10 Tips for Traveling with Kids on Airplanes


Pack a Stash of Surprises

Your child will want to show off her new toy to everyone.
Your child will want to show off her new toy to everyone.
Peter Dazeley/Riser/Getty Images

When it comes to flying with kids, the best-laid plan is no guarantee for a smooth and easy trip. Even kids who are well-fed and equipped with every imaginable source of entertainment can start to melt down after spending too long in the sky. Beat the airplane blues with a stash of small surprises to help distract your child. Before your flight, fill a bag with small, affordable presents that you can surprise your child with on the plane. Promise kids one present per hour on a long flight, or simply reach into your bag of tricks as needed to avert a crisis. You don't have to spend a fortune on these gifts either -- anything your child hasn't seen before can serve as a powerful distraction for a cranky young flyer. Wrap toy cars, dolls, rolls of stickers, colorful lollipops, coloring books or even miniature stuffed animals. You'll not only keep your kids busy, but also give them something to look forward to as you head toward your destination.

Related Articles


  • Cripps, Karla. "Malaysia Airlines Launches Kid-free Economy Zone." CNNGo. April 12, 2012. (April 25, 2012) http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/life/malaysia-airlines-launches-child-free-economy-zone-875833
  • Federal Aviation Administration. "Child Safety on Airplanes." Nov. 11, 2011. (April 25, 2012) http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/
  • Higgins, Michelle. "Are We There Yet? When Families Fly." The New York Times. Nov. 4, 2011. (April 28, 2012) http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/travel/flying-with-children-the-bad-and-the-worse.html?pagewanted=1&hp
  • Higgins, Michelle. "It's Not the Carrier, It's the Kids" The New York Times. Nov. 23, 2011. (April 25, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/travel/traveling-with-kids-readers-prefer-you-didnt.html?_r=2
  • McCartney, Scott. "Flying With Little Children? Go to the Back of the Plane." The Wall Street Journal. Nov. 17, 2011. (April 28, 2012) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204517204577042111627445348.html
  • McDermott, Corinne. "5 Tips to Avoid Flying With Kids." Huffington Post. June 17, 2011. (May 3, 2012) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/corinne-mcdermott/tips-to-avoid-flying-with-kids_b_878309.html
  • Perrin, Wendy. "Flying With a Toddler? How Not to Get Kicked Off a Plane." Conde Nast Traveler. July 17, 2007. (April 25, 2012) http://www.cntraveler.com/perrin-post/2007/07/flying-with-a-t
  • Sarn, Heidi. "Travel With Kids on Long Flights, and Survive." Frommer's. June 20, 2006. (April 25, 2012) http://www.frommers.com/articles/3685.html
  • Seaney, Rick. "Avoiding Screaming Kids on Planes." ABC News. April 19, 2011. (May 3, 2012) http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/avoiding-screaming-kids-planes/story?id=13400899#.T6J5NtkpmnC
  • Sharkey, Joe. "Kids on the Plane? Maybe I'll Have That Drink." The New York Times. July 22, 2007. (April 25, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/22/weekinreview/22sharkey.html?_r=1
  • Shu, Jennifer. "Is It Safe to Sedate My Baby for Travel?" Baby Center. September 2011. (April 25, 2012) http://www.babycenter.com/404_is-it-safe-to-sedate-my-baby-for-travel_7263.bc
  • University of Rochester Medical Center. "Traveling With Children." April 28, 2012. (April 28, 2012) http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=85&ContentID=P01421


6 Crazy Theme Cruises

6 Crazy Theme Cruises

HowStuffWorks Now looks at some of the strangest theme cruises sailing.