Flying with children can be a challenging exercise, and can mean either a great start to a family holiday or an exhausting one. Singapore Airlines, renowned for its inflight service and for providing an enjoyable travel experience for both adults and younger passengers, appreciates that babies and children are special passengers with unique needs. For young travellers and their parents its inflight service is second to none. From meeting basic needs to keeping children entertained and amused, to help parents prepare for a smooth journey Singapore Airlines has compiled the following tips:
1. Visit the doctor before you go
Schedule an appointment with your child’s paediatrician or GP the day before your flight, especially if it is during a time of year when children are more prone to colds and flu, or your child has recently been unwell. Babies and children find it more difficult to adjust to cabin pressure so if they are suffering from any condition that may affect their ears you could be in for a traumatic take-off and landing.
2. Decide to fly direct or stop over
Decide whether to fly direct or stop over according to your child’s age and temperament. If you are flying long-haul fewer stops means less disruption and you won’t have to repeatedly disembark and find ways to carry hand luggage while entertaining your child in a foreign airport, then embark a second time. For other junior travellers and their parents however, it may be wiser to schedule a stopover to break the journey. Singapore Airlines offers both direct flights and great value deals for stopovers in Singapore. It’s up to you to choose which is best for your child and your own peace of mind. Be careful to check your itinerary with your travel agent to identify which flights are non-stop and which have transit stops.
3. Request special meals at the time of booking
Singapore Airlines provides a range of special meals for little travellers, including baby meals, post weaning meals and children’s meals. For babies, this includes varieties of Heinz baby food, whereas a post-weaning meal consists of soft foods like fish and potato. For children, meals include favourites such as beef burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken nuggets and mini-pancakes. The food is more simple and softer textured, and served in smaller and easier to eat sizes. This will be one less thing to worry about when you are on board and will ensure your child receives a meal he or she is more likely to eat and enjoy. Singapore Airlines can also cater for any special dietary requirements.
On request, the cabin crew will serve your child’s meal before your own, so if necessary, you can help your child with his or her meal, then enjoy your own.
4. Highlight special needs at the time of booking
If your child has any condition that may require attention inflight, make this known to your travel agent or Singapore Airlines at the time of booking. If your child requires additional care or medical attention, it is most important to let the airline know in advance. For pre-existing medical conditions, it may be necessary for Singapore Airlines’ medical advisers to talk to your child’s doctor before you travel, so allow plenty of time to complete these formalities – it is in the interests of your child’s comfort and safety.
There is also a limited number of bassinets available on each flight so if you need one for your baby, be sure to pre-book it.
5. Pack extra supplies
Be sure to pack more supplies than you think you’ll need for a standard journey. Singapore Airlines carries a small supply of nappies (large and small size), disposable bibs, feeding bottles, milk powder and baby wipes in case you run out, but it is recommended you bring an adequate supply of nappies and bottles, primarily because you know the sizes that fit best. But sometimes, delays can occur and having some extra supplies will be necessary.
6. Pack favourite toys, and save some new ones for later
Keeping a child entertained is a huge part of air travel, especially on long-haul trips. Pack a couple of your child’s favourite games from home, and supplement them with toys and games provided by Singapore Airlines, including toys from the Snoopy range, colouring books and stick-on-playboards for younger children or playing cards, Othello, Mastermind, Solitaire, Backgammon or Chess and Checkers for older children. It’s also a good idea to stow away a couple of games they haven’t played before for later – when they’ve worked their way through the pack and are getting restless.
7. Pack some rewards
Take some special treats, such as favourite snacks or little presents wrapped up in colourful paper. These can be used as surprise gifts for when your child becomes tired, irritable or restless, or as incentives for good behaviour.
8. Dress your child in layers of comfortable clothing
Cabin temperature can be warmer or cooler than your child is used to at home. . Dress your child in comfortable layers that can be removed or added, and take a couple of spare tops for warmth or in case of spills.
9. Plan ahead using the entertainment guide
As soon as you board review the entertainment guide to see what programs and movies will be of special interest to your child. If you have access to the internet, you can check out some of the details in advance at Singapore Airlines’s homepage, www.singaporeair.com.au. Singapore Airlines leading inflight entertainment system, KrisWorld, features a channel dedicated to children called “Young Explorer” with animated movies and cartoons, as well as special music channels and Nintendo GameBoy. Singapore Airlines has also recently introduced a restricted viewing option for parents. The new technology enables parents to advise cabin crew which programs they don't want their child to be able to watch. Crew can then block those programs being accessed from the child's seat for the duration of the flight.
Singapore Airlnes’ new personal headsets with separate earphones that clip to each ear, are also lighter and more comfortable for children to wear.
10. Highlight the fun your child can have
Travelling in a large aircraft can be daunting or exciting for a child. Before you fly, talk to your child about the experience so they know what to expect and emphasise the special fun they can have on board. Your child can also enjoy the toys and games provided on board, and probably watch the latest animated movie.
If you have the opportunity before you go, it may be useful to show your child pictures of aeroplanes and explain how they work. Sometimes this helps manage expectations and create an understanding about what lies ahead.
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