So, as we prepare for a 16 hour non-stop flight with our kids I thought I would draft out a few tips that we find helpful for keeping a 5 and 6 year old entertained on the flight.
1. Portable DVD players are a god send. These are a must if you don’t have the ability to have your own in seat movies. (updated to say we now use an iPad)
2. If possible fly airlines that have in seat entertainment. Singapore Airlines has this on all flights, I can confirm that Northwest also has it on its PDX to Tokyo flights (and according to Seat Guru all of the Airbus planes that NW flys have personal TVs).
3. Order the kids meals early. Often if you order the kids meals the staff will prepare goodie bags to give the kids on the flight. Sometimes they will even let the kids talk to the pilot. Rare now days, but it still happens!
4. Check in via internet, skip the long lines at the airport and go directly to a cafe/snack location and let the kids have a snack and burn off some energy.
5. Give the kids there own carry-on roller bags. Let them take books, colors and small toys to play with on the flight.
6. Just be prepared for a long flight. No matter what you do, it is not easy, but it is possible. Entertain the kids with stories of where we are going and what we are going to do when we get there.
7. Pack gum or other things to help get ears to pop. My daughter has allergies and is often stuffed up. This causes her lots of pain when we fly, but gum helps. If you can’t get gum (like us because we live in Singapore) chewy candy like gummy bears will work too. Talking your kid through the process of popping their ears is touch and go, but with kids a bit older (like Kiera is now) it works too.
A few trips re cross pacific flights (heading east). Try to get the kids to sleep in order to be on the same schedule as they will be in the US. For this trip, we will arrive in LA in the evening. We leave at 4pm. We have already told the kids that we should get on the plane, eat dinner and go to sleep. I will have my blackberry with me and will let the kids sleep for about 7 hours. (we have 16 hours in air). I am then going to try to wake them, give them a snack, Singapore Airline is good about giving snacks on demand on international flights, even in coach. The goal will be to get to LA, get our rental car, check into the hotel and head for dinner at Downtown Disney before trying to hit the sack around 9:30pm. I will let you know if the plan works.