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10 Things to Never Let Your Kids Do on a Plane


There is a certain etiquette that is expected during air travel, even from small children. Under the guise of allowing “kids to be kids,” some parents completely disregard this accepted protocol and allow their children to make the flight a terrible experience for everyone else on the plane. Flying with small children doesn’t necessarily have to be a nightmare, though, nor does it have to be an embarrassing mess. As long as you do your best to prevent certain occurrences, you may find that air travel with the kids is less harrowing than you expected.

  • Kick the Seat – Aside from a screaming child, nothing is more annoying than sitting in front of a child who constantly kicks the back of your seat. It is up to you to make sure your child keeps her feet to herself. She doesn’t realize how uncomfortable she is making the person in front of her, and most passengers will not turn around to complain, but instead will silently curse you and your child. As a general rule of thumb, you might want to teach your children early on that kicking the back of any seat is something they should never do.
  • Stand on the Seat – One surefire way to get a flight attendant’s attention is to allow your child to stand on the seat. This is a dangerous thing for your kids to do, so don’t encourage them to do it and make sure that you put the kibosh on seat-standing the moment it’s attempted.
  • Play with “Guns” – If your kids like playing cops and robbers or other “shoot ‘em up” games, make sure you stress to them that an airplane is not an appropriate place for this. Especially since 9/11, passengers are jumpy about possible threats on an airplane. Your kids may think it’s an innocent game, but a panicky passenger may think you’re up to no good and that your children are exhibiting signs of your violent plans. Play it safe and keep the “guns” out of it.
  • Run Up and Down the Aisle – Kids get restless when they’re asked to sit for long periods of time, but that’s no excuse for them to run up and down the aisle of an airplane. For one, flight attendants often walk the aisles with beverage carts and food, making it a dangerous place for your kids to be. Also, it is a risk for other passengers who will use the aisle to reach the restrooms. Keep them in their seats.
  • Throw a Tantrum – Granted, fits and temper tantrums are not necessarily controllable, but they will disturb the entire plane and put all of the other passengers on edge. Do your best to put the cap on any tantrums as quickly as possible, for your sake and for the sake of all on board.
  • Panic – Kids are scared easily, especially when doing something they’ve never done before. If there is unexpected turbulence, you will need to keep your cool and show your kids there is nothing to worry about. Keeping yourself calm is step one, and getting your kids to relax is the next step. Keep all panic out of your voice and your actions, and your kids will trust your instincts and mirror your reactions.
  • Take Off the Seatbelt – If the seatbelt sign is lit, don’t let your kids take off their seatbelt. That may seem obvious, but you might be surprised at how many kids are unstrapped as soon as the plane is in the air. The light is on for a reason. Keep your kids safe by keeping them strapped in. Turbulence is sometimes so unexpected that the captain doesn’t switch the seatbelt sign on in time. It’s best for them to remain belted throughout the flight if possible.
  • Leave with Strangers – Sometimes, you aren’t able to buy seats next to your family members or you’re traveling without the help of another adult. If your kids end up in a seat in a different row from you, be sure they know to stay there until you are able to get to them instead of deplaning with a stranger who sat next to them. They may feel like they can trust their seatmate after the flight, but they need to understand that they need to remain on the plane and only get off with you.
  • Eat Too Much – Letting your kids eat too many treats could lead to trouble. The mixture of too much food and turbulence can lead to tummy aches or worse. You don’t want your kids to be miserable or sick during the flight, so make sure they just eat a couple snacks that have not been known to upset their stomachs in the past.
  • Let Their Ears Pop – One of the most traumatizing parts of flying is the possibility that your kids’ ears will pop and not return to normal immediately. There are special ear plugs for kids for airplane travel that you might want to purchase that are designed to decrease the pressure in your kids’ ears.

Make your next flight with your kids a good one with these tips on what not to let your kids do. You may even have a bit of fun. Make sure your kids understand what’s expected of them, don’t show any doubts about the trip and pack plenty of things to entertain them, and your family flight experience can even be a pleasurable one.

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