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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Flight Attendants Offer Family Tips

The US is predicting a busy air travel season this summer with both fewer domestic flights and more demand overall. On busy flights, it's tough for even road warriors to stay cheery but it can really be difficult for family travelers. Here are some tips by American Airlines flight attendants for flying with your child this summer:

Do keep your child calm
during the flight by…

· …discussing the travel process with your child before the trip. Read books or watch movies about airplanes and airports with your children to familiarize them with the sights and sounds, security procedures and appropriate behavior. Knowing about turbulence and air pressure changes will ensure that your child doesn’t become frightened inflight.

· … introducing your child to crew members before the flight begins. American Airlines allows families to pre-board, giving you extra time to get your family settled and meet the crew members on board.

· … bringing something familiar. A favorite blanket or stuffed animal will comfort children who are fearful or nervous.

Don’t let your child become bored. Keep children engaged by…

· …bringing activity, coloring or reading books for you and your child to enjoy together. Books about airplanes or travel can help children identify things they will likely see during your trip.

· … wrapping small, inexpensive “gifts” to be opened periodically throughout the flight. The novelty of a surprise toy or book will last longer than familiar toys, and when it finally wears off… time to open a new one!

· … embracing technology. DVD players and portable video games will keep children occupied for hours. Don’t forget the headsets!

· … getting creative. American Airlines flight attendants have witnessed some great families at work – learning origami together, having a picnic and doing each other’s hair and makeup.

Do keep your child safe and healthy by…

· … bringing an approved car seat for younger children and keeping them in their seat and buckled at all times.

· … leaving your child’s socks and shoes on during the flight.

· …packing any medications your child may need in your carry-on, including pain relievers and decongestants to assist with depressurizing sinuses during take-off and descent.

· … seating children in window or middle seats when possible. Aisle traffic is disruptive to children and flight crew may not be able to see over food and beverage carts.

Don’t forget the basics. Make sure your family is prepared by…

… packing sanitary wipes, a change of clothes (for kids and adults) and a blanket or sweater in your carry-on.

… bringing a small selection of your child’s favorite food and drinks on board. Children can get cranky when they’re hungry or dehydrated, and flight crews have a limited selection of refreshments on board.

… traveling at the best time of day for you. Correspond flights with nap times if possible. Otherwise, early morning or late night flights tend to be quieter, less crowded and less disruptive to children’s schedules.


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