Surviving the Hell trip
Sitting next to a kid on a plane is usually a nightmare. Here's how to survive it without being arrested for attempted murder.
Have you ever taken a plane trip with your children yet as much as you love them you were so appalled by their behavior you wanted nothing more than to throw them out of the emergency exit?

Don't feel bad. You are not alone.

We recently did a snap poll on flying nightmares. It turns out almost 50% of the 529 votes received consider crying babies to be the worst fellow passenger.

I shamefully admit that I was once one of those children but I'm still alive, which means something must have worked...

Here are some tips to survive a plane trip with kids.

If they are your own:

Be smart

Children get bored very easily. So for those long trips try not to get them into the plane until the final boarding call. If you are travelling with very young children have your husband or a flight attendant pre board to set up the car seats while you and the kids play in the waiting area until the final boarding call.

This way, the children aren't cooped up on a crowded plane long than necessary. They play, get tired and will hopefully fall asleep (if you're lucky)! If not, read on.

• Goody bags are fun

Having some 'goodie bags' on the trip prevents kids from getting bored and working on each other's nerves (and yours!). In each bag, put a snack and a small diversion (such as index cards and a ten-color pen, black notepaper with a glitter gel pen, or silly party-store games).

When the kids get irritable, hand the bags over and let them play.

• Prepare for delays and messes

When packing your carry-on case, try to use a back pack because it frees up your hands. Once your luggage is checked, your carry-on becomes a veritable magician's hat. Some things to have on hand in the event of delays or messes

1. A change of clothes for your child.

2. Wet wipes, they always come in handy.

3. Re-sealable plastic bags to hold dirty clothes or diapers.

4. Any medicine your child is taking. If it's trapped in the suitcase, flight delays may keep you from reaching it at the scheduled dosage time.

5. A colour photo of your child (in case they get lost).

6. Gum to help relieve ear pressure during the descent (it helps a lot!).

• Make them feel independent

Allowing your child to fill his or her own backpack gives them a great sense of independence. They will enjoy making selections for themselves and participating in the 'grown-up' activities of planning the trip. Better yet, they'll want to carry it which will lighten your load.

• You've survived the flight...

You've managed to survive the plane trip. When you collect your luggage your kids will want to take a ride on the motorised belt - its carousal effect will have them totally hypnotised.

So, unless you want your youngest daughter to wind up in the luggage hold of Estonia Airways Flight 208, keep your kids well away from it and under the watchful eyes of an adult.

If they're someone else's:

• Play a tune to drown out the noise

Your mp3 player is always a good thing to have with you on your trip. There are great movies on long flights but if it is a short one, travelling to the sounds of Duffy will be extremely soothing. (and much preferred).

• Refrain from touching what's not yours

Don't touch them if they're not yours, especially if they're sleeping, no matter how cute their little toes look and no matter how chubby their legs are. Not only will you have a cranky baby to deal with... you'll have their mom on your case as well...

• Plan in advance

If you know that there is no way you can cope with a crying child on a flight, make sure you book in advance and stipulate your seating preference. If you are late, you'll have to take what you get...

• Pack in a sweet or two

You may be wondering why, especially if they aren't your children. Unfortunately, some parents have so much to deal with that packing snacks for their kids is sometimes the last thing on their minds.

If the kid next to you is cranky, a lollipop can be an effective plug... That should keep them quiet until you think of the next plan of action.

• Sacrifices oh sacrifices...

If in the unfortunate event you are placed next to a child and you are the one sitting next to the window, give it up for the kid. They would have a lot more fun next to the window than you would at the end of the day.

In all seriousness, when last did you get excited about the fact that the cloud you just passed looked like Barney the Dinosaur?

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