Escape from everyday family life at home for a little while – a holiday with children is the perfect opportunity for you to do just this. Good preparation is essential to make flying pleasant and relaxed for both parents and children. We’d like to help you with this. Whether it’s the first time you’re flying with your child or if you’re already an old hand at it, we have compiled the most important information and some tips for travelling by air with children for you: step by step, from the preparations to the flight to arriving at your destination. Use our checklist for holidaying with children to manage the flight and the entire trip with ease.
Before the flight
Children must have their own passport or ID card to travel. It is not possible for them to be included in their parents’ identity documents. You can apply for a child’s passport to be issued or extended at your appropriate passport office.
Find out in plenty of time whether any immunisations are recommended for your destination and what travel documents you will need. You will find useful information from SWISS on immigration laws here.
Before travelling with a baby and/or child, check that your health insurance covers your family and includes the optimum medical care for you all. After all, new places are exciting and have to be explored from top to bottom – and accidents can happen with all that activity. Children can also have a sensitive reaction to stimuli such as the sun, humidity and altitude. Speak to your insurance company about the services they offer for travelling abroad and, if required, take out travel insurance (e.g. through our partner Allianz).
Not long now till you leave? Check your children’s health. If they are feeling unwell, or you’re not sure whether they’re fit to fly, consult your GP before your flight. If your child has a heavy cold, we advise against flying. Nor should children fly if they have a high temperature or have recently had surgery.
Very important: flying can be an adventure for children, but they may also be a little nervous about it. Do prepare them for the flight, especially if it is the first time they have been on an aeroplane. Get them excited about the upcoming flight, and tell them what will happen before and after it and while you’re airborne.
Children may feel insecure in different surroundings. Their favourite cuddly toy will help to alleviate their fears and create a feel-good atmosphere. Remember to put their favourite “blankie” in your hand baggage if you’re flying with your children. It will give them a good feeling, and also help to keep them warm if they get a little chilly on the aeroplane. Make yourselves comfortable together. If that includes you taking off your shoes, please feel free. Thick socks will keep your feet warm. Their favourite snack might also help your child to feel happy.
Booking for children
If you’re flying with a child, you can easily eliminate a number of stumbling blocks beforehand. Starting with your booking. Do so in plenty of time, especially if you’re planning to travel during the school holidays. Then you have more chance of getting the best possible flight connection. When you book, think about the actual flight as well. If you all want to sit together, we suggest reserving your seats in plenty of time. Children also need to have a valid ticket. However, whether or not your child will have their own seat depends on their age. We distinguish between two age categories for children. Up to 2 years of age: If, for instance, you’re flying with a 1-year-old child, then you don’t have to reserve a separate seat because he or she will sit on an adult’s lap with a special safety belt. 2 to 11 years of age: If you are flying with a child that is two years of age or older, you will have to reserve a seat.
State your child’s age when you make the booking to see the discounted rates. It is also a good idea to provide the child’s age so we can adapt the meals to our youngest passengers’ requirements. After all, children don’t necessarily love the same foods as their parents. Good to know:
- You can request a baby meal when you make your booking; there’s no charge.
- Children aged between two and nine years will automatically be served a child meal on long-haul flights in every class and on European flights in SWISS Business.
- If your child is aged between nine and twelve years, you can also order the meal in advance. Again, there’s no charge.
- If your child has any allergies or intolerances, we have a number of Special meals on the aircraft.
Are you in the Zurich area and have any further questions about your booking or flying with children? Visit us at the SWISS City Ticket Office on Paradeplatz at the heart of Zurich. Our experienced travel specialists will be pleased to advise you personally and individually on flying on holiday with children.
At the airport
Zurich airport is such an exciting place. Explore it with your children. For instance, head for the visitor terrace at Check-in 2 or one of the play areas at the Gates. Zurich airport has special offers for families at Gates A and E. Some of the things you’ll find: nursing room, supervised playroom, changing tables and facilities for heating food.
Don’t waste any time waiting and queueing when you’re travelling with children. Avoid check-in on the day of departure, and check in online the evening before. Alternatively, use the Family Check-in at Zurich airport. Families with children are given priority treatment at Check-in 1 just to the right of Business Class check-in. However, we still advise arriving at the airport in plenty of time, especially during school holidays.
Information on hand baggage for children
If you’re flying with a baby, there are relaxed conditions for carrying containers of liquids in your hand baggage. You can take the milk and liquid baby food required on your flight with you even if the container holds more than 100 millilitres. You do not need a transparent plastic bag for them. Just show the baby food to the security personnel at the security check. Before you fly, find out about the Baggage conditions for children.
Important: Pushchairs and buggies need to fold down to go on an aircraft (one piece). A protective cover is recommended to protect them against damage and the weather during transportation. Bubble wrap and special travel covers are good choices. If you don’t have anything suitable with you, ask at the check-in desk if they have a large plastic bag; sometimes the staff there are able to help.
If you’re travelling with children, it’s unlikely that only taking hand baggage with you will be enough. However, even if you have a considerable amount of baggage to check in, you can still enjoy a relaxed start to your holiday. If you’re in Switzerland, use the Luggage door-to-door to Zurich airport service, which will collect your checked baggage from your home the day before your flight.
During the flight
Once you have got yourselves onto the aircraft, it’s time to relax and enjoy the flight. If you’re travelling with a baby and want to warm up a bottle or water for baby food, the crew will be pleased to help you. And please don’t worry about approaching the crew if you’d like to nurse or change your baby on the aircraft.
The entertainment programme
If you’re flying with children, your SWISS crew will usually hand out puzzles, colouring books and toys before you take off. On long-haul flights, the child-appropriate entertainment programme will help to keep children occupied during the flight. It includes a selection of films, computer games and music. Our tip for travelling with children: Download the SWISS Kids App, which contains all sorts of games that will help your children to learn about flying on your trip. This app is a great complement to the on-board entertainment programme and your child’s own toys on the aircraft. And hopefully you won’t hear the dreaded words “I’m bored …”!
Things to think of
A tiny mishap when eating or drinking or a short delay – these things can easily be overcome if you’ve got enough nappies and spare clothing with you. If you’re flying with children, a dummy (pacifier) will help them to cope with the changes in pressure when taking off and landing. Older children will prefer chewing gum or sweets. If your child is taking any medicine, do remember to put it in your hand baggage.
Safety during the flight
The use of a Child car seat is not compulsory, but it is recommended. Your child will need its own seat in this case. There is no charge for taking a child’s car seat for children under 12 years of age and weighing less than 27 kg. If you do take a car seat with you, please note that it must be approved for use on an aircraft and fit on a SWISS seat (43 x 43 cm). If you are flying with a baby under eight months of age and weighing less than 11 kg, you will be given a special baby bassinet (cot) on the aircraft. Please contact the Service Center in plenty of time, because there is only a limited number of cots on a flight.
The main information at a glance: Download your flight checklist for holidays with children.