Finnair co-pilot's five best tips for travelling with small children
Travelling with a baby or a toddler? Finnair co-pilot Jussi Korkeela has baby twins and a toddler. Jussi and his spouse love to travel and their kids haven’t stopped them from exploring the world. Recently, the family of five went on a family trip to the Canary Islands. Here are Jussi’s five tricks and tips for travelling with small children.
1. Choose the right flight time
Choosing the right flight time can increase the likelihood of your child sleeping during the flight, which makes travelling a bit easier. In some cases, a night flight might work for your child, and sometimes flying during their naptime is your best time to travel. Either way, you want to try to have the same routines as you would have at home. You can adjust to the new time zone at the destination.
It’s a good idea to arrive at the airport at least two hours before your scheduled departure time, as hurry is an unnecessary aspect you want to avoid when travelling with kids. You want to avoid rush hour times at the airport, and if you can’t, just make sure to arrive extra early at the airport.
2. Bring toys & things to do
Your child’s favorite toy or maybe a new toy can keep your child busy for a while. Reading books and drawing are some of our child’s favorite activities. So, we always pack plenty of books and drawing equipment with us.
Keeping your child entertained is important. If your flight doesn’t have in-flight entertainment assembled to the seat in front of you, remember you can buy internet access either on board from nordic-sky.finnair.com or in advance in Manage booking or Finnair app, and watch something online. It might also be wise to download some of your toddlers’ favorite cartoons offline before boarding a plane.
3. Select the proper seat
If you are travelling on a long-haul flight, it pays off to purchase a baby bassinet seat. Usually, these seats are also near the toilets, which you will most likely visit a few times during the flight. For your toddler, I suggest purchasing a window seat. This guarantees some free in-flight entertainment, and you don’t have to worry about your toddler running down the aisle. At least too much.
4. Bring or buy snacks and stay hydrated
During a long flight it’s essential to drink enough water. You can bring your own baby food, pre-order some food for your toddler or buy some snacks on board. On long-haul flights, all travellers are served food, however, you will still want to bring your own snacks for the youngest ones. Sipping on a juice box during takeoff and landing can help alleviate ear pressure, and a pacifier does the job also. Remember to have spill-proof cups.
5. Pack essentials to your carry-on baggage
Remember to have plenty of diapers, extra clothes, wipes, baby food and some comfort items, for example, a blanket or pacifier in your carry-on bag. You are also allowed to bring baby food through security. In general, I recommend packing as little as possible. Don’t take any “nice to have” items with you. On our first trip with our first-born, we packed a lot of unnecessary stuff, which we didn’t end up needing.
Remember, every child is different, so adapt these tips to suit your child's preferences and needs. Planning and staying flexible will help to make your journey more enjoyable for everyone. Travelling with young children can be unpredictable, and unexpected challenges may arise. Stay calm, be patient, and try to maintain a positive attitude. Your fellow passengers have likely been in similar situations and may be more understanding than you think.
Check out a video I made @feelfinnair Instagram account for some more tips.
Bonus tip: pack a pair of grandparents.