i am terrified. flying to new york with 9 month and 2 year old alone

(48 Posts)
cheapandchic Wed 26-Sep-12 20:25:36

can i get the crew to help me? what do i do with baby while helping toddler to the loo? how do i entertain them both for 8 hours?

please send advice

humblebumble Mon 01-Oct-12 19:03:40

I have done it a few times, it isn't easy but it isn't all that bad. There are always people who will help. However, I agree taking a stroller to the gate, if it is an umbrella stroller the crew may take pity on you and stow it. You will need it in NYC. The walk to the gates can be far and immigration is usually very slow. If your DC are anything like mine, they won't sleep for the whole flight until 10 mins before the end and then just be exhausted.

Also I would only pack disposable toys for 2 yr old stickers, etc. Mostly they get lost under the chair.

The bassinet seat is useful for extra storage space. It doesn't matter if DC2 doesn't fit, you will just be relieved to have somewhere to put stuff.

Personally I would take myself a sandwich (plus bars of chocolate) or plan not to eat the airplane food.

Wheresthedamndog Wed 03-Oct-12 20:57:51

Lots of great advice here. Second the recommendation of a stroller or pushchair. The queues for immigration can be awful: last month we waited at JFK for an hour and half. With two grouchy kids...a pushchair would really help.

I have flown solo with my two at that age, and it is doable if not enjoyable. People are generally kind and helpful, and I found BA staff to be great. Good luck.

unclefluffy Wed 03-Oct-12 21:11:18

Um... Surely this wonderful stroller thing only works if you can get it in the cabin? I believed the hype, lugged one over to the US and then only got it back AFTER the hideous immigration line. At which point, DD refused to get in it. Sigh... And that's not to mention the fact that it got delayed on its way home and arrived back 24 hours after we did! So, if you think you can manage without, I would!

YUNoSaySomethingNice Wed 03-Oct-12 21:50:08

You should be able to get a stroller into the cabin, if it has _no accessories_ (ie hood, rain cover etc) and if it is small especially if you are travelling with more than one DC on your own.
The really small strollers will fit in most overhead lockers. It is certainly worth a try and if it doesn't work out you can gate check the stroller and get it back as soon as you get off the plane.
There is always a delay if you gate check the stroller so it is much, much better to take it into the cabin if you can.
I would speak to the check in staff at the gate and plead your case. I would also fold the stroller so that they can see how small it is.
Here is some more info on flying with strollers. I don't know if all the info is still in date though.

I've done London - NYC - LAX with a 23 month old and 3 year old.

My top tip is for your 2 year old to wear shoes that are easy to take on and off, and make sure neither are wearing any metal (think belt buckles, check pockets for coins etc). Security is a major pain with 2 kids, but if you can practice taking shoes on and off, you'll be better prepared.

cheapandchic Thu 04-Oct-12 13:13:20

Ok no thanks to those who said 'dont do it". I have to do it. I have to visit my family, for reasons I dont want to get into and my husband cannot come because of work.

Anyway, my reasons for not taking stroller.
1. I dont have a small cheap one.
2. A few of my friends have said that they take it to the plane, no problem, but then they insist on checking it at gate and it comes out with the luggage anyway.
3. Family on other end has two buggy, so I wont need it/ use it at all during the trip...so I would be buying a buggy to use for one hour?
4. I have been to through the immigration at this airport many many times and never had a long wait, (we all have three passports, including american ones)
5. How do you push a stroller, and the luggage cart, and a car seat while carrying baby on back? Although I was hoping at this point someone would help me with the 'special assistance" I requested. not sure.

Once I had a broken ankle and they came to gate and gave me a ride on the golf cart thing. Is it possible to ask for this service?? I might look into this...fake a bad leg??

I have ipad, small new toys, books, I am most concerned about puking and managing taking just one of them to the loo. what will the other one do? who will watch them? especially when whichever one is not coming in the loo with me will probably crysad

oh god, i am dreading this

Viviennemary Thu 04-Oct-12 13:32:56

I was one of the people who said don't do it. I'm sorry if that was unhelpful. I only know I couldn't have managed this. But obviously from this thread a lot of people can and hope you have had some good tips about how to manage things.

Longdistance Thu 04-Oct-12 13:49:40

Hey. I took my two dd's on my own. They were 14mo and nearly 3. I had a rucksack carrier to put dd1 in, whilst pulling a wheelie case. It still let me be able to have a hand free to either hold dd1's hand, or to be able to carry her.
It was hard, but doable. I got a buggy car at Heathrow, but not sure what help you'll get at JFK. Phone the airline now, and book to get a bassinet seat for your baby, so he/she isn't on your lap all the way.
Good luck!

