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

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 26-Sep-12 20:27:44

My advice is do not do this trip alone. In fact do not do it at all - unless you have to because you are moving there.... Surely you are not taking a nine month and 2 year old sight seeing in New York....

Rosa Wed 26-Sep-12 20:40:56

Who are you flying with? It helps. It can be done you just need to be organised,
If you can pay for a seat for the baby as well as the space will help. Suggest baby in sling or baby bjorn so you have hands free. Take buggy to the gate so you can push 2 yr old get a rucksack trolly you can hook over handles of the buggy and a smaller rucksack for 2 yr old. In your bag have plastic bags of different colours so you know, orange nappies / wipes, blue toys, white snacks etc, red change of clothes.
When you go to the loo ask the hostess to hold the baby outside the door. If then say they can't for H&S oly happened to me once a passenger held the baby , you and a 2 yr old can fit in the loo. Otherwise I always found the crew to be superhelpful. I asked when they were serving the meal to advise 10/20 mins before so took smaller one to the loo. If baby sleeps make a bed on the floor with blankets and pillows . I could go on and on but lots of people have done it. The worst bit I found was waiting to do immigration but I had a buggy the size of hand luggage so had toddler in that......

cheapandchic Wed 26-Sep-12 21:40:19

I have to take the trip. not sight seeing. visiting family. its a long story. tickets already purchased. cant afford a seat for the baby.

wasnt planning on bringing a buggy. toddler can walk and baby in carrier. family on the other end has a buggy for me.

I like the idea of making a bed on the floor.

It may well have been far easier for your family to visit you instead but its done now.

Would organise yourself properly in terms on what to bring as well as passports and airline e-tickets beforehand. Know where it all is; have it all to hand.

Which airline and airport are you using?.

Do not rely on the airline to fully provide the children re meals; bring along foodstuffs that they like. Also a change of clothes for them and you if either are sick.

I would ask fellow passengers to assist you. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Crew may or may not be helpful; depends very much on the person. Some may cite health and safety issues re holding child whilst you go to the toilet.

You will not be able to make a bed on the floor due to risk of turbulence. Baby will have to stay on your lap for the duration.

It can be a long walk to immigration from the plane's jetway, you may well have to keep stopping and starting. For that reason I would reconsider not bringing your own buggy (you will receive that at the jetway).

MrsJK Thu 27-Sep-12 07:34:00

Depending on your airline you maybe able to request assistance moving in & around the airport as travelling with two small ones.

Under no circumstances will you be able to let babe sleep on floor - you will be made to pick them up even if they are asleep.

Some airlines provide "car seats" or additional support aids to perhaps put the other DC in?

As mentioned crew can only do so much due to H&S and other duties but I'm sure they will do their upmost to assist you ( as will other kind pax around you I'm sure!)

Hope it goes well smile

Rosa Thu 27-Sep-12 11:13:28

Both mine slept on the floor at various times - Nobody said a thing . When the seatbelt sign came on I picked her up and strapped her in . When they were at the just standing I sware dd1 bounced, pulled herself up and down floor / seat / floor / seat ( not climbing on it ) just standing and bouncing , toys were on the seat the entire way over the atlantic, again nobody said a thing . WHen there was turbulence - picked her up and strapped her in . THis was with Virgin .

5Foot5 Thu 27-Sep-12 13:33:37

I flew single handed to Sidney with DD when she was just 11 months. This was with BA and the staff were very helpful.

The people over the aisle from me had a 2yo boy and they made a bed for him on the floor and again, noone said a word.

IME the most helpful fellow passengers were all Germans!

SavoyCabbage Thu 27-Sep-12 13:38:37

I flew to Australia on my own when mine had just turned 2&5. It wasn't a barrel of laughs but it was ok.

The worst bit was in the airport for me. How did I think I was going to push a buggy and my luggageconfused

I had a sling on the plane so I could have a rest and know where the little one was.

I said yes a lot. Can I watch tv? Can I have an apple? Can you read me a story?

Someone will hold your baby while you go to the loo. Just ask someone.

cheapandchic Mon 01-Oct-12 16:23:46

ok. airline has said they will give me special assistance in airport...have no idea what that involves.

baby cot is booked although my baby is 0.1 kilo under the max weight?...

how can i even fit enough food and toys in my carry on?? plus nappy and changes of clothes for everyone???

TittyWhistles Mon 01-Oct-12 16:34:44

Just take the bare minimum that you need for the journey.

Ask family to collect thrift store/ borrowed/ any old clothes plus nappies, toiletries and food along with buggy so that when they meet you you can all have a good clean up.

haggisaggis Mon 01-Oct-12 16:37:11

Really think you need a buggy. WE took our 2 to US when dd was 11 months and ds 2.5 - he ended up in the buggy going through immigration because he was utterly shattered. The wait for immigration can be around 1 hour sometimes (other times you can walk right through..special help might mean they will fast track you through it but wouldn't like to guarantee it.

BelfastBloke Mon 01-Oct-12 16:44:30

Take a light change of clothes for yourself in case you get thrown up on.

Take an iPad and plenty of toddler game apps and films.

