Flying with kids (my experiences flying to New Zealand)

Obviously being an expat mum I have done my fair share of traveling with kids. I think we calculated that Noodle has been to New Zealand and back at least fifteen times in his ten years of life. Little Guy has made three trips over and lets not forget our famous (disastrous) visit to Guam as another notch in our travel belts.

As the kids have gotten older it has definitely become easier to travel with them but I do have a few thoughts on the topic as to how it can be improved!

Fly DIRECT whenever possible. We flew via Seoul this year which was Okay on the way over but positively gruesome on the return flight. The extra hours added to the length of the flight and the stress of transferring don't make the savings worth it in my opinion. I will try to remember this next time.

In Seoul we had to to pass through security meaning all the plastic baggies of 100ml bottles had to be pulled out again. I'm there juggling all of our passports, boarding passes and hand luggage while making sure we don't get pushed in front of since we have a very tight transit of just one hour between flights.

The airport at Incheon is huge and hot with millions of people everywhere. There are loads of shops but getting served is reminiscent of shopping on Christmas Eve. Heaven help you of you are at all meek.

On the topic of hand luggage ... Don't let the kids pack their own! Noodle dragged about five kilos of textbooks and school homework over in his backpack, while Little Guy had half a dozen heavy metal toys, books he doesn't even like and several stuffed toys in his suitcase! Keep hand luggage to an absolute minimum and remain as hands free as possible. One bag per person is likely too many since mum will have quite a high chance of carrying them all at some point! If you have chosen a flight with in-seat entertainment then you will not need any toys, books or extra food! One small Mee a Bee satchel per kid would be fine ;)

Are you planning to travel with a baby or newborn? PLEASE don't fly all the way over from Europe to New Zealand in one crazy twenty eight hour flight!! Your baby will cry. You will want to cry. All of the surrounding passengers will want to cry. Yes, five babies a couple of rows ahead of us were quite a nightmare. Travelling with kids - Choose your seats as far away from the bulkhead as possible! My kids had a hard time tuning out those crying babies.

On the topic of choosing seats. Don't trust the airline to assign your seats. On our return flight we were faced with the terrifying situation of being seated separately. I was several rows ahead of the boys, in a separate section, trapped in the middle seat by a mean and in-compassionate man. Little Guy has food allergies and Noodle suffers motion-sickness. I was in tears with worry quite a few times in the twelve hours we had to endure. All because I assumed an airline would seat children with their mother. Never assume, always check.

Food. On most airlines children's meals need to be requested specially. It's a great idea since the special meals are brought before the main meal service (hungry kids get fed first) and there is often a toy or activity as well. Again you should not assume that just because you have bought a child fare that the child's meal will come automatically.

Commonsense decrees that you will have wipes, change of clothes, ziploc bags for wet gear. Less is needed as they age I have to say. I still like to have my creature comforts on a long flight - face creams, hand creams, nasal spray and eye drops to counter the effects of the dry air. We all brush our teeth at least once on the flight and for toilet trips I recommend disposable hospital-style slippers - the floors are so gross. (We like to take off our shoes while flying long- haul).

Plan your kid's toilet trips. The food trolley, turbulence, a full tray table and landing will all prevent a trip to the loo. Little Guy is only six and still needs to go when he needs to go.

Anyone else have any thoughts or tips to share?

saying bye to their dad at the airport


  1. For longer flights I still put my 5 yr old in pull ups even tho she is well and truly toilet trained - we call them aeroplane knickers - just in case we can't make the loo in time on the flight. Much easier to deal with if an accident.

  2. On our trip to Taiwan earlier this year we were fortunate to get an Air China flight 8 hours long instead of some that were over twice that with stopovers. We were jamned in like sardines and there was a constant stream of people using the toilets. It was like being in a flying sardine can! I wouldn't do it unless I had seeing family.

  3. Being seated separately sounds terrifying! I've always been dubious of trusting the airlines to get *anything* right, and now I'm even more so. You must be so relieved to have arrived home again safely - welcome back!


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