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Long haul with 5 year old - experiences of Delta?

(8 Posts)
BiddyPop Thu 28-Jul-11 11:57:20

We're flying daytime to Boston via JFK next week, and overnight home again in 2 weeks, all with Delta. Our DD is 5.5 and has flown short haul (London-Dublin) last year, but no long flts. DH and I are both relatively used to long haul (he's due home from SA this weekend, while I haven't done long haul since I was PG).

I know we've a large plane for the long haul parts, and a much smaller one for JFK-BOS leg.

I think I have organised the carryon ok - plenty of diversions, will have the DS and iPod fully charged, debating whether to bring the portable DVD player, but have colouring in, wordearches, pack cards, travel snakes & ladders. Snacks, aromatherapy oil roller for travel, change of clothes, travel pack of wipes, tissues, calpol, sucky sweets, travel docs, etc. DD has a boostapak for car seat when we get there and for her own things on board. I'm going to buy a couple of bottles of water once we get through security. And not too heavy (I have planned on putting what we will need "on board" in a zipped bag to grab from one carryon case and stow the 2 cases for flt, with zippered under my feet).

But as it's our first long haul with DD (and DH is shattered from his current SA trip, and I'm shattered from current work pressures so all need the holiday), and we have never flown Delta before - is there anything I am missing or any advice you can give me?

One specific question is that I have 3 bags suitable for carryon - a backpack, a shoulder bag and a Samsonite full size wheelie. All are wheelies, the first 2 are smaller, and I am trying to decide between bringing the first 2, or just the biggest, or the backpack and biggest (I'll have plenty of stowed capacity for shopping). Any thoughts?

Any other general thoguhts would be great too, especially on getting a 5.5 year old who doesn't nap over jetlag (arriving Bos mid afternoon).

EldonAve Thu 28-Jul-11 17:29:48

I would take an extra set of clothes for DD = 2 sets
and a set for you and DH

At check in ask if they have booked the child meal
Ask if your luggage will check through or will you need to claim it at JFK

Carry on - I would take whichever is easiest to handle if you have to carry your child

I assume you have got your ESTAs

Earlybird Thu 28-Jul-11 17:50:50

Just flew Delta transatlantic, and it was fine.

Both flights (to/from UK) had individual seatback video screens, with some (but not much) children's programming. So, your own activity bag is needed (especially for day flight).

IME, it is not worth it to book child's meal, as it is historically soggy chicken nuggets and mushy chips. They had 2 food options when we flew (chicken or pasta), and both were fine and imo preferable to child's meal. You may wish to purchase sandwich and/or muffin once through security to have as back-up food in case your dd doesn't like what is offered.

On our flights there was an option to pay a bit extra for Economy Comfort seating - essentially this gets you (iirc, a bit more leg room). Look into that, as it does make a difference on a long flight.

As far as arrival in Boston - a quick swim is a lovely way to deal with jet-lag until bedtime. Will you have that option in Boston (are you staying in a hotel)?

Last suggestion - wear shoes that are easy to slip on/off, and bring a cardigan/light fleece as flights can be chilly (though they do provide blankets).

Have fun!

arancardigan Fri 29-Jul-11 10:01:21

I'm with earlybird. I've flown Delta a few times and never had a problem. In my experience they're right in the middle of "average" as far as equipment goes but some of it is older. It all works fine. Many airlines are revamping their cabin interiors and entertainment choices so you might strike lucky.
A cardi or something you can put on or take off easily is a good idea though I never seem to find the aircraft cold. The opposite, in fact, on my last flight, I spent time in the galley sucking on ice cubes and soaking facecloths in icy water to cool down, though that was virgin atlantic.

Please remember if you do take a sandwich or snack on board, and it doesn't get eaten LEAVE IT ON THE PLANE. The US Department of Agriculture really doesn't take kindly to people carrying food into the US, even by accident and they can be very stroppy and awkward about it.

Have a fantastic time in Boston, it's a wonderful city and this rime of year is splendid weather-wise.

