Travelling with kids: Flight Tips for the Flight From Hell


I recently wrote about how an annual holiday for our family is a MUST, key reasons being:

- Sanity
- Cocktails
- Sanity
- Sun
- Cocktails
- Food
- No Cooking
- No Cleaning
- Cocktails
- Sanity

And for all the amazing things that go along with being on holiday (sanity & cocktails being high on my list, obviously) sometimes a shitty thing or two gets in the way of your vacay mojo.

Like flying on a plane with two kids under 4. 

So. Inspired by the plane trip from hell – albeit to Destination Paradiso (Cairns, FNQ) – I thought I would share the tips I can offer other families through the benefit of my wretched experience.

Don’t book the 6am flight unless absolutely, completely, well-and-truly and totally necessary

If I had stuck to my mantra of do not book a flight before 9am because having to wake up at 4am is the work of the devil then I wouldn’t be writing this post. Because nothing good can come from sleep deprivation and rise and shine before the damn birds – for parents and children and babies and airline staff and everyone else that has to communicate and act like an actual human being at 4am. And when that alarm bell practically swears at you with it’s fu*cking wake up! Wake up! Wake up! chime, the first thing you must do is put the kettle on. Because not only is there no time to make a cappuccino, but the only thing that can match that hideous start to the day is foul tasting creek water instant coffee.

My no flights before 9am mantra went out the window when Tightarse Kat reared her ugly head. When the 6am flight was by far the cheapest option, I physically couldn’t bring myself to book a friendlier, yet more expensive, flight that would guarantee us a more pleasant day.

God I hate Tightarse Kat, sometimes. She’s such a bitch.

Meanwhile, hubby was carrying on about why I booked that stupid flight to begin with, and yet complains about my general spending habits. #GoFigure

When you absolutely must book the 6am flight, a crying toddler isn’t all that bad

While Sienna, my four-year-old, is old enough to understand the must stay in seatbelt for take-off situation, my two-year-old isn’t as excited by the concept.

“I want get OUT!!!!”




And while I was trying my best to physically hold her down for take-off, she was screaming at the top of her lungs for her freedom.

Turns out the chap next to us wasn’t over the moon with the racket, and at the last minute was wise enough to relocate to somewhere else on the plane. I’m assuming somewhere far, far away. To a place where my child’s voice wasn’t in ear shot.

Poor guy. But Yay for us – a whole row to ourselves! #winning

Vida conked out pretty much after he left, meaning I had a sleeping child and a free seat next to me where I would rest my refreshments (more shitty coffee and a shitty sandwich) and read my in-flight magazine in peace.

Just quietly, the evil, offended side of me hopes the man who ditched us sat next to another child that would scream for half the distance because of the little faith he showed my child and her ability to quieten down eventually.

BUT the rational, once-childless version of myself, totally gets that this poor man just couldn’t hack the noise at that ungodly hour. I mean. Who can, besides the screaming child’s parents? (and even that’s a stretch)

Take the iPads or Phones or anything that will the make the flight time go faster. Digital babysitters are NOT the Anti-Christ

So you might hate iPads for your children because you think kids belong in the wilderness or garden or playground or play gym or wherever else that has no WiFi because technology is ruining our children.

And even though I disagree (but we’ll save that for another post) but still completely respect your views, if there’s one place a child needs to keep occupied and relatively quiet… it’s on a plane.

So charge those batteries people! Download those apps, games, TV shows and movies and give in to the devil – if only for a few measly hours.

Believe me, not only will your sanity be preserved, but your children will think you are pretty awesome. At least for the flight duration.

Take food. And more food. And keep it interesting

You know those kids that stop screaming at the suggestion of food? My two-year-old is one of those. So I bought snacks my girls haven’t tried before and while immersed in their delicious new-ness, they were both quiet for approximately 30-minutes.  Hey, every second counts on the flight from hell, right?


We are three days into our holiday and even though it’s drizzled a bit, I’m happy to report that a few cocktails, some sunshine and warmth and quality family time have made the awful memories of that flight seem like all but a distant memory.

Have you got any travel tips with kids? Have you ever booked the flight from hell?

All comments read, appreciated and responded to. So thank you x
  • Lee-Anne Walker

    Great tips, Kat. “Do what ever it takes” is my mantra for most situations with children, not least of all travel (within reason of course and bearing in mind I am a selfish, I mean responsible parent!) The other passengers will thank you for it!

    And yes, in my experience, food is the panacea for almost everything! ;)

    • Kat

      Absolutely – there are so many things parents are told they ‘shouldn’t do’ – but sometimes parenting is about survival! Food and iPads – they work every time! xx

    • Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      It’s all about survival, hey? Battle of the fittest, as they say! Food and iPads are a non-negotiable for me on a flight (and at a restaurant!) and I make no apologies for wanting my peace and quiet! xx

  • Kate bridges

    Love, love love this Kat! Actually had a little chuckle out loud, as I can totally relate to the joys of the flying with kids trauma! Have a fabulous time, and drink one of those cocktails for me!

    • Kat

      Hahaha, flying with kids is the worst! Thank goodness for the destination and the cocktails :) And yes I will have one (or three) for you xx

    • Kat Caravella – Mamma’s Vida

      Hahaha – it was totally a joy (not)! And will definitely have a cocktail (or three!) for you xx

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