Turkish Airlines, which flies to more destinations than any other airline, offers some expert advice on how to keep both babies and parents calm and contented in the air.
Check in early
For any long-haul flight, book early and check-in online early to make sure you book a seat with a bassinet (or crib) in front of you.
Remember that you will have to take the child out of the bassinet when the plane is taking off or landing, and when there is turbulence, so ensure that you can pick your child up easily without disturbing them unduly. For short-haul flights, some mothers prefer a window seat for privacy if they are breastfeeding.
Don't be afraid to take the pram with
Use your pram to keep all your hand baggage items together while you’re in transit or working through the airport checks. Turkish Airlines will collect the pram when you board, keep it in a protective sheath and deliver it back to you upon disembarking.
Keep essentials close by
Have a good, segmented baby bag sorted out and accessible. It can be stressful to be searching around in a dark, confined space for an urgently needed item. Dummies, bottles, special sleeping blankets and food all need to be in easily findable spaces. Non-essentials can be in the overhead locker.
If the fasten seatbelt light is off, take your baby for a walk around the plane even if they’re calm. The change of scenery and the movement will help them to stay settled.
Changes in cabin pressure do affect some babies. It can help to feed them during take-offs and landings to help reduce pressure.
Parents can feel unduly stressed that a crying baby is disturbing the rest of the cabin. Remember that the noise is loudest for you and fellow passengers are usually completely understanding. Most importantly, it will help your baby settle quicker if you can remain calm rather than feeling anxious about everyone else.
Only use medications that you have had properly prescribed and preferably have used before. Sometimes a sedative can have the opposite effect on a baby and cause them to be become agitated and to remain wide awake.
Change a nappy just before you board. There are good facilities for changing on Turkish Airlines planes but it’s always easier to do this on the ground. If you’re travelling with a partner, you might want to get them to board early to set up the space and get organised, while you take the extra time in the terminal to give the baby different scenery and some more space.
Documents in order
Make sure your documents are all in order – for you and your baby - and easily accessible.