Children consider a flight in an airplane to be the pinnacle of existence. Life simply doesn't get any better than the excitement of being in a great big metal tube, with butterflies from your stomach pushed up your throat with the force of takeoff. The opportunity to look down on clouds that you would ordinarily look up at provides a sense of wonderment that remains with people for the rest of their lives.
Parents, however, tend not to share their offspring's unbridled joy. They know that the gauntlet of airport security checks, unruly children, piles of luggage, and lost passports was just the beginning. They still have to face a flight with little children.
In the spirit of goodwill and with due consideration to all passengers without children, airlines have come up with some proactive suggestions to limit the stress of travelling with children. Firstly, they recommend that you try to book your entire trip on one carrier. This will simplify matters should there be any complications regarding delays or connecting flights. If a connecting flight is inevitable, it is advisable to factor in an extra 30 minutes per child when calculating the minimum connection time.
Parents with small children can take advantage of priority boarding procedures. This allows them the time to get settled without being rushed and bumped by other boarding passengers. Another stress saver is the system available at many airlines that allows you to pre-book children's meals. These meals are delicious, nutritious and are served before all other meals so that you can enjoy your meal in peace.
Many airliners provide special activity packs to keep children occupied and prevent boredom from making them a nuisance to their parents and other passengers. A well-known British company provides activity books on short haul flights that are over an hour. Activity packs are available on flights that are longer than two and a half hours.
The packs include write-and-wipe magic boards, colouring books with crayons, magazines with activities and pens, books to read, travel journals and pens, electronic games, etc. Other forms of entertainment include family movies and cartoons, a pop audio channel, and a selection of handheld console games.
An airline from the United Arab Emirates also provides a goodie bag full of toys and activities. There is a toy that teaches children about various destinations around the world. The bag also contains a book of Dr Seuss stories and an activity magazine called e-kids.
The airline caters to the special dietary requirements of children. They have designed special meal boxes that are capable of serving hot food without burning fingers. They meet stringent safety requirements, seal well and have strong handles for easy transport. The boxes are divided into three compartments. One contains the hot meal and the other two contain “favourite foods".
Airlines are going out of their way to make flying a more pleasurable experience for adults and children alike. They aren't motivated solely by goodwill, however, and their intentions are somewhat more commercial. They seek to impress parents with their care of children and secure their continued business. They aim to catch the children while they are young and turn them into loyal regular flyers from an early age, encouraging them to one day fly with their own children on their favourite airline.
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Sandra wrote this article for the online marketers Extrasure travel insurance one of the most comprehensive travel insurance providers.