Travelling in and out of the Brisbane International Airport with kids: Tips to smooth the journey and save your sanity
The thought of busy airports, long flights and transporting ‘all those essential items’ can be very overwhelming for families wanting to travel. The more you plan the more you may feel that all elements are conspiring to make an international holiday almost impossible.
Before your holiday:
1. Research is your best friend and a family friendly airline can make all the difference. Etihad as an example has recently introduced an inflight nanny service…sounds like a dream doesn’t it?
2. Take a few trips on local public transport to get your young travellers used to trains, buses and generally navigating around busy people. The more time you take explaining what’s coming and setting a few expectations, the better.
3. Pack your onboard bag with enough nappies, wipes, clothes to get you through the flight and then double it. You need to prepare for the unexpected. Airlines often have very basic amenities onboard but you don’t want to rely on this. Include some snacks too because everything is always better with a full tummy!
4. Prep an activity bag filled with your children’s favourite things (old and some new). Gift wrap new items for added excitement and save these for the flight bringing them out one…at…a…time. Save the iPad (aka the Life Saver) for when you are absolutely desperate, and remember to purchase and practice using children’s headphones.
Getting to and from Brisbane International Airport:
5. Ultimately, you want to check-in to the resort not the psych ward! Arrive 1 hour before your flight check-in time. Trust us, you do not want to be rushing through the airport with kids. Starting your journey early means that you can manage the unexpected and give the kids a chance to burn off some energy before your flight.
6. If you can’t get a lift to the airport, (getting somebody to drop you off using your car is always the dream solution) there are options. Brisbane Airport offers long term parking deals if you book in advance online. For longer trips, consider taxis. Most taxis have anchor bolts provided so that you can install your own child restraint. Check and request this at the time of booking. Another great option is the Airtrain. Children under 14 are currently free if travelling from Brisbane City stations (South Brisbane, Roma Street, Central, Fortitude Valley, Bowen Hills, Albion, Wooloowin & Eagle Junction) when accompanied by a paying adult. For those not from Brisbane with driving being the only option, consider staying the night before at an Airport Hotel so that you can be fresh for the next leg of your trip.
Getting ready to board the plane with kids:
7. Once you arrive at the airport and navigate the check-in process and customs, your mission will be to get to the gate. To ensure that you all keep smiling, keep your stroller with you—this is one way of keeping the kids contained and moving in the right direction. The airline will return it to you when you disembark. Be aware that getting through screening can also be a bit of an ordeal. This means strollers on the scanner, shoes off, children who can walk being screened on their own. This is one area that you’ll be thankful that you allowed a bit of extra time.
8. As far as entertainment goes at the Brisbane International Airport, please be aware that there are no dedicated play areas (and, as far as we know, not even in the airline lounges). You’ll need to come up with some old fashioned entertainment like plane spotting to keep the kids entertained and, if you like, use the free Wi-Fi.
Bonus Tip: Try not to dip into your travel activity bag at this stage!
9. Everyone has different thoughts on the best time to board your plane with kids. You could opt to board early to stow bags in the overhead locker before someone else does, install the carseat/CARES harness/child seatbelt, organise for a bottle to be warmed for take-off to help with ear pressure and generally just settle the kids in. Or the other option would be to board late and run the kids like greyhounds while you can!
Bonus tip: If there are two parents travelling, send one of you on first to get everything organised, and have the other one board the plane last with the kids—just like rockstars!
You’re on your way:
10. Once the seat belt sign is on, all that’s left to do is to cope as best you can. None of us wants to be the parent with the kid that screams for the duration of the flight; but if that’s you and your child is having an in-flight meltdown, the best advice is to try not to worry about your fellow travellers. There is no need to apologise for your little ones being little. With some luck, you’ll never see those other passengers again and worrying about them will just getting in the way of you giving your child comfort and your full attention.
Armed with these Brisbane International Airport travel tips, the commencement and the conclusion of your family holiday is sure to be a far less stressful experience.