Four weeks until Thanksgiving. Seven weeks until Christmas. Black Friday ads are starting to appear. Christmas decorations are out in stores. Yes, the countdowns have begun. The holidays are fast approaching; another year is coming to a close. Stressed out yet?
Speaking of, this time of year can be stressful for people as they are beginning to make travel arrangements to spend time with loved ones. Many people worry about the expenses, the crowds, the waiting… all things that have to do with airports. Others worry about gas, traffic, space… all things that have to do with cars. Then, there’s the select group that gets to do something they love with their families while traveling… pilots.
It may seem like the perfect situation: no traffic, no stress, enjoying the sky, faster times. However, everything is not always what it seems. Flights with your family can be just as stressful as if you were driving or taking an airliner to get to your destination. Why? One word… Planning. You have to plan everything you do down to the minute you leave and when you will arrive! It’s all about planning. But don’t worry; we’ll get through this together!
Getting There on Time
Being flexible is key in making this a successful trip. You don’t want to give anyone exact times and dates until you know for sure (which isn’t going to be until the day of). Build in an extra day or two to either the beginning or end of it, and that will alleviate a lot of the pressure to get to a place at a certain time. That’s why travelling the big airliners can be so stressful for families… there’s never enough time.
Be respectful of the people you are flying to see and just keep them posted as to the ETA once you have left. With this flexibility, you’re avoiding disappointing people if you’re not going to make it exactly when you said.
Weight Slows You Down
No, I’m not talking about all that turkey and pie you ate at Thanksgiving! I’m talking about your baggage. No, not your drama; your actual baggage compartment on your airplane. While flying is faster and clearly more fun than driving, flying’s speed advantage is typically matched up with a weight disadvantage.
If your holiday trip involves a long stay, or you need to pack big suitcases, gifts, etc., take the time to calculate your weight and balance well before your departure date. It might even be easier to ship some of the items to your destination or purchase some things when you get there. That way, you can avoid this issue all together.
The Young and the Restless
Are we there yet? I’m hungry. My stomach hurts. He’s hitting me. She won’t stop touching my game. I need to go to the bathroom. Are we there yet?
Travelling with family is always a great thing; however, travelling with kids is only great if you’re prepared. Expect the unexpected. Hope for the best; Prepare for the worst. That’s how you’ll survive!
Here are some tips:
- Play the quiet game for the first 10-15 minutes or do a snack time to keep things calm and quiet until you take-off and get on course. (This may only work with toddlers, but you never know… some older kids are quiet while enjoying their favorite snack or are ultra-competitive!)
- Avoid messy snacks. Stick to bite-size and very few crumbs. Avoid sticky, gooey, and heavy on the stomach!
- Electronics – a must! Distractions are good for a few good hours of quiet in flight.
- Have family bonding games too – “I spy” is great. Don’t try the Alphabet game… you’ll never get past A.
- Sick sacks – bring plenty and keep them close because you just never know.
Even though travelling during the holidays can seem and usually is stressful, remember to enjoy your family time! Be thankful that you get the time to spend with them, even if they are complaining, whining, or puking all over your beautiful aircraft!