Flying can throw up all sorts of challenges and crisis that just have to be dealt with. Situations can be made more difficult with children, especially if you’re in the middle of a long journey. This section discusses a few situations and provides some answers as to how you may handle these.
One of the most common issues that can arise is delays in your flight. These can occur for all sorts of reasons and can vary in length from minor to many hours or even days. As with any situation, being well prepared helps in better handling the event. Some ideas:
- Travel with plenty of activities so your children have things to do, not just on the plane but in airports. Ipads, toy cars, small balls, games, colouring books are all good activities in airports.
- Look for a good spot where you can just hang out as a family, while still being informed. If you are already in a specific Gate Lounge, this can be more difficult.
- If more than one adult is traveling, take turns at trying to keep on top of the situation while sorting the problem. If traveling alone, somehow you will need to get the attention of the airline to assist you without waiting in queues for hours – look for airline staff you can get the attention of. Read our story of Delayed for 13 hours in Perth to gain more insight, as this was a long delay with just me and 3 young children as part of a 5 day trip from Africa!
- Try to be in touch with other airlines or your travel agent if future flights are going to be impacted.
- Travel Insurance may assist if you are needing to re-book and change travel arrangements
Delayed or Lost Luggage
Another major frustration when traveling can be having luggage delays or even having your luggage lost. Again, the problems can be multiplied when you have a baby or young child as you have spare supplies of nappies, baby food, clean clothes etc. Some advice:
- Try to maintain as much patience as possible
- Discuss your lost luggage with the airline or lost luggage office at the airport. Make sure you have kept your baggage tags in a safe place – generally they stick to the back of your boarding pass. It helps even more if you photographed your bags at check-in!
- You will generally need to try and describe the items that are missing. This can actually be a challenge when you have a few suitcases.
- Try to put as much responsibility as possible back on the airline to fix the issue and deliver the items to you.
- Check your travel insurance as some give you the ability to spend a certain sum of money on items if your baggage is missing for more than ‘x’ hours.
We once had a long delay in our luggage when flying domestically in Australia when the airline loaded a whole lot of military equipment (guns etc) on the plane rather than our luggage. We arrived at our destination at about 9pm after a 1 hour flight to find our luggage had not turned up and the airline did not even have the courtesy to let us know what had happened – we waited and eventually I had to wander across the check-out counter and into the back-office to try and find someone to assist – all this with a 1 year old in tow and after traveling all day. My wife had to start work the next morning, so at 7am the next morning it was off to a convenience store to get toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant etc. She had to go to work in the clothes she had travelled in the previous day! Later in the morning I went ot the Supermarket / Department store and got some extra baby items. All this was claimed on travel insurance.
Having a sick child can be a major challenge when you are traveling. You have the concern of a child who is unwell in a foreign place and also the added pressure of limited resources while traveling – for example – limited changes of clothes. Here are some thoughts:
- If on the plane, try to work with the air crew to deal with the sickness as well as possible. They will have some supplies on board to assist. If you have be vomited on, they may be able to assist with blankets and other things to help.
- If in the airport, see if there is a doctor on duty you can visit. Many airports have some medical facilities.
- You may need to change travel arrangements to let your child recover before you can continue your journey. Travel Insurance may be essential in this case also.
- Always travel with some pamol or similar pain relief for your kids.