Viviennemary Mon 01-Oct-12 16:47:33

Don't do the trip. Far too difficult looking after two children by yourself. I wouldn't even dream of doing the trip alone with one baby never mind two.

"ok. airline has said they will give me special assistance in airport...have no idea what that involves".

You need to ascertain what they will provide in terms of help well ahead of time. They may well direct you to the family line if its Terminal 5 at Heathrow but otherwise you may well expected to get to the gate in good time.

thestringcheesemassacre Mon 01-Oct-12 18:12:47

I get special assistance when I fly to Aus on my own with 2. Last time I went they were 3.5 and 9months so it's not easy.

In Singapore/Sydney they greet me off the plane, escort me through security/customs/passport quickly, carry my bags, etc. V helpful when I had a huge wheelie bag, 1 baby in the buggy and a 3 year old wanting to run around like mad.

The 2 year old will have their own seat/be glued to tv surely.

It's seriously not that hard. You just have to expect to be up and down a bit.

Notyouraveragenanny Mon 01-Oct-12 18:20:47

Perhaps look at sky nannies, there might be someone flying who can help.

juneau Mon 01-Oct-12 18:21:04

I did this trip back and forth about six times when we lived in the US. I only had one child at the time, which made it easier. This is what I took:

1 large wheeled suitcase
Buggy - essential in airport in case you're delayed or there's a long distance to walk. Get an 'umbrella' style. Very compact, lightweight, but functional.
Baby Carrier
Shoulder bag with your stuff in it and all your travel docs, wallet, etc
Bag with all baby stuff in it. Spare clothes, bottles, snacks, toys, blankets. I had a canvas beach bag from Gap that was enormous (a nappy bag will not be big enough). No one ever said a word!

You can buy baby food and formula in Boots once you get through to departures. Take extra nappies - some babies get upset tummies on planes. Take plenty of muslins/wipes too and dummies if your DC like them. They soothe little ears on take off and landing (as does feeding).

How do you walk with all this sh*t? Child in buggy, baby in carrier, one carry on bag over each shoulder, wheelie suitcase dragged behind you. It's doable - just. I usually found someone to help me though. Good luck!

juneau Mon 01-Oct-12 18:26:22

This is the bag I have, but in a different colour:
Gap Tote Bag

juneau Mon 01-Oct-12 18:27:51

Bare-bones basic umbrella stroller:

juneau Mon 01-Oct-12 18:34:53

Re: the stroller thing. I know you don't want to take one, but remember that when you land in the US it's probably going to be late night. Your 2-year-old will be EXHAUSTED and she won't want to walk. You won't be able to carry her, the baby and everything else, so please take a stroller. I speak from experience!

juneau Mon 01-Oct-12 18:37:33

P.S. US customs can be brutal - the queue is usually really long - and you will have to stand in it the same as everyone else. If you're on a big plane (which you will be - and you'll be slow walking to join the line so you'll be near the back), it can take anything from 10 mins to an hour or more to reach the front and get your passport stamped. You need to take a stroller. Really!

Nottigermum Mon 01-Oct-12 18:40:16

Take a small buggy. The journeythrough the airport with your luggage/bags etc will be long and painful if you don't.

Nottigermum Mon 01-Oct-12 18:43:33

I have done it to Canada and back with two connecting flights. It's very hard but feasable. Be very organised, have an entire bag full of little toys.

Also, but that's off the record, I gave both my children calpol before the flight. Children's ears are more sensitive than ours and calpol takes away some of the pain from air pressure.

SomeoneThatYouUsedToKnow Mon 01-Oct-12 18:50:41

I used to fly between the US and UK regularly with my 3 DC on my own. I had the pleasure of flying with a 4month old, a two year old and a three year old. confused
I can't say it was the most enjoyable thing in the world but it always seemed to work out OK. TBH they quite often slept and it is not that long a trip to New York. I mainly flew Virgin or BA. I found that I liked to be totally self sufficient and I would always have all the kids food with me. I also didn't like to use the assisted passengers services as I just liked to dash off the plane as soon as possible rather than have to wait around for someone to assist me.
I usually found the staff in the airport and in the air to be very helpful but it's best not to rely on them in case they are too busy.
Going to the loo was never a problem although nappy changing was a bit of a pain. I used to take ziplock bags with a change of cloths in for each DC then, if I had to change them I could pop the dirty cloths back inthe ziplock bag. I used to take a change of clothes for myself too. You really don't need to take toys on the flight apart from the very basics, perhaps a teddy and some colOuring stuff.
I also took lollipop to stuff into the older DC's mouths when we landed to stop them from whinging. I also made sure I had sick bags to hand as they sometimes felt a bit nauseous from jet lag.
My final tip would be to talk to your DR about giving the DCs (or at least the older one) something to help them sleep and to stop air sickness. I always carried some phenergan with me and used it with great success from time to time.
Whenthey were little I carried as little as possible with me, just one carry on with changes of clothes, nappies and food plus our documents.
I also used a bare bones umbrella stroller but did insist on it being carried in the cabin. I managed to put the two older DCs on it and I would carry the baby. Not easy but not impossible.
I also got the DC's checked over by their DR before we flew if I thought there was a chance of them having ear infections. I learnt that one from experience!
Good luck, I am sure it will be ok. smile

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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