We are more used to busy schedules these days, and not having to spend time in transition and travel doing nothing. This is largely due to the internet and smartphones. The half hour we use to spend traveling on the train we now spend shopping on eBay, or returning texts. Air travel is one of the few situations where this is not possible. Flight mode/aeroplane mode does give us some phone functions, but anything requiring transmission is basically turned off. This means you have games and music on your phone most of the time, but even that is not allowed during take-off and landing. And given the mediocre battery life of many smartphones they are unlikely to keep a charge till the end of the trip. As such, we need a few other things to keep us entertained.
- Watch the inflight movie. This is obvious. Years ago the whole plane watched the same movie. And you had problems if you missed the beginning. Now there is often a screen and selection for each seat.
- People who read all the time have no problem here. People who read occasionally might find they actually feel motivated for once.
- Some planes have this, and it will probably become standard.
- MP3 players. eBay has media players for $2.00, though you need a few dollars for the miniSD memory card. Problem is the battery life is only a few hours, so you might need several players. Many will charge on a USB port.
- Talking to the person beside you can be hit and miss. Think of the Film Planes, trains and automobiles. If they are uninterested don’t push, they may simply be tired.
- Chew gum so your ears pressurise properly.
- Healthy snacks
- New books, but similar to what they usually like
- Movies on media players, preferably a new movie with familiar characters.
- Keeping them busy is the key. Any activity will tend to last 15 minutes.
- Window seats help.
- Any activity that they cannot get enough of at home.
- Earplugs (for you, not them).
- Warn them about the severe punishment afforded children who misbehave on planes. This is a complete lie.
- As much as possible try to accomidate the child’s circadian rhythm, when booking flights. They will sleep some of the time if you travel overnight.
Prepare before you leave.
- Have comfitable clothing, with shoes you can remove. A jacket to remove will help if the temperature changes, especially at your destination.
- Earplugs and or noise-cancelling headphones.
- If they work for you use sleeping tablets and sleep the whole time. Time your schedule so you wake up for an early morning start in the new time zone.
- Use shuttles for Airport Transfers, Sydney airport is expensive and inconvenient when it comes for public transport.