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Long haul travel with two little ones

(10 Posts)
Harpsontour Tue 07-Jul-15 09:44:54

I need some advice. I'm planning to fly to New Zealand from Heathrow with two DDs (one is 4 years old and one is 11 months). I'm flying on my own. Is it better to try and get there as quickly as possible with the shortest stopover. Or it is better to have a slightly longer stopover to refresh, have a shower, kids sleep etc.
I've looked at flights, one with a stopover in Singapore for 1.5 hours and the other with a stopover that is 10 hours.
Any advice would be welcome.
Thanks

TRL Tue 07-Jul-15 13:39:47

Hi there, we've travelled quite a bit with our kids and have found that night flights are a lot easier with little ones as they just don't make enough use of the entertainment systems unlike the older ones so ... if the stopover means you end up with two night flights with daytime to swim or zoo or something in Singapore, I'd do that, whereas if it would mean two day flights in effect, I'd stay on the plane. Basically, I'd want them asleep for as many hours of the flight time as possible, paritcularly if the 11 month old is crawling/cruising!

SavoyCabbage Tue 07-Jul-15 13:50:20

I've done this flight a few times with my two dc on my own. It's not easy but it's ok.

I think stopover/no stopovers is a thing only you a can decide. I prefer cracking on and going straight through.

My tip is don't take too much stuff. Make sure you can manage it all on your own.

On the flight I say yes as much as I can.
TV? Yes
Cuddle? Yes
Biscuit? Yes
Story? Yes
Ipad Yes

juneau Tue 07-Jul-15 14:01:16

I can't speak for the timings/whether to stop, although I think it would be my natural inclination to get off the plane for a bit - even for a day or two - to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs and sleep in a bed for a night en route, just in case the bit on the plane is a bloody nightmare.

I haven't travelled on my own with two DC long haul, but I did it regularly when DS1 was little and I found that the staff and my fellow travellers were lovely - very kind and helpful and always offered to hold things (inc. DS!) if I needed to get something from the overhead locker, take a break, or go to the loo, etc. I hope you have some kindly souls on your flights - it makes such a difference.

Millymollymama Tue 07-Jul-15 14:18:15

I have been in flights where the stewards held babies to help out! Everyone knows going to NZ is tough, and you are unlikely to be surrounded by grumpy business types! (Unless you are in business class of course!)

Air New Zealand goes via LA and this makes a decent stopover. I don't think it is easy to decide what is best but I would look at flight timings and definitely only do one stop. I have not flown to NZ but a friend does it regularly on her own. She cracks on, but finds it hard. My plan would be to stop for longer and actually do something for a couple of days before going back on a plane.

Scotinoz Wed 08-Jul-15 04:59:17

I've done Oz to the UK a couple of times alone with my little one - as a baby and a toddler. Personally, I'd rather push through without layovers and have 24hrs of hell. Watch a lot of telly inflight, lots of food, they do sleep etc. The crew are usually very good, and other families tend to rally around. I just go with the acceptance it's going to be tedious and agree with the 'yes' policy someone else suggested.

diggerdigsdogs Wed 08-Jul-15 05:07:44

absolutely just crack on and do it with as little stop over as possible.

most important is doing one leg as a night flight though so kids sleep as much as possible.

I'm doing it solo from Perth to LHR on Monday with dd4, ds2 and dd 16 wks. shock

I agree with not taking too much but make sure you have a change of clothes for all.

JellyTipisthebest Wed 08-Jul-15 07:36:56

Not flown with little ones but have flown with Singapore and Emirates.
Heathrow is horrible now did it a moth ago. You need to keep a pushchair with you to the gate. There seamed to be no where to sit after check in before you go through security. It maybe that its down the other end I flew with Emirates this time. 2 ish years ago flew with Singapore and there had been a cafe upstairs after check in. This is important if you have family to say goodbye to.

I like Singapore the best the airport that you do the stop in is great lots to see and do. we had 12hrs on the way and that was a little bit two long. We went swimming and did the bus trip. It might not be that easy on your own. I would go for a short ish stop over.

The 14hr flight with Emirates was long I also think the toilets were not as big which would of been tricky if you are trying to help a tired 4 year old.

If I was doing the flight with a little one I would get a buggy that could fold down to cabin bag size. Book assistance you will need it when you get to NZ pushing a pushchair and luggage is not possible. You can hire or borrow a go everywhere buggy here if you need one. Take sandwiches a snacks for the 11mth old.I would also take their cups as then you will know they will drink.
Remember the whole way it only a day and repeat often.

mrsmortis Wed 08-Jul-15 07:48:48

Is the 11 month old travelling as a lapchild? If so make sure that you request a bassinet. I've not done NZ but I've done london to San Francisco several times with a lapchild and it makes all the difference. It'll also guarantee you a bulkhead seat which gives you floor space. My then 3.5 year old spent most of a flight to SF sat on the floor playing/colouring etc.

You won't get food for the 11 month old on most airlines so you need to take food for them. If they are on real food then I found the dry pasta (supernoodle like) cups worked well as the flight attendants would give you the hot water to make them up and you then had no issues at security.

Also have you heard about the CARES harness? It's not for everyone but might suit you. It made all the difference for my DD as she was used to having a 5 point car seat harness. It also held her against the back of the seat so she couldn't annoy the people in front by kicking.

Pamsie Wed 08-Jul-15 07:52:05

Crack on and no stopover I would say. The quicker you get there, the sooner it will be over.
I've just done a 12 hour flight (non-stop though), with a 3 year old and a 9 month old. It was not too bad despite the fact that it was a daytime flight.

I had a buggy right up to the gate and a baby carrier for the rest of the time. The 3 year old was happy to walk and was a great help with keeping the little one occupied and distracted. Just get your toddler involved as you would at home. The baby carrier was a life-saver as there was a long walk from the plane to the baggage reclaim and buggy area.

Bring ipad / tablet and sweets, lots of treats. Pack as light as you can. I opted for a backpack as it was easier to manage that way.
I thought that going to the toilet would be the main challenge, but I managed this by sitting the baby on the changing table, getting the toddler on the toilet and then getting the toddler to keep baby entertained while I did a quick wee.

Just a piece of advice though, make sure that you can handle everything yourself. Don't expect other passengers to help; some do, but most just pretend they can't see you and, in my case, BA crew were too busy to help.

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