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Handy long haul in flight tips please for dd8 (never flown before ). And for two adults who haven't flown in ages

(34 Posts)
sparkysparkysparky Tue 23-Jun-15 16:09:09

I used to be a seasoned traveller (dh not so much ). Not now. I'm a total novice flying long haul with dd and dh. It'll be her first visit to the US and her first flight ever. DH is a bit nervous but has total faith in me. grin
Tell me about online check in, liquid restrictions in flight, api, charging up electronic devices before going. US customs.
Assume I know nothing.
While you're at it, tell me about anything you take to make the flight more comfy.
I was used to roughing it. I have MS now (not too troubling yet but I can't rough it the way I used to).
Many thanks smile

specialsubject Wed 24-Jun-15 09:38:18

the restrictions are liquids, gels and pastes. Details on all the airport websites where they have been for the last 10 years.

in short:
hand luggage: meds, valuables, documents, essentials (subject to LGP restrictions). NO sharps.
hold luggage: no valuables, no fragile items.

take a large empty water bottle through security. Fill it airside.

long haul economy won't be comfortable. Dress in layers, comfy shoes. Entertainment not a problem, seat back TVs.

Pick an aisle seat so you can get up when you like. Don't recline at take off, landing and mealtimes, recline otherwise (ignoring the MN whinging, you'll kill your back if you don't recline)

sparkysparkysparky Wed 24-Jun-15 10:55:43

Thanks, special subject. I assumed the liquid restrictions are all clearly posted. I haven't flown for 10 years so I simply haven't had to deal with it before.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 24-Jun-15 13:36:33

Which airline are you travelling with?.

API is the Advance Passenger Information; this should be completed asap (the API is found on the airline's website).

Do not rely on the airline to fully provide re food; take some with you.

Layers of clothing are good to wear, it can get very hot or cold on planes sometimes.

Airports generally have clear signs and rules re liquids. Give yourselves enough time to get to the departure gate (particularly if you are using Heathrow).

Expect a long wait at US Immigration. Do not cross the yellow line when you reach the head of this line unless and until you are called forward. You do not need a printed copy of each ESTA to show the officer.

Try and get some sleep of sorts on the overnight flight back to the UK.

CQ Wed 24-Jun-15 13:43:12

Charge up everything to the max before you go, in case of delays at the airport.

Do not rely on the in-flight movies for your sole entertainment. I made this mistake once on a transatlantic flight with 2 DC. The entire in-flight entertainment system was kaput. All I had to amuse them was a pack of UNO cards.

None of us have ever been able to play UNO since.

Luckily there was quite a Dunkirk spirit on board, and people were sharing magazines, kids books and toys.

specialsubject Wed 24-Jun-15 14:38:37

the thing to remember is it is not just liquids! Too many seem to think that and then there is whining when the slap, sunscreen or toothpaste are confiscated.

ChipsOnChips Wed 24-Jun-15 14:43:36

Large scarf/pashmina + socks if you're flying economy.

Eight year olds can IME be occupied for whole flight by an iPad and a large bag of sweets grin

sparkysparkysparky Wed 24-Jun-15 14:48:37

Thanks all. We are braving Thomas Cook Airlines. We were told api from 28 days before flight which is almost now.
I know about being very compliant with US immigration - family member experience from many years ago of being a smart arse and that backfiring.
Thanks for confirming my view on risk of relying on inflight entertainment. DH wasn’t convinced.
Can we bring our own cereal bars etc or do we have to buy them post security checks?
esta all sorted by the way.

sparkysparkysparky Wed 24-Jun-15 14:49:39

Oh, and can we bring small toothpaste on board and little travel pots of moisturiser.?

Laquila Wed 24-Jun-15 14:52:18

Download a film/some programmes from iPlayer or Channel 4 On Demand and take headphones for your DD. You might also want to take earbud headphones for your and your husband, former watching the inflight film.


- earplugs and maybe an eye mask for sleeping

- a ridiculous amount of snacks - dried fruit, crackers, boiled sweets etc

- wet wipes

- Kindle

- the i newspaper (small but has puzzles!)

