5 Tips for Flying with kids from flight attendant and bestselling author Heather Poole originally appeared in Parade Magazine November 17, 2013
Despite my years of travel, I am lucky enough to know an even more frequent flyer—flight attendant extraordinaire, author of New York Times bestseller Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, and mom, Heather Poole. As parent to a seven-year-old, Heather is on Team Mom as far as kids flying. Here are her Dos, Don’ts, and Are You Serious-es to help parents experience a welcome drop in cabin pressure on their next flight.
1. Lower your attitude.
“Kids can be really disruptive on flights. But usually when that happens, it’s not the kid’s fault; it’s the parents’. Not long ago, I had a family come on board and their little girl threw a temper tantrum in the middle of the aisle as passengers tried to board. The parents looked at me and just laughed. Too often I see parents come on a plane with nothing to entertain their child, so then the kid gets bored and starts kicking the seat in front of them. Sometimes parents will even sit in first class, but leave their kids in coach. The kids will then be standing in the aisle during takeoff or trying to get out of their seats. If you can’t sit together, sit behind the kids, instead of in front, so you can keep an eye on them. Consider taking off their shoes to dissuade kicking and bring headphones—not everyone wants to listen to Spongebob.”
2. Don’t stow babies under the seat in front of you.
“I‘ve had passengers get mad at me because we didn’t have a play area on the plane. Another passenger came to the back of the plane and asked me where she could put her baby. She didn’t want to hold it. A long time ago I was on a flight—not working, just flying like a regular passenger—and I felt something between my legs. I looked under my seat and there was a baby. I turned around behind me and the mom was sleeping. I tapped her on shoulder and said, ‘I think this is yours,’ and she took the baby and closed her eyes again. She had no idea that I was a flight attendant; to her I was just a random stranger who’d gotten ahold of her baby.”