Flying alone longhaul with 3-year-old and 1-year-old: would you? Have you? Any tips?

(12 Posts)
claraquack Thu 26-Feb-09 21:57:48

There is a possibility that I may have to make an 8-hour transatlantic trip with my 2 dd's this year - they will be aged around 3.9 and 18 months at the time. The older one is well behaved and used to flying. The younger is a minx and liable to upset all the other passengers by being way too boistrous. Anyone got any experience? Can it be done without having a nervous breakdown? How do you deal with things like toilet trips, eating etc? We'd probably be flying either BA or Virgin and in business class.

Thanks!

claraquack Fri 27-Feb-09 13:36:14

Bump -anyone? Or am I the only nutter to contemplate this?

(Mumbles to self) Perhaps I should try this message in the living overseas area.....hmmm.

pagwatch Fri 27-Feb-09 13:39:20

I flew to barbados with a three year old. I didn't have a one year old but I was 6 months pregnant.
It was a piece of cake. Ds 1 was fantasticly well behaved and just played with some little trains I bought him at the airport, chatted with me and slept.

SuperMario Fri 27-Feb-09 13:39:53

There is a help thing on the main homepage abou this.

bananapaddlepop Fri 27-Feb-09 13:40:44

Can you do a night time flight at all? I fly to Australia every year with my DD and we always go out on the 10pm flights so at least she is knackered and sleeps a good portion of the first leg.

All the stewards will help you out, presumably you will each have a seat if you are in business so eating will be as normal.

claraquack Fri 27-Feb-09 13:44:07

Thanks - I'm actually going to avoid a nighttime flight as I have done that in the past (with dh) and the two dd's were a nightmare. The younger (7 months at the time) slept at the beginning, then woke up. The older was totally hyper and then flaked out at about the time the younger one woke up. I didn't get any sleep. I just couldn't hack it on my own.....

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 27-Feb-09 13:46:28

Be sure to fly BA or one of the big carriers. If you are flying yourself, make sure the ticket agent knows when you arrive at the airport. The big companies sometimes send staff out to help parents traveling alone.

Its probably worth getting your 18 old their own seat if you can afford it. Even bring their carseat - although check with the airline what plane you will be on as the Jumbos have carseats on board you can borrow. An 18 month old is likely to have to sit on your lap for take-off and landing but having their own seat will make all the difference. [it will also increase your hold and hand luggage allowances]

Pack your own snacks but also book kids meals in advance.

Do the online booking thing so you don't have to arrive at the airport more than 2 hours before the flight. The less time standing around the ticket desk the better.

New books, crayons and colouring books are a must. Balloons are great for lay-overs or waiting to board. Take no space to pack and are super-cheap to leave behind.

Pack pajamas to wear on the plane - cooler and more comfortable than normal clothes. [Put pack yourself an extra shirt!}

Can your 3 year old manage a small carry-on bag for themselves? If so, let them pack their own toys in the bag [obviously within reason].

All the long-haul carriers should have tvs in the back of seats, but if your kids have a favourite tv show it might be worth purchasing a portable DVD player for their own movies. But get them used to watching it with earphones on before getting on the plane.

Hope this helps!

claraquack Fri 27-Feb-09 13:56:12

Thanks - my three-year-old will carry her own backpack, she did last time we travelled, and I packed it with her comfort blanket, some toys, a drink and lots and lots of snacks! We are thinking of getting a portable dvd player too but not sure if I want another thing to carry!

At least I won't be in that awful stage with the baby where I'll need twelve bottles and three thousand nappies!

I can't decide about getting an extra seat for dd2 - we'll be business class so there will be more room and I'm just not sure she'll sit in her seat on her own. But that's because she wouldn't at the moment - it's hard to imagine what they'll be like a few months down the line...

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 27-Feb-09 14:02:33

We took a carseat with us when we flew to Canada for the just 2 year old. We had to pay for the seat anyways so thought we would actually use it! Our forward facing carseat can recline slightly so she slept in it during the flight. It made a difference to us but we were flying economy class.

The new BA planes have smaller hand luggage allowances now. A lot of people who got on the plane with us in Calgary had their hand-luggage confiscated and stowed under the plane. You can imagine how pissed the passangers travelling onto Mumbai through Heathrow were.

The size of hand-luggage is slightly less than advertised and smaller than what other airlines still use. We lucked out because we stuck DD2s nappies in DD1s coat pockets so the wheelie carry-on looked slightly smaller.

claraquack Fri 27-Feb-09 14:07:07

I don't think a car seat would be feasible as I physically don't think I could carry it along with the buggy, the toddler, the three-year-old, my bag, their bag etc etc etc! As it's a day flight I would be happy with her on my lap or sitting with her sister or on the floor or walking endlessly up and down the aisles - which is probably what would happen!

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 27-Feb-09 14:09:33

I told them in advance I was coming with one and they took it to the gate for me - BA might be more expensive than EasyJet but much better customer service!

EldonAve Fri 27-Feb-09 14:14:23

I would book an extra seat and if you think you'll need help in the airport book the airport assistance

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