Longdistance Thu 04-Oct-12 13:52:33

As for entertainment. They'll have inflight entertainment. If not a portable DVD player. I took toys, coloring in, books, magazines (peppa for us) and had lots of snacks to hand.

5Foot5 Thu 04-Oct-12 13:59:25

Depending on the airline you might also get special treatment and allowed on the plane first and help to get off if you are travelling alone with DC.

When I did the flight to Australia with DD I found that I had become part of a special little group - the unaccompanied children, the wheelchair users and the adults travelling alone with small children. As I say - we were allowed to board before everyone else and there was help to get off. When there was a delay at Bangkok we were even given our own little room in the airport with a bed and a shower

fuckwittery Thu 04-Oct-12 14:00:37

Take cheapo £20 stroller definitely! 22 Asda stroller. We made mistake of not taking buggy when flying with a nearly 3 year old. Your 2 year old will be knackered and Heathrow and JFK are BIG places for a 2 year old to walk. Esp if your 2 year old falls asleep on the plane and then wants to be carried at JFK and you have an hour wait for immigration. Seriously, you need a buggy. Invaluable for hanging all your stuff on as well, and at JFk I've always got my buggy immediately after getting off the plane rather than having to get it at the baggage collection - the luggage handlers are awesome. I've been through JFK several times with buggy.

We've had bad experiences at JFK immigration but last time when they saw we had two young kids we got waved to the front of the queue so fingers crossed for you.

Regarding luggage cart, car seat and pushing stroller, what you do is fold the cheap small stroller once you've got luggage cart and put it on the cart, perching 2 year old on top of some sturdy luggage if still tired!

Could you also put your 2 year old in pull ups for the flight to avoid accidents and very urgent loo trips?

Adviceinscotland Thu 04-Oct-12 14:14:59

I think the best thing to do is suss out the nicest person near to you on the plane as soon as you are on it, tell them you are dreading the flight and would they mind helping you with the baby during toilet runs. If like me you get totally bored on a plane after 5 mins they will be glad of something to do.

Adviceinscotland Thu 04-Oct-12 14:18:00

Btw we are just back from a long haul flight with the toddler from hell (we love her but my god was that stressful grin) what worked most for us was showing her over and over the videos/photos on the iPad of her friends family.

Maybe get dh to record a few short videos and take pictures of their room/garden/toys etc so they can flick through them and talk about them.

wentshopping Thu 04-Oct-12 14:32:13

I fly UK-US every year, and have done for the past 10 years - dd3 is now11, so I have done all the baby, toddler stage and as she uses a wheelchair, I am still grouped in the "people requiring special assistance" - wheelchair users and parents travelling with small children. From my own experience I would say -
immigration can take ages, although the US passport line is usually shorter - consider a buggy for this
special assistance - for me this involves an extra pair of hands who will push dd while I take care of the other 2 or they carry the luggage for me. Once, the special assistance person did not turn up at Heathrow, so the captain (yes, the guy who had just flown us for 10 hours) carried dd's extra heavy special needs car seat all the way through Heathrow Terminal 5.
If you get to NYC and realise that you can manage your stuff yourself, you just send them away. In my experience( not NYC, and bearing in mind dd3's chair looks like a stroller and not a wheelchair) the special assistance people will wheel you into a "special needs and families" line so it can be quicker through immigration. If you don't have a buggy with you, they can't really help push either of dc.
BA definitely board famiies with children first - although it seems a nanosecond before the rest of the passengers are charging down the jetway while I am still folding up the wheelchair
stowing a buggy onboard - there is usually room, apart from if your flight has lots of people with wheelchairs and buggys, then it is potluck as to whose buggy gets in the cabin.
going to the loo - if you have the skycot booked ( I think you mentioned this upthread), then strap baby into that while you go to the loo. On BA they look like little carseats. Otherwise, there will always be a mum or granny who will look after your little one for a minute. Once a lady put her baby into dd2's lap - she was 12 at the time - and dd just laughed and held her for a couple of minutes.
Entertainment. DD3 never watches tv in the seatback. Ipad with new apps, and tv episodes loaded. I used to take portable dvd player but ipad does the job now. Also magazines as mentioned upthread - read them and dump them.
Food and snacks - Most airlines have a stash of crisps and chocolate which you can just go to the back and ask for between meals. Apparently Air France have ice cream. Otherwise, stock up with snacks in your carry one - but buy drinks after security.

