Travelers Tool Kit: Shae by Air, DVD for kids about air travel

This week I lent a friend of mine two large suitcases with wheels, a carry-on sized bag with wheels and the DVD, Shae by Air: Every Child can Be a Good Little Traveler. She was heading off to Bolivia on her own with her three children, ages 7, 4 and 2.

The more we talked about air travel with kids, the more I remembered the DVD. The DVD is geared towards young children who have not flown before, or those who may need a refresher about what to expect. Because the angles of the shots are from the kid’s perspective, children are more likely to be drawn into the story.

I could have used this DVD several years ago. The first time my daughter flew she was 3-years-old and didn’t know English. We took great pains to have the interpreter talk with her about the things she could expect once we got on the plane. However, I forgot those details that would happen from the airport door to the plane. Because we were flying from Hanoi, departure was low key. If we had been navigating a large airport, the experience may have been overwhelming. This was also before 9/11 and air travel changed. Having this DVD would have helped when we left Singapore.

Shae by Air covers each step as creator Scotty Kober uses her own daughter’s first journey–a trip to Paris, as a focal point for the explanations. Starting with packing a suitcase with a few toys and items to keep busy on the plane, the DVD is a charming look at travel from a kid’s perspective.

Kober’s voice captures the excitement of a child’s first trip, while including those details that could stump even the seasoned parent traveler. Long lines and TSA can be nerve-wracking at times even for those who know what to do. For a child, taking off a coat, and putting the stuffed animal or doll down on the conveyor belt so the items can go on a trip through the X-ray machine can be daunting. Leaving mom, dad or the adult in charge on one side of the metal detector while the child goes through and then waiting for the adult to come through can be alarming.

Handing tickets over to the gate attendant, finding a seat, storing luggage, putting on a seat belt and eating snacks are also included in the narrative. So is an explanation about ear popping and what to do about it. You’ll be pleased to know that Kober also includes not bothering the other passengers by kicking the seat in front.

When I showed this video to my son when he was four, he pronounced it a thumbs up, even though he had flown before and knows what to expect. For him, watching Shae take her trip was a way to see what he knows. She’s also a darling little girl. Listening to the narrative and watching Shae calmed me down.

For my friend who is hopefully squared away with her three kids in Bolivia visiting family who lives there, I hope the DVD helped her kids know what to do on their trip so that mom and the passengers around them had a smooth, uneventful ride. Or if there were events, they didn’t cause them.

The DVD comes with a made for kids packing list and two-luggage tags that my son also enjoyed playing with. They made him feel grown up.

Although the narrative doesn’t include every last detail of flying its a good start. People flying with kids could think of those details not in the DVD and explain them. You could even say, “What would Shae do in this situation?”