It’s no secret we love flying out of Edmonton International Airport with our kids. It’s efficient, well laid out, and has lots of options to make travelling with kids easy.
Here’s our top ten tips for travelling with children at EIA
(please note these tips are for the main domestic/international termina
1. Arrive early to give yourself extra time to enjoy the airport. Enjoying an airport? Sounds like a oxymoron, but starting your travels off rushed and stressed isn’t the greatest way to begin. By giving yourselves extra time, you can begin the relaxing before you even leave.
2. Take advantage of that extra time by letting the kids play in one of the great indoor play spaces. The large indoor playground is at gate 16 and it has multiple slides and things for climbing (think a McDonald’s play area). There’s also a science space sponsored by TWOS with mirrors and a few hands-ons activites to try. The second playspace is located at gate 66, and is geared towards kids under 5. There’s a few games and things to climb on, along with a mini slide for toddlers. (If you are traveling to the United States there’s a small play space by gate 80 past customs along with X-boxes for bigger kids).
3. There are multiple giant interactive touch screens around the airport for navigation. These giant iPad-like screens also have kid friendly games- like a airport themed memory tile game. It’s intuitive to use and exciting- My girls would have liked to play on this device for our entire wait.
4. Walk the entire length of the airport. This will take about 30 minutes depending on how fast your kids walk. But it’s the perfect way to tire out little legs that will be sitting still for hours on a plane. We always tell our girls we are walking the airport in search of the play spaces and water fountains (but really we just giving them a bunch of exercise before boarding).
5. If your kids are into Pokemon Go, there are 7 pokestops throughout the airport. This can be a great activity to get your kids moving before a long flight.
6. Feed the children at the airport. A rookie mistake when travelling with kids is only eating before you leave the house. However, if you leave the house even a minimum of 3 hours before your flight you’ll find everyone is hungry before even taking off- waiting around can be exhausting. Food in the airport is still cheaper then food in the air and a full, real meal before a flight is essential to happy travelling kids. I find that even though I pack an abundance of healthy snacks for the flight, a solid meal right before boarding is key to getting my girls through any long flight. Remember you’ll could be adding on a hour or two of customs or line-ups once you arrive at your destination- it can be a really long time before everyone has another good meal. EIA has great options for dining with kids- lots of fast food or sit down options with child friendly meals at BP’s, Montana’s or Chili’s to name a few. We budget a meal at the airport every time depart on a long trip.
7. Talk to one of the happy volunteers once you’ve gone through security. They often have colouring books and other activities to give to children travelling. They can also direct you in the right direction for the playgrounds, food or shopping.
8. If your airline offers pre-boarding for families with young children don’t do it! You’re only adding more time in a confined space. Use those last few minutes to play “simon-says” or other games that get your kids moving before you board. Turn some music on and have a mini (quiet) dance party! Being the first to board a plane can add 30 minutes onto your travel time and it’s a lot harder to keep them sitting down and quiet when everyone is still moving around to their seats. You’ll be on that plane long enough, limit it if you can!
9. This may seem obvious, but use the bathroom and fill up your water bottles right before boarding as well. You can’t use the facilities on the plane until it’s reached it’s final cruising altitude and that can take some time (or basically eternity if you have a toddler).
10. If you are travelling on your child’s birthday, stop by the info booth for a T-shirt saying “Today is my Birthday” on the front and “wish me happy birthday” on the back. They’ll love the extra attention and the shirt is absolutely free! The birthday program is one of those perks that makes EIA extra special. Edmonton International Airport always has contests and activities on their website– makes sure to check it out before fly.
Have you flyed through EIA lately? Any advice for travelling with little ones in the airport?