Travelling with Children

10 top tips to make your journey as smooth as possible

At London Stansted Airport we see millions of passengers travelling each year, with lots of parents and children flying abroad for the very first time. And while family holidays are fun and exciting, we know that travelling through a busy airport and going on a flight with babies and young children can feel a bit daunting…

Our travel advice experts have put together all the essential advice, information and top tips you need for travelling with your little ones, to help make your journey as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Before you go

airport travel with children

1) Contact your airline

Contact your airline and find out how to reserve seats in advance, so if you’re flying as a family you can guarantee you’re all sitting together. The airline might even be able to help you book a flight that’s unlikely to be full, so you could get an empty seat next to you, or even a free row, giving you all a bit more space.

Your airline will usually offer a variety of things onboard for children too, such as sky cots, baby food, toddler meals, and children's entertainment, so contact them in advance to see what’s available.

Also ask your airline for advice on what items can be taken onboard the aircraft, such as booster seats or buggies.

2) Choose the right seats when booking

It’s best to book the seats that suit you and your little ones, rather than risk being randomly allocated to seats that aren’t quite suitable. For example, if you’re flying with a baby, an aisle seat might be the most convenient option, as it’s easier to get to and from the toilet when you need to.

With young children, a window seat might help keep them entertained. But it could also be a bit disorienting or distressing for a child who isn’t used to flying, or who has a fear of heights, so weigh up the best option for you and your family.

3) Book a daytime flight

Where possible, try to fly during reasonable daytime hours, so that your child's daily routine isn’t disrupted too much. There are also more restaurants open during the daytime for meals with your children, and more shops to help keep them entertained.

4) Pack your hand luggage for the plane

If you’re flying with a baby, you might want to pack:

  • Dummies

  • Nappies

  • Wet wipes

  • A change of baby clothes

  • Plastic bags (for used nappies or 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). 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.

If you’re flying with a young child, you might want to pack:

  • Favourite toys, books or puzzles

  • Travel pillow

  • Wet wipes

  • Hard sweets – which can help with the sensation of ears popping when the plane takes off and lands

On the day

airport travel with children

5) Use a drop off area

So you can have a seamless departure, we offer various drop off options so you can be through the airport doors in no time. Drop off on the Mid Stay Car Park is free for up to 60 minutes, or if you’re looking for the quickest and most convenient goodbye then we recommend Express Set Down.

For those being dropped off by someone who wishes to accompany you to the terminal, the Short Stay Car Parks are a great option.

6) Allow plenty of time

It might sound obvious, but cutting it fine is a sure-fire way to make travelling with children a lot more stressful…

Plan your journey to the airport in advance, making sure you’re aware of any roadworks that could affect your route. If travelling by public transport, keep a close eye on schedule updates. And arrive at the earliest time your airline recommends (normally two hours before departure for a short-haul flight, or three hours before departure for a long-haul flight).

At the terminal

airport travel with children

7) Buggy & pushchair service

The process and timing for checking in your pushchair or buggy might differ depending on your airline. To ensure a smooth experience on your travel day, it's a good idea to reach out to your airline ahead of time to check.

8) Baby changing & breastfeeding

Baby changing facilities can be found on both arrival and departure.


• International Baggage Reclaim - family room near reclaim 1, baby change cubicles in both ladies' and gents' toilets near reclaim 9

• UK Baggage Reclaim - baby change in ladies' toilets

• Arrivals route from Gates 40 to 59 - baby change with accessible toilet

• Main arrivals greeting area - baby change cubicles in both ladies' and gents' toilets


• In both ladies' and men's toilets in zone A check-in area

• Baby changing and nursing room located in the main departure lounge

• Gates 1 to 19 - family room near Gate 13

• Gates 20 to 39 - family room near Gates 33/34

• Gates 40 to 50 - family room near Gate 43

• Gates 51 to 59 - family room near Gate 59

• Gates 81 to 88 - baby change with accessible toilet and ladies' toilet

There is also a breastfeeding room located in the main departures lounge, as well as family rooms located near several of the gates. Please be assured that London Stansted Airport promotes breastfeeding across our entire site, and we do not restrict where breastfeeding can take place.

9) Pre-order baby milk service

If your child needs medication while you’re at the airport, or if you need ready-to-drink infant milk for your holiday, you can pre-order it before you travel and collect it from Boots after security.

For further information on this and other pre-order collection services, please visit the official Boots website. Alternatively baby essentials including nappies, formula milk and baby wipes can also be purchased from Boots in the terminal.

10) Heating up food and baby milk

Lots of our restaurants and cafés will warm up your baby milk free of charge – they’ll do this in hot water rather than in the microwave, as commercial microwaves are too powerful for baby milk.

A wide range of the airport restaurants offer kids meals and food warming facilities which includes: The Camden Bar & Kitchen, Comptoir Libanais, JD Wetherspoon - The Windmill, Joe & The Juice, Sunny Side Cafe, Terracotta Italian Kitchen.

Kids can even eat free at Comptoir Libanais and Sunny Side Cafe!

For more information about travelling with babies and children, visit our FAQ page or contact one of our friendly experts today.

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