14 expert tips for flying with kids

Let’s be honest, if we’re going to talk about what things are the most fun in life when you’re a parent, being on a plane with kids is not going to be at the very top of the list. Flying with kids can be stressful, but they don’t need to be. This year so far we’ve spent almost 60 hours in the air, so I feel that I’ve become an expert on flying with kids and staying sane.

We recently took a trip to Dubai to explore, and we flew with Emirates. Emirates is known for being one of the best airlines in the world, and it only takes one flight with them to understand why. Often kids are seen as a hindrance or pain when flying, but kids are really celebrated and embraced on Emirates, which takes a bit of stress away for parents. From the moment we stepped onto the plane we were welcomed by the cabin crew with big smiles, and treated to little Emirates moments that made the flight more enjoyable.

I remember flying with them years ago when Lulu was only just one year old, and they helped with her, and they took a little Polaroid photo on board of the girls flying together, and we were given another of us as a family as well as the girls this trip. It’s something they do for families who fly with them, and such a cute way to start or end a trip.

As a self-proclaimed expert (I’ve spent well over a hundred hours in the air with kids, where’s my expert badge? 🤣), I’m sharing my favourite tips for flying with kids below, because getting to where ever it is you’re headed shouldn’t be stressful.

14 tips For Flying With Kids


1. Pre-book a kids meal for the flight

When booking your tickets, make sure you order a kids meal for your little ones, which can easily be done via your booking reference number online, or just make a phone call to the airline before you fly to organise it. While the adult meals are child-friendly too, the kids meals are a little bit simpler and geared for kids. On our flight over on Emirates the girls had pasta dishes for dinner, with crackers and slice. Us adults had a beef stew and then a salmon fillet with dill sauce on the way home. I have to say that when it comes to meals, Emirates really hits it out of the park. If you’ve got a bub on your hands, they also have baby food for your little one.

2. Book a night flight

I personally like flying in the daytime, mostly because I just want to be awake and watch all the shows {ha} but flying with kids is easier at night, I think. Flying over to Dubai, our flight was around 9pm, so we had an early dinner before our flight and then got comfy, boarded the flight, had a second dinner {because why not?} and then settled in with a movie and a long sleep. If you get the choice, book a night flight!

3. Choose the right seats

If you’re flying with children, the best seats are window seats and middle seats. I found when I put Lulu in the aisle seat, she’d fall asleep and her feet would dangle in the aisle – right in the way of the trolley and other passengers trying to get to the bathroom. I’ve learned that it’s much better if she’s positioned near the window or in the middle seat.

4. Take advantage of the family check-in desks

When flying out of Dubai, Emirates really cares for families. I remember the first time we flew out of there, we lined up at the normal check-in desks, and a staff member plucked us out and told us they could take care of us at the family area. And they did. It means getting through quickly and easily. They also have complimentary strollers to use while at the airport, which makes life easier with toddlers.

5. Take a small back pack for each child

This tip is one of my favourites, because it’s simple and it’s good. I pack a little back pack for each of my girls, and they’re not allowed to open it until we’re up in the air and the seatbelt sign is off. That’s the rules, and they know them. Inside is simple things, like notepads and textas, little activity kits and little toys. I also put an iPad and headphones in the little back pack as a back-up, in case they need it. With each of the girls having their own backpack, it just means they have their own responsibility to pack it back up.

6. Pack snacks!

As well as all the goodies to keep the kids entertained in their backpacks, I also pack a few little snacks. I pack a lollipop for take-off, a little packet of chips, a Vegemite sandwich if needed and any of their other favourite snacks to eat. A full tummy generally equals a happy kid!

7. Board early, and board first

Yes, I’m one of those people who like to board first, and board early and this is why; A full plane is a busy place, especially when everyone is putting things into overhead lockers and moving about. I like to board early, and get everything I need out of my carry-on luggage, and get the girls sorted so we can start our flight in a calm way. Emirates allows families with children to board first, so take advantage of it.


8. Watch all the shows!

If there’s something that I love about flying, it’s the movie marathons that I go on. I will happily cry through movies on a flight and I do {hello, A Star Is Born!}. Emirates has all the best movies on their inflight entertainment with 4000 channels, but they also have TV series, games, podcasts and music. The kid range is enough to keep the kids entertained for hours {almost 15 of them, that we had on our flight to Dubai!}. Once you get the kids sorted, make sure you get some me-time too while watching a movie or TV show.

9. Pack comfy clothes, definitely PJs

When possible, I try and book a night flight so I can get the kids on board, give them dinner and then let them sleep through the bulk of the flight. It makes life easier. If we do have a night flight, I’ll put the kids into PJs or even just super comfy day clothes {leggings, t-shirt, and a comfy cardigan or jumper}, and socks. Emirates provides socks for guests in their amenity packs, but I always pack my own as well.

10. Grab a kids pack!

Each guest on Emirates flights are given an amenity kit with socks, eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste etc, but you might not know that you can also get a kids pack too. They have goodies to keep the kids entertained, including small headphones for the kids, stickers, notebooks and more. You’ll most likely be given one before take-off, but if not, just ask a cabin crew member for one. Also the adult amenity kits make great pencil cases so keep those for later!

11. Make use of what you’ve got

On Emirates flights, each guest in Economy gets a blanket, a pillow and an eye mask. A little trick that I didn’t know others didn’t do {a fellow passenger saw me do it and was surprised at the little hack}. You can slip the armrest into the pillowslip of the complimentary pillow. I do this so that the girls don’t knock their heads, and so that the pillow stays in the one spot.

12. Pack-less and stress less

Knowing what is available on your flight can help you with packing, so you don’t have to pack everything AND the kitchen sink. Emirates offers so much for parents traveling with babies. They have bassinets, change tables, spare bottles, bottle warmers and baby food. They also have a Baby Kit Bag with nappies, baby spoon and baby change mat.

13. Make friends with the friendly cabin crew

We had the best crew with Emirates. On the way over we made friends with the crew {and even ended up being Instagram friends with them!}. We met Vianney upon boarding, and became fast friends with him through the flight. He can speak six languages, and was so attentive and caring. I was surprised to learn that it was only his second week in the job. It was like he was born to do the job. I always find that when I am friendly with the crew they really appreciate the friendliness, and they’re always happy to throw an extra bread roll or snack our way when possible. In the case of Emirates it was a Tim Tam or two!

14. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need

Still hungry mid-way through your flight? Ask for a snack. On the way to the bathroom I found a bunch of treats for guests in the galley. They change depending on what route you’re traveling with Emirates, but there were Tim Tams {as mentioned before}, Cadbury bars, Twix, cookies, and even Kit Kats. Throughout the flight they also serve pizzas and popcorn which you can enjoy with your movie {and that we did!}.

Where are you headed with your family?