Flight delays with kids can be stressful. I have been there. Better yet, I experienced travel delays with kids on my children’s very first flight. If you are concerned about flight delays with kids, let me give you a few of my tips for flying with kids and facing delays.
Having to cope with flight delays with kids is not something I expected to deal. In 2017, we traveled from Seattle to Orlando but were hit with an incredible snow storm on the morning of our flight. Something we do not see often in the state of Washington. I was literally up to my knees in snow.
We sat for just over two hours on the runway at SeaTac airport, hoping that our flight would be cleared for take-off. We were one of five flights who made it out that morning. However, we missed our connecting flight in Chicago.
Shockingly, my kids did amazing for being stuck on an airplane for an additional two hours before take-off. I will count my blessings and the wonderful crew of Southwest Airlines for that. When we arrived in Chicago, we missed our connecting flight by about 20 minutes.
Thankfully we were placed on a direct flight a few hours later and we arrived in Orlando about 5 hours later than planned. But, we made it. Let’s hope you never have to share a similar story to mine but just in case, there are ways to cope with flight delays with kids.
Flight Delays with Kids – Flying with Kids Tips
Pack Entertainment and Extra Snacks in Case of Delays
The two hours that we sat on the runway was tough. Traveling with a toddler and child was already stressing me out enough.
It was stuffy and there really isn’t anything you can do on a plane for two hours going nowhere. Be sure to pack extra snacks and grab some water bottles once you are past security for the ride.
If you are traveling with an infant or child who needs formula, I would pack extra for that too. Our flight crew did all that they could to supply us with snacks and drinks but it is better to be prepared.
Bring the tablets, I am just going to say it. They kept my kids entertained with a movie and it was a blessing. I also packed a busy bag for the flight and thank goodness I did. A movie, coloring books, and stickers were my saving grace.
Make sure to carry-on needed prescriptions, a favorite toys, etc. I would also grab a few external battery chargers for devices.
Tips of things to pack for children in carry-on luggage for possible delays:
- external battery chargers
- any must have prescriptions
- extra snacks
- extra formula (if needed)
- extra diapers and wipes
- coloring books or other entertainment for kids
- favorite toy or blanket
- extra clothing
- pajamas for in case of overnight delay
Stay Calm During Flight Delays
Take a deep breath and keep as calm as possible. Little ones will pick-up on any stress. Try to stay in the moment and even with delays enjoy that you’re on vacation with your family.
Think ahead to connecting flights and hotel stays. Simply keep those thoughts in the front of your mind to deal with one at a time. Listen to the crew and become familiar with what gate desk you might need to approach at the connecting airport to update your flight.
When you have resolved your connecting flight, take a minute to call any hotel or car reservations to inform them of your delay.
Let Flight Staff Help You
Don’t be afraid to take some extra help with the flight staff. When we were on delay, they offered to let our daughter check out some of the equipment that attendants use in the safety check. It helped keep her entertained for a bit. If the staff offers extra snacks or a helping hand where they can to help kids stay entertained, take it.
Utilize Play Areas
If there are play areas within the airport, utilize them. These play areas can be a great place to get out the wiggles while waiting for the next connecting flight. Some play areas even offer resting areas for kids, changing stations, and quiet feeding stations.
Make Flight Delays with Kids an Adventure
No matter where you end up, make it an adventure. Check out the stores at the airport, try new foods, walk around. Tell your children that this is a chance to explore new places.
Ask for a Direct Connecting Flight
Southwest was great in already moving us to a direct connecting flight once they knew of our delay before we landed in Chicago. They saw that we had two small children and ensured we didn’t have to connect again.
Yes, we could have had a sooner flight but I did not want to deal with more connections with two children. You might have to wait a little bit longer for a flight but it is so worth it.
Head Straight for the Food Court to Get it Together
After you figure out what your new connecting flight will be, head straight to the food court and decompress a bit if you have time. You can set your carry-on down and take a moment to breathe or grab something to eat. A snack or meal is not a bad idea after a long time of travel.
Flight delays with kids do not have to be as stressful as they seem. Just remember to stay calm, breath, and keep looking at it as an adventure. There will be great assistance at every corner between flight and airport staff.
It is good to be prepared for possible flight delays with kids by packing extra and imperative items. Be prepared with these tips for flying with kids and dealing with delays. Most of all, know that it will all be worth the fun of the vacation in the end.
More Family Travel Tips:
- Spring-A-Palooza at Great Wolf Lodge
- Multigenerational Family Vacation Tips
- Road Trip Travel Tips for Toddlers
- Busy Bags For Kids on a Plane
- What You Really Need In a Carry-On