We fly a lot, not because I love it (I don't, I hate it with every fibre of my being), but because unfortunately with living abroad it's a necessity occasionally. One of the main reasons for my hatred of this form of transport (and I have millions believe me), is fellow passenger's attitudes towards you when you get on a plane with small children. The tuts and glares begin as you get through the door, and don't usually desist until you have landed and are out the door at the other end. Luckily my children are well used to flying, and know exactly what they can and cannot do when they get on a plane. I am not saying they are perfect, but they know not to make too much of a racket, not to argue or fight, absolutely no kicking of seats or jumping around, and generally sit quietly watching TV or with the treats that I have bought along for the ride. Yes, blackmail is involved, but it works OK (and they know nothing else is coming out of Mummy's "bag of tricks" should the behaviour change at all!)? Some tips I find useful are as follows (please note, some of these tips may only work if you are flying with two children and they are around the 4+ mark)...
* pack baby-wipes, plenty of them;
* snacks they don't usually have (nothing chocolate though, you will be dealing with enough mess believe me!)
* lollipops (sugar free if necessary) for take off and landing. Little ears suffer more with the pressure (make sure you stipulate the no crunching rule though, or you will be stuck!);
* plenty of comics, activity books, new pens, and things like sticky mosaic kits are invaluable;
* split them up. By not letting them sit next to each other you can prevent arguments, and it makes it easier for you to divide your time between them;
* make it clear that one will get the window seat for the outbound journey, and vice versa. They will not care if it's a night flight, or that the window blind may be shut by the grumpy person in front of them, it's a window seat and their sibling isn't sitting next to it;
* take empty bags for rubbish;
* Pack a spare change of clothes as well for longer flights. After being projectile vomited over on a long haul once, I now also take spare clothes for me too (hastily found business class pyjamas are not a good look)!
* keep an eye out for when the toilet queue is quiet, and ask regularly whether they need to go. They don't tend to understand that they can't actually get out of their seats during take off and landing(or when it's turbulent) when they are desperate for the loo...
* audio books are a lifesaver, especially near bed time;
* last but not least, if all else fails, remember you will never see the people around you again...!
I am sure there are hundreds more, so if you want to add any tips please feel free - I am always on the look out!
By the way, it is unusual for your children to get a word of praise from anyone around you, even if they haven't uttered a peep for the duration of the flight, so I like to make a point of telling a child how good they have been at the end of the journey should I be sat near one - it's the little things isn't it?... Oh and if you should hate flying like me, take solace in the fact that taking any flight with children makes it feel like you are on a supersonic jet as time seems to go a lot lot quicker!