Flying tips

Pack a pair of headphones

Most airlines provide in flight entertainment and sometimes you get headphones, but it won’t take up much room to pack a spare pair just in case.

Pack your favorite travel snacks

Food in airports can be expensive, to save money and time during your travels, pack a few snacks. Those emergency nuts could come in very handy if your flight is delayed a few hours.

Choose your seat

Here are some great flying tips for choosing your plane seats: Sit near the wings – If you don’t like turbulence, Choose a window seat – If you prefer to nap and like a view. Book an aisle seat – If you don’t like to sit for long periods of time or use the loo a lot. Book a cot seat in advance – To risk a possible upgrade. If someone with a child books after you, you may be upgraded for free as the child will be placed in the cot seat. To help you pick the best seat to suit your needs, you can check out airline seat reviews.

Have your boarding card ready

Check if your airline charges for printing the boarding card. If they do, print it out before arriving at the airport to avoid fees. If your airline has an app, make check-in easier and download your boarding card before you fly.

Play pilots

Kids scared of flying? So were Oksana Ermolaeva’s, a Skyscanner blogger for Russia who made the whole thing into a game. “I played role games with her”, she says. “Let your child be a pilot or a flight attendant. Play everything that normally happens onboard. This really helps to avoid pre-flight and in-flight panic.”

Arm yourself with snacks

For the ones on solid, gown-up food, make sure you pack plenty of snacks. Like an irascible cat which hasn’t had its morning Whiskas, a hungry toddler will damn sure let you know if they’re hungry. So, until the in-flight meal is served, fend them off with snacks. We won’t get into a debate here – obviously mainlining Haribo is not good for them, but unless they have a soft spot for grapes, it might be the only thing that works.

Keep them comfy

An impractically-dressed child is an unhappy child, so get them dressed up in soft, roomy layers that you can take on and off as the plane’s air conditioning demands – pyjamas are probably your best option. It’s worth taking a pillow too, so they can snuggle up in the window seat against the wall, drift off and dream of holidays.

Never travel without an iPad or tablet

Travel blogger Monica from thetravelhack.com says: “most parents start off with good intentions when it comes to screen time for their little ones but you’re definitely allowed to let your standards slip during a flight! Load your tablet with games, songs, TV shows and Disney films to keep them entertained for as long as possible. Even tiny babies can be distracted for 10 minutes by a cartoon with a catchy song and it can be just long enough to enjoy your in-flight meal or avoid a tantrum. Try The Furchester Hotel – it works like magic for my little guy! Also invest in some kiddie headphones so you don’t annoy your fellow passengers with those catchy Disney songs.” Before you stock up on free apps to keep the kids entertained, check out our list of the best ones for your iPad or smartphone to get before you fly, guaranteed to keep children entertained long enough for you to at least eat your in-flight meal.

Use Your Credit Card Travel Credits

Not only do you earn bonus points with each airline purchase that can be redeemed for future award flights, but, you might also be able to use credit card benefits like your $200 air travel credit to pay for baggage fees and in-flight purchases with the Platinum Card from American Express while you earn 5 points per $1 on airfare purchases. Plus, the complimentary airport lounge access and Global Entry fee reimbursement can also help you enjoy a few fringe benefits if you have a long layover (lounges) or want to skip the long security lines (Global Entry) when returning to the U.S.

Use Award Miles

If you would rather spend miles than cash, or maybe a combination of the two, miles can be most valuable when redeemed for expensive cash flights. There are many different award flight options as you can pool your points from a co-branded airline miles credit card like one of the Southwest credit cards with the points you earn from the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can redeem your miles through the credit card travel portal or transfer them to your airline loyalty program to top-off your balance and book a flight directly from the carrier. Here's a small bonus tip. If you do have to book an award flight at the last-minute, a good option can be Delta because they do not charge a "close-in" for award flights.

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