders. At 41 percent of the vote, passengers not controlling their kids beat seat-kickers, smelly nellies, boozers and chatty cathys as most offensive.
Taking babies, toddlers and small children on a plane can be enough to drive a parent mad, but it can be done without tantrums and without annoying every passenger in flight. Being prepared is the best way to make your plane ride successful.
You may find it helpful to board the plane early, especially if you have a car seat and your airline allows you to use it. That way you'll have enough time to get it installed - but keep in mind your small kids may not like being cooped up waiting for everyone else to board. For this reason, make sure they have expended lots of energy before the flight. Allow them to play in the gate and look for child-friendly areas in the airport.
Make sure you've packed lots of goodies and necessities that are easily accessible during the flight. Small children can carry their own small backpack filled with a few toys, books and snacks - even diapers.
Speaking of diapers, pack more than you think you'll ever need, and don't forget the wipes. Also bring a change of clothes for everyone - the flight could make little ones vomit - and you don't want to be wearing it during the duration of your ride.
Consider bringing an extra bottle and pacifiers, sippy cups and juice boxes. You can even bring small gifts that you can let your toddlers open throughout the flight for good behavior. It will hopefully keep them occupied and well-behaved. You may also want to let them know they'll be rewarded for being good - entice them with ice cream after landing, a new toy, or quality time together at the pool.
Ascending and descending can be difficult for small children, who don't know what is happening to their ears. Make a game out of yawning and stretching your faces to ease any discomfort. Offer something to snack on since swallowing also helps. With babies, breastfeed or offer a bottle during take-off and landing.
The back of the plane may be the best place for your family to settle in. You're close to the bathrooms and flight attendants. You can also encourage small children to get up and stretch once or twice during the flight (depending how long it is), and take a quick stroll up and down the aisles, just make sure you go along with them.
With a little planning and preparation, you can survive a plane trip with your small children and avoid being the number one offender of flight etiquette. Happy traveling!