Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Plane Truth About Flying

The internet is flooded with travel specials and more people are taking to the air. Airlines are filling planes to capacity leaving little leg room, decreasing services and increasing charges. While the weekend or holiday get-way can be a challenge, taking a child or two can test the mettle of the calmest individual. There are helpful hints and plane etiquette tips to make travel less stressful, a positive experience for children and an enjoyable pastime for all passengers.

Magic words, including Please!, apply in all situations. EtiKids emphasizes use of the words please, thank you and excuse me in all situations. Remembering to say please to attendants when requesting service or thank you to the pilots for a safe flight are common courtesies appreciated by staff. However, we caution the overuse of excuse me as a child repeatedly kicks the passenger seat in front of them or the window passenger marches frequently in and out of the row!

Define your space and stay within the limits. No one wants appendages flailing, sweaty body parts touching, and aisle passengers leaning to peer out the window, invading personal space. Bring reading materials or work that fit on a tray table. Use an arm rest to help define boundaries. Climbing over a sleeping passenger is a no-no! Gently wake them and excuse yourself before passing knee to knee.

Be kind to your fellow passengers. Personal hygiene prior to flying is paramount; perfume or cologne in closed quarters is not the answer to body odor. Christopher Elliot, travel columnist reinforces this in his column, 5 Ways travelers Have Lost Their Manners. The contributor writes, “One of the most common complaints I get about inconsiderate travelers is the way they smell”. Do your nails at home, not in the cabin of the plane. Keep idle chatter to a minimum especially when your neighbor is not interested in conversing. Turn down the volume of headphones- opera may not be for everyone!

Maintain parenting skills at all times. To keep children happy, keep them occupied. Offer food, games and treats special for the airplane. Keep the noise level of electronic games on mute or lower sound to minimum even when using earphones. Running in the aisles is dangerous, disruptive and not an appropriate activity for the plane. EtiKids' focus on social skills includes making time to practice age appropriate social skills and discuss expectations prior to taking flight.

Children can learn the joy of travel at an early age. Offer guidance and allow them to make choices about what they will bring. Let them benefit from the responsibility of carrying a small backpack or suitcase with wheels. Vacations can be relaxing and fun with a little planning.

I hope the Plane Truth was helpful. Happy Flying!

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