Travelling with babies and young children – Manchester Airport shares some handy hints

Few things are as fun or as exciting as a family holiday, but travelling through an airport with young children can sometimes be a challenge.

Millions of passengers travel through Manchester Airport every summer, many of whom will be young families taking their first trips abroad together.

Manchester Airport has shared its top tips for a breezy getaway when travelling with babies and young children, with advice on planning your journey, what to pack and how to keep your little ones entertained during the flight.


Allow plenty of time

Don’t add an extra layer of stress to your journey by cutting it too fine. Arrive at the earliest time your airline recommends – this is normally two hours before departure for a short-haul flight, or three hours in advance for a long-haul trip.

Plan your journey to the airport in advance – make sure you’re aware of any roadworks that could affect your route, and if travelling by public transport, keep a close eye on schedule updates.

If your child hasn’t flown before, explain to them what to expect

Airports are a very different environment to what young children might be used to in their day-to-day lives, and while the experience is exciting for many, it may be overwhelming for others.

Make sure your child understands what to expect when checking in, passing through security, and boarding the aircraft. If your child has additional needs, Manchester Airport operates a sunflower lanyard scheme, which lets staff know that the wearer might require extra time or a more detailed explanation of what they need to do.

What to pack if you’re travelling with a young child

For young children, make sure you pack some of their favourite toys, along with books or puzzles to keep them entertained while you’re on holiday. Travelling may be tiring for young kids, so pack a travel pillow, and make sure you also have wet wipes to hand in case of any mishaps. Hard sweets can help with the sensation of ears popping when the plane takes off and lands so pack some for your child to suck on – or, alternatively, a dummy for babies or very young children.

What to pack if you’re travelling with a baby

For babies, be sure to pack dummies, nappies, wet wipes, and a change of clothes in your hand luggage, so you’re covered for the plan journey. Plastic bags are also useful, to dispose of used nappies and to wrap any clothes that get dirty.

Breast milk can be brought in hand luggage in containers of up to 2000ml (even if you’re travelling without your baby), and you can also bring formula milk, cow’s milk, soya milk, sterilised water, baby food and cooling gel packs, but your baby must be travelling with you.

Consider whereabouts on the plane is best for you to sit and book seats in advance

Having an aisle seat close to a toilet might be the most convenient option if you’re travelling with a baby.

With young children, a window seat may help to keep them entertained – but may also be disorienting or even distressing to them if they’re not used to flying, or have a fear of heights, so weigh up the best option for your family. It’s best to book the seats that suit your needs rather than risk being randomly allocated to seats that aren’t suitable.

Bring something to keep the kids entertained

Books, toys or games for the flight are well worth packing, particularly if you’re travelling with a budget airline, as they may not offer in-flight entertainment.

If you’re stumped for ideas, Manchester Airport’s ‘Little Book of Travel Tales’ is packed with puzzles, interesting facts about the airport and stories about travel written by children from the communities the airport serves.