10 Tips for Flying with Children


Flying with children – the thought itself makes many parents shudder. Yet many beautiful holiday destinations are only reachable by flight, and children also find it fun to discover new countries and cultures. Those that brief themselves on it can be sure to step on board feeling quite relaxed. Follow these tips and you’ll be well prepared.

1. Travel Preparation

Where should you fly to? Get your children involved in planning the holiday. What is there to discover in the country? What language is spoken? What currency is used? Books and films can work well for inspiration. The destination should offer something for the whole family; the accommodation should be suitable for children and be equipped with a high chair, cot, and washing machine.

2. Booking Flights

If it is going to be a child’s first flight, then it is best to choose a short distance and let them gather some experience in flying. Avoid particularly early and late take-offs. Night flights are recommended when flying long-distance with smaller children. Children younger than two are not entitled to a seat of their own and travel on a parent’s lap. Some airlines offer cots when flying long-distance. After their second birthday, children need their own seat and ticket. Child seats (child restraint systems) may be used for children up to seven years. You can pre-order meals for children in advance of long-distance flights.

3. Travel Documents

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Don’t forget: At check-in, as well as upon departure and arrival, children must identify themselves just as adults do, for which entries in parent’s passports are invalid. Children require a child passport of their own, which should be applied for in good time from the Citizens Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt/Bürgeramt). Please be mindful of any possibly necessary visas, overseas health insurance, and vaccinations.

4. Checklists and Packing

Please find out from your airline beforehand how much luggage you can take with you. This often depends on which class you book. Before packing, make a checklist so that you do not forget anything. Some things may be difficult to find in the country you are flying to, like charger cables, adapters, baby monitors, and particular medicines. Do not take too much with you and keep the temperature of your destination in mind.

5. Hand Luggage

It is also important to ask your airline beforehand for their policies on hand luggage. When flying with children, most airlines let you carry an additional piece of hand luggage. A small rucksack is ideal, containing things like the child’s favourite teddy, toys, and crayons. Baby food, snacks, a change of clothes, socks, possibly a blanket, baby wipes, and diapers should all be packed inside the parent’s hand luggage. Baby food is allowed in hand luggage and is checked at security. Otherwise, only liquids up to max. 100ml and inside a sealable 1 litre plastic bag may be carried.

6. Prams

Light baby buggies or older prams are recommended. A few airlines allow you to bring car seats, prams, and portable cots on board free of charge. These count as bulky luggage and must be handed over at the collection point for bulky luggage after check-in (Tegel: Terminals C and E, Schönefeld: Terminals A, B, and D). With some airlines, it is also possible to take your pram directly onto the plane. In general, prams are allowed to be taken through security if their dimensions are equal to or smaller than: 1.50m in height / 0.33m in width / 0.38 m in depth.

7. Check-in and Reserving Seats

Save time by checking in online with your airline in advance. This way you can take your time to choose your seats. As a family, you are sure to want to sit together or choose a window seat for your child. Once at the airport, you only need to give in your luggage and pass through security. Arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure to allow for some buffer time, as well as the chance to explore the exciting world of the airport with the little ones. With early flights, some airlines let you check in your luggage as early as the evening before.

8. At the Airport

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Before departure, go on a little tour with your child to explore the airport, so sitting still in the plane later will not seem as hard. A particular highlight is the visitor’s terrace, where you can stand and look out across the airport’s apron and see all the planes taking off and landing. There are baby-changing rooms in every terminal at Tegel and Schönefeld. In Tegel, there is a playing area for children in Terminal C as well as a family room for those travelling with babies and toddlers in Terminal A.

9. On Board

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Some airlines offer priority boarding for families. You should choose carefully here whether boarding early is a sensible option. Once on board, some airlines give out small surprise bags containing puzzles, crayons, and drawing pads. On long-distance flights, there is often a special video and audio entertainment programme for children. Otherwise, a toy, book, or (if need be) tablet are recommended to be at the ready in your hand luggage. Due to the effect of changing air pressure on the ears, children should chew on something during take-off and landing. Chewing gum is suitable for bigger children, whereas toddlers and babies can be breastfed, given food, or calmed with a dummy. While on board, make sure that your child drinks enough water and occasionally gets some movement.

10. Keeping a Calm and Positive Attitude

Last but not least, keep calm. If you panic whenever there is turbulence, it rubs off on your child. Explain to your child what to expect during the flight. Keeping a calm and positive attitude ensures for the best possible start to your holidays.
We wish you and your children a relaxed flight from Schönefeld or Tegel!

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