Do bring a buggy, just for the certainty of knowing exactly where your child is. There are so many distractions in an airport - passports, luggage, gate notices etc - it is so easy to take your eyes off them, especially with another child to look after.

If they are in the buggy you can also hurry them along in the direction you need to go more easily than if they are walking (or maybe it's only my DS who is this uncooperative...)

When I flew to NY with my then 9 month old I brought this www.ebay.ie/sch/sis.html?_nkw=PHIL+TEDS+WRIGGLE+WRAPPER+GREY+BRAND+NEW

It meant I could tether him to the seat for a short while at least as he was in the very wriggly won't-stay-still stage.

I also had a bulkhead seat which was brilliant for letting him down on the ground to play. I did have a bassinet but he was too big to stay in it really - they aren't that large.

cheapandchic Thu 04-Oct-12 15:30:04

ok I just spoke to airline (virgin) and they said absolutely no to bringing buggy onboard. so I just pray that I can get it at gate and not with baggage...

starting to pack snacks.do I really need a lot?

Re- ipad. we have one, but does your little one use the earphones? they dont really fit, so will they be able to listen with full volume and will that disturb my neighbours?

wentshopping Thu 04-Oct-12 15:55:20

Ipad - dd3 does not use earphones. There's so much background noise on a plane that other people can't really hear it - I don't usually put it up to full volume though. Remember most other people are watching the in-flight stuff with their own headphones on.
I wonder why they are so definite about not having buggy on board? I would ask at check-in and again at gate - the gate people and the crew make the final decision ime. If they say no at check-in or gate, get them to put a "return to aircraft door" label on it when they tag it - they tag dd's chair at check-in, just in case there is no room in cabin.
Snacks - just think what your toddler can get through in that part of the day normally, and add 2 more; then some choc for yourself grin
Good luck - it will be fine in the end.

YUNoSaySomethingNice Thu 04-Oct-12 15:57:34

fuckwittery has great advice. The asda stroller would be perfect. It is only 22 quid but could potentially save you a lot of grief Fold it up before you get to the gate. It will be smaller and lighter that a lot of other peoples carry on. Keep the rest of your carry on as small as possible.
I wouldn't give up on the possibility of getting the stroller in the cabin.

I really wouldn't worry about going to the toilet. I have never had a problem with this. You could, if you had to, take both DC's with you. It would be very cramped but it's possible. The air stewards will help you if you need it.
You can book meet and assist and then cancel it if you find you can manage on your wn. The only problem with meet and assist is that they usually let the rest of the passengers off first and, sometimes, that can feel like a long wait.

You really don't need to worry, I am sure you will be fine.

RedBlanket Thu 04-Oct-12 16:17:01

There's always someone who will hold a baby for a few minutes if you need. I flew with my 9 month DTs and I was inundated with offers of help.

When we went away last year we bought some child size earphones. Can't link on my phone google JVC kids earphones. Probably still too big for your DC but they'll stay on better than the ear buds.

BizarreLoveTriangle Thu 04-Oct-12 16:17:54

I've taken a 3.5 yo and a baby to New York on my own. We had a small bag of toys and I made sure that they never took anything out without putting the other thing back in otherwise we would have ended up with all the toys lost. I got large headphones (not earphones) and kept the volume fairly low so my 3 yo's ears weren't hurt.

When I went to the toilet myself, I left my 3 yo just outside the door with both of us knocking on the door every 10 seconds so we knew the other was still there (more to reassure her than me). I took the baby in with her in a sling. When I took the 4 yo to the toilet, I stood outside with the door held slightly ajar (just so that I could see her but nobody else could).

If possible, I would bring a small cheap buggy for the airport. I didn't have one so we walked really slowly, stopping for 10 seconds every 100 steps to give my toddler a rest as she was really tired.

fuckwittery Fri 05-Oct-12 23:19:36

You will definitely get buggy immediately at JFK, they are ace at doing this espcially Virgin. They treat them like wheelchairs, i.e. essential to the user, and assume you cannot leave the vicinity of the plane without it!

fuckwittery Fri 05-Oct-12 23:22:02

Oh and yes loads of snacks, the meals never come at the right time.
Also when you get meals, ask for them at different times, so get toddler meal first which leaves your lap free for baby (if awake) and able to help toddler. If you get both meals together you'll have both trays down and actually won't be able to eat yours with baby on your lap. Is your toddler good at holding baby under supervision for short time? Mine could at just 3 but not sure about my just 2 year old! use toddler or neighbour to hold baby while you shovel food down you!

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