It could be the most wonderful time of the year if your travels run smoothly. And as anyone who has traveled with children before can attest: it takes a lot of prep work to keep them happy throughout the trip.
According to Kelli Carpenter, co-founder of KelliGregg Travel, preparing your children (of any age) for the air travel experience and planning ahead to keep them busy during transit are key factors in making family travel run smoothly. .
“There are two parts to this, because the entertainment is one part, but also so that it’s not a horrible experience for parents, there are a few things you can do ahead of time,” she told USA TODAY.
Here are some of the things she said you can do to help make your family’s winter wanderings less stressful.
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Prepare before you go
Carpenter’s first piece of advice was to do everything possible in the booking process to mitigate any disruption, including booking direct flights whenever possible.
“Changing at different airports is tricky, especially with younger children,” he said. It’s usually a good idea to take the first flight of the day because cancellations are less likely.
Carpenter also recommends being strategic with the seats you choose when traveling with small children.
“Don’t walk away from the bathroom,” he said. “If you have toddlers who are just potty trained, you don’t want to be 20 rows from the bathroom. When they have to go, they have to go.”
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And, Carpenter said, it’s a good idea to tell your kids what to expect if they’ve never flown before.
“Just start talking to them about the process,” he said. “It’s a weird process going through security. You have to take things off, and you have to do a lot of walking, and getting on a plane is weird… If you talk to them during the process, they won’t go in and I’m like, ‘What do you mean what? do I have to take off my shoes?’ “
Inflight entertainment options
Once on the plane, keeping your children entertained is key. Carpenter suggests researching what the inflight entertainment options are for your flights and considering paying more to fly on airlines that have integrated entertainment systems if you have that option.
But, he said, even if your flight is supposed to have screens on the seatbacks, you can’t always count on them working.
“It’s important to have that backup plan,” Carpenter said. “I always have a Ziploc bag of crayons and coloring books and little games.”
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Other special treats can help your children relax.
“You know your kids’ favorite snacks, and there’s a good chance they won’t have them on the plane,” so consider packing some in your carry-on, Carpenter said. “If they’re eating and watching their favorite show on an iPad, they’ll be very happy.”
Does American Airlines have inflight entertainment?
American Airlines has been converting much of its fleet to a bring-your-own-device model, with built-in entertainment screens now available only on certain planes, mostly on longer routes. However, the airline allows passengers to stream movies, TV shows and other content on their own devices through the American Airlines app; just be sure to bring your charger and extra batteries if you have them.
Airline-sponsored inflight entertainment is not available on American Eagle-operated flights on smaller regional aircraft.
Does Delta Air Lines have inflight entertainment?
Delta offers seatback displays on all of its Airbus aircraft, plus all but the Boeing 717. All but the smallest regional jet operated for Delta Connection also offer inflight Wi-Fi, allowing passengers to Clients also stream content on their own devices.
Does United Airlines have inflight entertainment?
United offers a mix of options, some planes have seatback entertainment screens and others have bring-your-own-device access only. Check with the airline to see what will be available on your specific flight. Only the smaller regional planes operating for United Express do not have inflight entertainment available, while some of United’s newer planes allow passengers to pair Bluetooth headsets with their seatback displays.
Does Southwest Airlines have inflight entertainment?
None of Southwest’s planes have seatback screens, but all flights allow passengers to access the airline’s media library on their own devices.
Does JetBlue have inflight entertainment?
JetBlue offers screens at every seat. On some of their older planes, only live TV and a small selection of movies are available, but their newer planes and those that have been upgraded also feature touchscreens with preloaded content.
Does Spirit Airlines have inflight entertainment?
Spirit does not offer inflight entertainment, but the airline does sell inflight Internet packages that allow you to stream content on your own device.
Does Frontier Airlines have inflight entertainment?
No. Frontier passengers should plan to pack their own fun with them.
Does Avelo Airlines have inflight entertainment?
No. Avelo passengers should plan to pack their own fun with them.
Does Breeze Airways have inflight entertainment?
Breeze offers entertainment streaming to personal devices on some of its aircraft and plans to start rolling out inflight Wi-Fi and more entertainment options to the rest of its fleet in January.
Does Allegiant Air offer inflight entertainment?
No. Allegiant passengers should plan to pack their own fun with them.
Does Sun Country Airlines have inflight entertainment?
Sun Country offers in-seat power on every flight and allows passengers to use their own devices to stream content from the airline’s media library.
Do you rely on inflight entertainment or bring your own?
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