On a wing and prayer

Published: Saturday 4th July 2015 by The News Editor

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If you’re about to jet off for your family holiday, you could be set to create happy memories that last a lifetime. But if you’re not careful, at least some of those memories might be unpleasant ones linked to managing restless young children on the flight.


Nearly a quarter of parents who’ve travelled on planes with small children say it was a stressful experience, often because of other child-free passengers’ intolerant attitudes.

Nursery accessories specialist Hippy Chick found that:

:: Nearly a third (32%) of parents wouldn’t even entertain the thought of flying with youngsters because of the potential stress.

:: Of those who would fly with young children, nearly all (96%) were worried about a squealing, squirming toddler who refuses to put on their seatbelt.

:: A whopping 60% were unhappy with airline buggy regulations, which often mean parents have to leave buggies at the departure gate and get them back at baggage reclaim.

:: Another 64% agreed airlines should be more flexible and generous with luggage allowances for families.


However Catherine Cooper, author of Travelling With Children: A Parent’s Guide (Need 2 Know, £9.99), insists going on a plane with kids really doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

“I think it’s a real shame that so many parents say they wouldn’t even think of travelling by plane with children,” she says. “With a bit of organisation and planning, it really isn’t that bad.”

She suggests:

:: Finding out if you can take your buggy to the aircraft door, and where you’ll get it back. Some airports have courtesy buggies to return you to the carousel.

:: If you’re going to be without your buggy, take a sling.

:: Use the opportunity provided by airlines to let families board first, and book a bassinet well in advance for babies on long-haul flights.

:: Take non-precious toys without small pieces for the flight, plus colouring or sticker books.

:: Make sure you’ve got non-melting and non-sticky snacks for the kids.

:: Don’t worry about normal screen rules – if the kids want to watch films or Peppa Pig for the entire journey, let them.

:: Check with the airline about luggage allowances before you leave, and pack accordingly.

:: If you’re worried about anything, ask – you’ll find information quickly and easily from both airports and airlines via Twitter.


If you successfully manage to avoid a stressful flight – or even if you don’t – you’re likely to create some fantastic holiday memories. Indeed, a new Family Holiday Association study has found half of UK adults questioned say their happiest memory is that of a holiday with their family.

It also concluded smiling, laughing, experiencing things for the first time and being relaxed were key aspects of holiday memories.


It’s not just the grown-ups who enjoy being with their family on holiday – Monarch Airlines discovered more than a quarter of children (27%) aged six-12 years think spending lots of time with their family is one of the best things about their break.

Children’s top 10 things about holiday were:

:: Not being at school

:: A nice swimming pool

:: Spending time with family

:: View from the plane window

:: A TV in the hotel room

:: A comfy bed

:: A trip to a waterpark

:: Ice cream

:: Somewhere new to explore

:: Making new friends

Copyright Press Association 2015

Published: Saturday 4th July 2015 by The News Editor

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