On a wing and prayer

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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.

ANGST IN THE AIR

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.

BE PREPARED

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.

HOLIDAY MEMORIES

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.

KIDS’ HOLIDAY FAVOURITES

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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