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Today’s reader question comes from my sister, who posted on the Points With a Crew Facebook page.  I thought I’d also make a separate post of it to see if we could get some more thoughts from others.  I mean what’s the point of being a “famous” travel blogger if you can’t help answer your sister’s travel questions!

Kerry is flying from California to visit us here in Ohio later on this year, and is flying solo with her 3 young kids.

I need advice, from Dan and whoever wants to chime in. Is it better to go on a plane with young kids on an earlier flight or afternoon flight? Kids are 6, 7.5 and 9, and the 6-year-old is cranky on a good day. I could potentially get a 7am flight or take the afternoon one and make my mom pick us up at 1am (cringe). My kids have never flown before, and I have no idea how it will go. I know I can’t really sleep on a plane…it remains to be seen if they will be able to. Advice is much appreciated, especially on how to entertain them and any tips!

Is it better to travel on an earlier flight or a later flight?  Find out the pros and cons of different times for family travel with kids

My thoughts on an earlier flight or a later flight

There is a wide variety of information on how to entertain kids on a flight.  But what I thought was interesting was the concept of deciding between taking an earlier flight or a later flight, and how that would work with kids.

One thing that is a bit tricky is the 3 hour time change.  A 1 a.m. arrival sounds horrible (and it will be bad for those picking you up at the airport), but it would only be 10 p.m. California time for your kids

If you do take the earlier flight, that 7 a.m. flight likely means a 4 a.m. wakeup call in order to get everyone up and out the door in time to be at the airport in plenty of time.  I’ve heard that the airport can be busy early in the morning… 🙂

A lot depends on how your kids do in the morning or evening, but I would lean towards taking the earlier flight.  The main reason would be IRROPS, or irregular operations, which is code for “stuff goes wrong”.  That could be anything related to weather, plane malfunctions, or anything else that disrupts the flight schedule.  If you take the early flight, if something goes wrong, you might still make it to your final destination later in the day.  If you’re on a later flight, and something goes wrong, then you might be stuck in an unfamiliar connecting city, (not) sleeping at the airport.

Now it’s your turn!

If you’ve flown with young kids on a long (cross-country) flight – give your thoughts on whether it’s better to take an earlier flight or later flight!

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