Taking a long-haul flight with a baby or small child is many parents idea of hell on earth – or to be more precise, 10,000m above it.
Travelling with young ones is a challenge, but there are steps you can take to make it a little easier.
Here, Weekly readers share their tips.
When the cabin lights dim on the plane after a meal, I change my girls into their pyjamas and give them the toys or blankets they usually have in bed. This way, they get the message that it is time to go to sleep.
I always travel with lots of wet wipes and plastic bags for throwing rubbish in. And I pack a couple of surprise toys from a $2 shop for when it looks like my son is about to lose it. Distraction is a great tactic!
Don’t sit a small child in the aisle seat. It’s easy for hands, feet and heads to get hit by passing passengers or, even worse, the food and drink trolleys. Also, it’s easier for them to get up and go walkabout, and if you fall asleep, you may not notice them slipping away.
Baby front or backpacks are a godsend when you are at the airport and need to have your hands free. They’re much easier for little babies than a stroller, especially if you have hand luggage you are trying to wheel.
WATCH: Mum invents a device to help stop babies crying on planes. Story continues after the video...
Contact the airline in advance to find out what they offer in terms of kiddie goodies, such as activity packs. It can save you having to take stuff yourself.
As well as taking changes of clothes for your child in case of a mishap, take one for yourself. Believe me, it’s no fun sitting on a plane for hours in vomit-covered clothes if your child throws up on you.
Those blow-up pillows are fantastic and can make all the difference when it comes to your child managing to sleep. The airline pillows don’t usually do an efficient job.
Be prepared for the pain they may experience when their ears get blocked. Breastfeeding is good for small babies and sipping on water or eating chewy food can help toddlers because it makes them swallow and chew. Older kids can find chewing gum helps.
Come prepared. Have snacks to prevent kids from getting hungry and grumpy, and plenty of activities to keep them entertained. But avoid any games or toys with little pieces that can easily get lost – I once ended up crawling around on my hands and knees on a plane looking for tiny bits of Lego that had been dropped.
We try to make sure we get to the departure lounge in plenty of time so we can take advantage of the early boarding for families with young children. It’s much easier to get settled and
have everything you need within easy reach in the seat pockets before all the other passengers get on.