It very obvious that in the last 15 years, flying has changed. If you don’t fly very often or have never flown with your children I have a few notes to help you prepare for flying with children.
How Flying With Children Has Changed
Food is not free.
Meals were provided free on all the flights I can recall being on 10+ years ago. Nowadays it is rare for domestic and even some international flights to provide any meals. Remember to pack snacks and full meals if you are flying over a meal. Most flights will have some meals available to purchase. Keep in mind they do run out of certain meals, especially if you are at the back of the plane, where families are usually seated.
Seeing the cockpit is mostly a thing of the past.
I recall vividly in my childhood that all first-time flyers were taken to the cockpit during flights and had the chance to meet the pilots. ‘Wings’ were often given out as well. Since 9/11, most airlines require the cockpit doors to remain closed.
Getting a baby to sleep has gotten harder.
Perhaps I haven’t traveled on enough international flights since having children, but I remember seeing crib attachments to the bulkhead. Are these completely obsolete, or just rare? My friend Mr Google is not helping me with this answer, so I would love to hear from you.
Entertainment is not necessarily free.
It used to be that if there were TVs, you would be entertained. On a recent flight I took, the screens had credit card scanners and it cost about $6 to watch shows or movies for the 3-hour flight. This might not seem like much to many people, but it all adds up.
As any parent knows, kids = stuff.
Most airlines now charge for luggage, even the first bag. Rates are somewhere between $20-$100 per bag. On the bright side, strollers, carseats and booster seats are usually free to check. Be careful to check the airlines policy on damage. These items are not always covered if they are damaged by the airline.
Parents need a chance to relax, but don’t count on it on the plane.
I might be aging myself here, but even alcohol used to be free on many flights. This wasn’t even that long ago. There are still some airlines that offer free alcoholic beverages. I highly recommend them all.
Make sure your car seat will fit.
If you plan on paying for a seat for your infant under 2 years, be sure to check that the seat is narrow enough for the airplane seat. We all know how narrow these seats are and not all car seats will fit.
Freedom has been granted for some electronics.
I finally have a positive change to report. On some airlines you do not need to turn off and stow all electronic devices. Many small devices can now be used during the entire flight. I’m a big supporter of in air screen time, and this loosens the rules a bit.
What do you feel has changed with flying over the last 10-15 years?