How to Handle Flight Delays When Travelling with Kids

Flying over the Alps, view from the plane

Travel delays are never a fun experience. However, when it’s just you that’s taking a trip for work, or an adventure with your partner, it’s easier to stay calm and focused as you wait for the issue to be dealt with. On the other hand, if you’re flying with youngsters, it’s much more of a challenge to convince them to stay relaxed when they’re cold, nervous, tired and hungry.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can reduce your chances of spending hours trapped in a terminal full of angry passengers and screaming toddlers. Here are a few ways to handle your flight delays when travelling with kids.

1.    Know Your Options

If you’re flying with an EU airline, or you’re travelling to or from somewhere in Europe, then you may be entitled to various forms of compensation or help if your flight is delayed. Most airlines will compensate passengers who are delayed for longer than 3 hours. Additionally, the company that you’re flying with may also be able to provide you with vouchers for everything from food and drink, to accommodation to keep your youngsters happy. Speak to a representative either in-person, over the phone, or online about your options.

2.    Embrace the Electronics

Most children are obsessed with devices these days, whether it’s a smartphone, or a tablet where they can watch videos and download the latest games. If you’ve got some entertainment-packed technology that you can take with you for the journey, make sure that it’s set up in time for the big day, and that you’ve got a spare charging cable available so that you can top up the power. It may even be helpful to take an extra battery in case all the outlets in your terminal have already been taken by business travellers and other families.

3.    Explore the Airport

Your youngsters are less likely to be worried about things like lost time on holiday and missing your hotel check-in time than you are. Children hate flight delays for one main reason – because they’re boring. The good news is that you can give your kids a brand-new environment to explore while they wait. Take your children for an adventure around the airport and see what’s available. Some locations have play areas, arcades, and even gardens that you can check out if you’re feeling a little stir crazy.

4.    Take Easy Entertainment

If you’re concerned that you might not be able to rely on technology for your entire trip and any delays that might occur along the way, try some old-fashioned forms of entertainment too. For instance, colouring books and a deck of cards can keep your kids busy for hours at a time. What’s more, if there’s plenty of open space in your terminal, you can also give your kids a chance to run around and play tag. The more they move, the more likely they are to sleep on the plane.

5.    Experience Something New

Rather than spending all of your time during the flight delay worrying about what you might miss out on, why not make it feel like you’re starting your holiday early, by doing something new? For instance, you could take your kids to a window where they can watch their first plane take off. Alternatively, try finding an exotic dining location where you can each try some food that you’ve never eaten before. Remember that holidays are all about the experience, so start collecting memorable moments as early as you can.

6.    Plan What You’re Going to Do on Holiday

Another great way to take your kids’ minds off the problems at hand, is to get them back into excitement mode about your impending holiday. Discuss some of the things that you’re most looking forward to in your itinerary or get your phone or tablet out so you can look up things to do while you’re there. If you’re travelling to a destination that speaks a language other than English, you can even spend some time learning basic phrases together with translation apps on your phone.

7.    Pamper Yourself

Finally, there are many airports around today that allow passengers to pay a little extra to get into their VIP suite for a couple of hours. Although it might cost a bit of extra money to do this, you’ll have entertainment on tap, as well as beverages and refreshments to keep the kids happy. It could be a great way to make your flight delay feel like less of an imposition.

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