Flying With Children- A Complete Guide

Flying with Children

When you’re taking babies or young children on holiday, there are just so many things to consider! It’s really important to be clued up on everything you might need to know, especially in terms of getting to your destination safely and easily.

Sainsbury’s Bank have put together an excellent ‘Flying With Children’ guide including everything you’ll need to know about flying with kids. View the full guide HERE, see the animated guide HERE, or see below for our summary…


Before You Fly

Can your child fly?

This depends on the airline, and the age of your child; some airlines allow babies to travel from 2 days old, others from two weeks.  You may be required to ask your GP for a letter which proves that your baby is fit to fly. Most airlines require one adult to accompany each child.

Does your travel insurance policy cover newborns or infants?

It is worth checking this before you leave, so you are completely aware of your entitlements.

Does your child need a passport?

YES- children of all ages will need their own passports to travel. These usually take 3 weeks to arrive and cost around £46. For guidance on taking baby passport photos, read our other article HERE.

Will your child need it’s own seat?

See below!

flying with children seat guide


On the Plane

What can you take on the plane?

This varies between airlines, however as a general guide…

For infants under 2 years, as lap babies or in bassinets:

  • One bag for your baby’s items which they will need during the flight
  • One completely collapsible pushchair
  • One car seat
  • A small completely collapsible pushchair which can be wheeled to the aircraft door then stowed in the hold

For children over 2 years who have their own seat:

  • The same hand luggage and checked luggage restrictions as adults

What should you pack in your hand luggage?

Key essential items include:

  • Nappies- one for each hour you will be travelling, plus extra in case of delays
  • A disposable changing mat, wet wipes and nappy sacks
  • Spare clothes, just in case
  • Blankets for comfort, or in case the plane or departure lounge is cold
  • A favourite toy can be really helpful if your child is tired or nervous
  • Expressed milk or formula- boiled water in a baby bottle or baby food for the trip (this can usually be over 100ml, however airport security may ask you to taste this as a security measure)

 What should you pack in your checked luggage?

There are lots of different things you will need on holiday with a baby, although Tots to Travel provide lots of these in our Essential Kit Guarantee.

Here are some useful essentials:

  • Child pain relief
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Teething gel
  • Thermometer
  • Insect repellent
  • Factor 50+ sun cream (see our list of the top baby and child sun creams for 2015 HERE)
  • Rehydration powder
  • Soluble anti-sickness relief
  • Bite and sting relief, calamine lotion
  • A universal plug can turn a shower tray into a bath for your baby



Bored children on planes is never fun- you can read about some great ways to keep babies and toddlers entertained during a flight HERE. For slightly older children, have a look at the list below:

Learn about the destination:

  • Use Lonely Planet’s Amazing World Atlas app to teach about continents, countries and cities
  • Teach your child to say ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’ in the native language of your destination
  • Teach them about local foods, and encourage them to try it when you arrive

Music and Books:

  • Put lots of new songs and audiobooks on your MP3 or tablet
  • Get some child-friendly headphones, and keep the volume low enough to protect their ears
  • Consider getting a headphone splitter if you have more than one child


  • Download some new apps, TV shows or films to use during the flight- but make sure they can be used offline, as you won’t have Wifi when you’re sky high!


Coping With Travel Problems

A nervous child

  • Before you leave for the airport, talk them through what will happen when you arrive- including during security checks and the security scanner
  • Talk them through getting on the plane, finding their seat, wearing a seatbelt and what happens during take-off and landing
  • Give them a book about planes before you leave, so they can learn a bit more about flying- the more they know, the less daunting it will be!

Motion Sickness

  • This is very common in children aged 3-12 years
  • Treatments for kids include tablets, diluting salts and wristbands
  • You can read our other article on coping with motion sickness HERE.


  • Flying can cause dehydration, especially in children and babies
  • This is caused by the low humidity in planes
  • Be sure to buy some bottled water in the shops before the gate and after the security checks, or on the plane

Ear Pressure

  • Ear pain can be a problem on planes, especially if your child has a cold or infection
  • Adults learn to ‘pop’ this pain by swallowing or yawning- but this may be difficult to explain to a child!
  • Try and avoid air travel if your child has a cold. If you’re determined to travel, encourage them to drink plenty as dehydration can make cold symptoms worse
  • Teach older children to hold their nose and blow to open the ear, but encourage them to do this gently as it can hurt!

Lost Child

If you’re concerned about losing your child in the airport, there are some things you can do! Airports can be very confusing and scary places for a child, so its good to be prepared.

For younger children, use a GPS tracker. These can be worn as chips in hand luggage, bracelets or watches. If your child goes walkabout, you can then track them with your mobile phone!

For older children, arrange a meeting point for if you get separated, and provide them with some flight details so that they can ask for directions.


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Olivia Frost
Olivia Frost

Olivia is a Digital Marketing Exec at Tots to Travel, talented film maker, production researcher, journalist and copywriter. She’s actually amazing.

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