Top tips for flying to India with children

We have all experienced the dread of either having to fly long-haul with our own children, or to sit in an aircraft cabin with other people’s offspring. Strange surroundings, popping ears, lack of space and unfamiliar food can all be causes of anxiety and alarm for youngsters not used to travelling. If they become upset as a result, this is entirely understandable. However, it can also often be loud and trying for everyone concerned, especially if the flight is overnight and people are trying to sleep.

While no-one can truly predict how young children are going to react on a flight to India, there are several ways in which you can prepare for the experience – and help them get ready for it too.

Pick the right flight time and seats

As with so many things ln life, the better prepared you are in advance, the easier it can be to avoid or weather any problems that may crop up further down the line. This starts when booking tickets to India or other long-haul destinations. Choose travel times that fit in with your children’s expected sleep or mealtime schedules wherever possible. Book seats that will be easier to manage – aim to have the whole family sit together so that the parents or carers can support each other and take turns looking after the children. Good places to choose include near the back of the plane, as this is closest to the bathroom and cabin crew if you need any assistance during the flight.

Get ready for airport security

Passing through airport security can be unsettling for even the most seasoned of travellers. For older children, talk them through what is going to happen. For example, they will have to go through the metal detector gate and possibly remove jackets, shoes, belts and metal jewellery. They will need to stand still while their passports are checked and won’t be allowed to run around. Arrive in plenty of time so that you can deal with all the associated admin and procedures without having to rush. Factor in extra time for unexpected bathroom visits and slower walking times with little legs. Encourage children to look after their own carry-on luggage.

Keep essential items in your carry-on luggage

Hopefully, you won’t lose any luggage during your flight to India; however, mishaps have been known to happen. Always carry important things with you on the plane. For children, this can include special stuffed toys or comforters, games consoles and other entertainment, medications, a change of clothes and wash kit. It is sensible to allocate each child a backpack or wheely case to make it easier for them (or you, if necessary!) to carry it through the airport. For very young children, pack enough nappies for the flight (roughly one nappy per hour), as well as the following day, as well as snacks, pacifiers, changes of clothes and bottles (you won’t be able to take liquids through security, so you may have to repurchase milk and water).

Prepare for in-flight anxieties

The more you can head-off in-flight problems that lead to children becoming distressed, the better it will be for absolutely everyone. If you think that your children will become anxious about the flight itself, talk through what is going to happen in advance. You could even do a role play at home to help them work out what it going to happen. Pack chewing gum or boiled sweets to help when the air pressure changes and ears start popping. Pack their favourite snacks and drink too, in case the aircraft meal is not to their liking. Don’t forget a pillow, sleep mask and light blanket to help little ones drift off to sleep.

Flight etiquette

Parents and carers of little children should do their best to avoid making life harder for other travellers. That said, they can also reasonably expect some leeway from others around how hard it can be to travel with children. A little consideration goes a long way. So, stop children from kicking the seat in front of them or touching any else’s clothes, luggage or hair. Help them find their seat quickly to avoid delaying people boarding the aircraft behind you. Encourage them to be polite to cabin crew and keep their voices down as much as possible when speaking. Try to remain calm and friendly, understanding that children often take their cue on how to behave from the adults around them.