We recently made our big move to Aix-en-Provence France which included a 9 hour overseas flight to Frankfurt Germany followed by a 6 hour layover and another 1 hour flight to Marseille France. I have flown with the kids before but I learned a few additional things this time around…
Don’t expect that they will sleep on the plane.
- Even if the flight occurs during their normal sleeping time and they are super tired they will still stay awake. You can make it a little easier for them by holding or nursing them but then they may need you to continue so that they can stay asleep. Also, if your small kiddo is used to sleeping in a bed then try to request the bulkhead seats. The airline has a bassinet that they can attach in front of you so that your little one can sleep. This made a big difference to our 14 month old who is used to putting himself to sleep in his crib every night.
No matter how many activities you bring on the plane they will want to watch videos instead.
- So save your back and only bring a couple of things on the plane for your kids to do. The videos on my ipad were a big hit with our 3 year old and our 14 month old slept most of the time after I was able to get him to sleep in the first place (see above).
Bring lots of snacks from home because they won’t eat anything that is served on the plane.
- We brought an entire bag of snacks from home and they were a lifesaver. Cheddar bunnies and yogurt melts were a big hit as were granola bars. We also continued to feed them these things after we arrived in Aix since Aaron and I survived on paninis for a couple of days and the kids didn’t like them.
If you are flying with another adult have one board early with the bags and the other board later with the kids.
- Every airline that we have flown on allows people with children to board early. Take advantage of that and have one parent board with as much stuff as they can carry onto the plane. They can set up the carseat if you are bringing one and put all of the bags away in the overhead compartments without kids underfoot. Meanwhile the other parent can stay outside the plane until final boarding and let the kids run around a little more. The less time that the kids are on the plane, the better!
Keep your expectations in check because they are kids.
- It’s tough to fly with kids and 9 hours is a long time. They will cry and they will have trouble but try to enjoy the experience as much as you can. The more that you keep your emotions in check the easier it will be to handle the inevitable meltdowns, whining and bickering that will happen during the flight. Happy flying!