Whoever first said, “Children should be seen and not heard” probably got the idea on a red-eye flight.
Ed Lawrence, an IT consultant,was on an overnight from San Francisco to Boston. Looking forward to six hours sleep, he thought he could get some peace and quiet.
He has never been so wrong in his life.
Two toddlers, seated near him, decided it was playtime. The duo’s parents were clueless, and Ed didn’t get a moment of shut-eye on the red-eye.
Now Ed, and others like him, are wondering if kids should even be allowed on a red-eye. He’s not alone, and, at least, two airlines agree with him.
Malaysia Airlines recently introduced a no-kids section on flights between Kuala Lumpur and London. Another Malaysian airline, AirAsix X announced the first eight rows in economy will be a “quiet zone”. Both airlines intend to let passengers get some sleep on overnight flights.
Some parents argue that a red-eye is the best place for young children — as long as they sleep.
Red-eye flights are a required evil for cross-country, or international, flights. Since red-eyes are frequently the least expensive flights to many destinations, they are a tempting option for families since the savings can add up when traveling with multiple adults and kids.
Red-eye flights can be a trap for unwitting parents who think the little ones want to nod off immediately. Choosing a red-eye is a toss of the coin that depends on the volatile nature of infants and toddlers. Your kid may sleep quietly or be the one that screams for five hours.
For parents who choose a red-eye flight with babies or toddlers, here are a few tips to make it work and allow other passengers to keep their sanity:
Keeping your kid in comfortable clothing will help the mood for a peaceful flight. Pick pajamas that make it easy for diaper changes and bathroom trips. Don’t bring the footed ones on flights.
- Stuffed Toys
Let the kid have the usual items they sleep with such as a stuffed animal or blanket. This may trigger your child’s sleep associations and, maybe, result in better odds for a sleepy child.
- Buy a Seat
If you were intent on sleeping — and have your child do likewise, you need to have as much room as possible to stretch out and get comfy. Sleep will never happen with a wiggly toddler on your thighs for five hours.
- Bring a Car Seat
A car seat is especially helpful when the child is still in the “bucket” version that is partially reclined and allows for a comfortable sleeping position. It can be a harder choice for older toddlers as the car seats are more upright, not to mention the kid’s legs are now in a perfect position to kick the seat in front.
- Infant Bassinet
Some international flights have bassinets available that attach to the bulkhead. These have low weight limits, so they are only good for small infants. Getting them can be a crap shoot as not all airlines, or plane types, have them.
Travel can be stressful. Traveling with kids can make parents – and passengers – border on the edge of murder. Some common sense, along with common courtesy, can go a long way towards making everyone’s trip a little more enjoyable.