BiddyPop Fri 29-Jul-11 10:07:35

Thank you both Eldon Ave and Earlybird.

Yes, ESTA completed, and passports more than 6 months vailidy left, only thing I forgot was to photocopy DD and my passports (DH's is copied from other travels).

Slip on shoes - I'd forgotten that. I have shorts pjs for DD over there (quite warm) but am bringing one pair of long legs/long sleeves ones, with sleep socks, for the overnight on the way home.

We are staying in a hotel - a swim on arrival is a great idea actually. Must leave swimm gear at the top of the case.

Kids meal is already booked, but we can share ours and a smabo is a good idea (no doubt at least one of the 2 bottomless pits I'll be sitting beside will want it before we land!! smile ).

Knowing that there's at least some kids stuff is helpful - I am torn about bringing dvd player, but may leave it (will have ds and ipod, and plenty of non-tech entertainments).

Spare spare set of clothes for DD, noted.

And I was thinking about moveability with the carryons - DH has a grand over the shoulder one, which I was thinking of using rather than the max allowed one which only wheels (they all wheel). And then I thought about space in the hire car too (after Boston, so after all the shopping), so that is another consideration. Yes, I think the ability to put it up and the size are making me veer that direction.

Thank you again.

BiddyPop Fri 29-Jul-11 10:10:46

Thanks Arancardigan too.

Do you mean ALL food leave on the plane? I can understand sambos etc, but things like dried fruit, snack packs of biscuits, fruit puree pouches? I was going to have a few spare of those in the bag for during the hols itself (very handy for when we're out and about).

I had just thought about cardi last night though, and changed my mental outfit for flying as I have a comfy one that should be a nice layer but not too hot in Boston.

arancardigan Fri 29-Jul-11 15:15:24

I'm a frequent traveller to the US & can't remember getting a warning about leaving all food on the plane on my last flight but to be honest it has been so long since I even bothered to think about taking anything off the plane I probably wasn't listening. It was a familiar airport and I had to get through customs, find my hire car and drive 200 miles to the hotel. I just wanted to be on my way.

Baby formula and expressed milk are OK but all other foodstuffs are not allowed. They say the USDA has a "duty to protrect American livestock, wildlife and plants from contamination from outside sources" or some guff. Remember, even within the US, on some roads in California and Florida for instance there are USDA inspection stations where you have to stop. You should have seen them going on when we had foot & mouth disease a few years ago.

On decent, scheduled carriers (as opposed to "holiday flights" such as Monarch, Thompsons etc) even in economy, you can ask for & freely get snacks such as fruit, fruit juices, snack sized choc or flapjack bars, drinks etc etc etc at almost any time. I don't travel with small kids any more (mine are long grown up) but I'm happy to get on any transatlantic flight without needing to pack snacks or entertainment apart from a book & magazine biught at the airport. I don't come to any harm.

Oh, and don't pack anything extra such as snacks, its just more stuff you have to think about and hump around. Just buy them there. You can often buy excellent quality foodstuffs fresh locally, burgers and doughnuts aren't the only things they sell wink

Accept what you get to eat and drink onboard, and if there's anything left un-consumed by the time you come to get off the plane just leave it in the seat pocket. have a fabulous time.

Portofino Fri 29-Jul-11 18:58:18

My experience of Delta was NOT good, I am afraid to say. The transatlantic part was fine in both directions, but when we got to JFK they cancelled our ongoing flight to Austin - for no real reason. We were offered an alternative the next morning, that involved 3 different planes.

Dd was 3.5 at the time. We were offered no assistance, struggled bribed to get our luggage back, had loads of "Well sorry, but it's not MY fault" stuff. We had to stay overnight at a crap hotel at JFK then booked with another airline to get to Austin early the following morning. We had no problems on the way back though.

According to other travellers on our planned flight - they often do this. I could not even claim on my insurance for the extra costs as Delta refused to send me the info I needed. They offered me a discount off a future flight as "compensation". I will NEVER use them again.

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