- if wearing comfy sandals (in case of feet swelling!), take socks too in case it gets cold

Laquila Wed 24-Jun-15 14:53:58

Have a look at the regulations on Thomas Cook's website - you can take any food on with you (but no drinks - buy them airside or take those foldable drinks bottles), and you can take small pots of liquids, gels and pastes, as long as they're under 100ml and in a clear plastic ziploc

yearofthegoat Wed 24-Jun-15 14:59:04

I fly long haul every couple of months. It isn't fun. I pack a change of undies and a clean top in hand luggage in case of suitcase holdups or spillages. I also have wet wipes and tissues to hand. I prefer window seats as you get a few more inches beyond your arm rest and are not asked to move to let people in and out.

scrappydappydoo Wed 24-Jun-15 14:59:34

I still take a complete change of clothes for everyone in hand luggage - so underwear, leggings and T-shirt just in case of delays/spillages/sickness. Habit from when kids were little but actually has been useful occasionally.
Pre-order a kids meal for dd - tends to be chicken nuggets or plain pasta type of thing.
Take small amount of fresh fruit - you won't be able to take it into the US but its a change from the stodgy airplane food.

specialsubject Wed 24-Jun-15 15:01:53

cereal bars are not liquids, gels or pastes. Chocolate has about the same calories and tastes better, although does melt.

toothpaste and moisturiser are pastes and so must be within the restrictions as on the websites. And packed accordingly.

sparkysparkysparky Wed 24-Jun-15 15:36:03

Thanks. Getting to grips now with liquid etc restrictions.
I will tell my dd that I have been recommended a ridiculous amount of sweets. You will be her hero for that grin

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 24-Jun-15 16:13:43

You will likely not see any signs in the US saying "toilet"; these are called "restrooms".

If you have a photocard driving licence do take it with you as it is also handy for photo id purposes.

What part of the US are you flying to?.

sparkysparkysparky Wed 24-Jun-15 17:02:34

NY with trips out to Hershey Park and to DC. I have family in NY. Been loads when single and childless. They've been to us a few times in last 10 years while I was flightless.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 24-Jun-15 20:24:03

Sounds good.

If you happen to like hot dogs and burgers, you need to go to Bens Chili Bowl in DC.

sparkysparkysparky Thu 25-Jun-15 06:30:24

Hot dogs a BIG favourite / favorite in our house grin

FreeButtonBee Thu 25-Jun-15 06:43:30


3nationsfamily Thu 25-Jun-15 06:55:12

You must complete the ESTA visa at least a few days before ravel- it doesn't take long and costs about £10 each is the official site.
Don't use any other website than this one asst there are loads of fake ones out there

ihatethecold Thu 25-Jun-15 06:56:07

Take your own earphones. The ones on the plane are hard and uncomfortable

sparkysparkysparky Thu 25-Jun-15 10:09:24

We did Esta for all of us via correct website a few months ago. Thanks for checking.

sparkysparkysparky Thu 25-Jun-15 10:10:57

All have own headphones. also bought adapter things for plug in for headphones.

Madcats Thu 02-Jul-15 17:41:59

Your DD will probably be perfectly content to amuse herself (she won't feel too cramped either). Can she look online to see which movies the plane will be showing? Clean down your iPad if it is full of old apps and pop on some magazines/books/talking books/favourite music and movies. Pack your own headphones (I recommend noise-cancelling but they are more expensive).

Swap luggage between all your bags. My luggage has had to catch me up a couple of times (which is especially annoying when switching between summer and winter/vice versa). Also pack thin spare clothing (have had drinks knocked over me too).

Set your calendar for online check-in if you want to sit together (that said I often split up from DH so we can take it in turns to get some kip). Also pre-order special meals (kids/special diet) well in advance.

Wear shoes that are easy to take on and off - it seems entirely random which airports want them scanned. Likewise laptops and iPads etc sometimes need to come out of bags, but not always.

Air temp on planes is a bit unpredictable so I tend to pack a pashmina and thick/fluffy socks to pad about in.

Finally, be nice to the US immigration guys. No matter how downright rude they might be, and how long the queues might be, rise above it.

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