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12 hour flight with 5 year old and 3 year old...

(14 Posts)
RachelElise Tue 19-Jan-16 12:27:36


We are travelling with a 5 year old boy and nearly 3 year old girl to South Africa – a 12 hour flight…. Does anyone have any hints and tips on the best seats to book and indeed if we should all sit together… I noticed a family travelling last time who split up the kids on other sides of the plane and I wondered if this was on purpose to stop fights…. My two do squabble a lot. Also, as they are no longer infants, we have to pay quite a bit to book plum seats so I want to get it right!! We are travelling BA.

All advice appreciated!

OP’s posts: |
dementedpixie Tue 19-Jan-16 12:43:36

Are there 4 of you travelling? The last couple of times we have booked 2 seats in one row and then 2 seats in the row behind. We have also booked them on the aisle side rather than the window side so there is easy access for the toilet, for stretching legs, etc (also dh feels claustrophobic if he is stuck in the window seat).

MrsSparkles Tue 19-Jan-16 12:48:35

Don't book the bulkhead! You can't lift the armrests so makes it very annoying as they can't lie down. I think the seat formation may be 3-4-3 on Ba (depending the plane).

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 19-Jan-16 13:57:15

Would second the recommendation not to have the bulkhead seats. Middle and aisle seats seem to work well for children. You may well have to pay for each pre-assigned seat - and each sector.

Do not rely on them to fully provide re the children's meals; take their favourite foodstuffs with you for them to eat. Leave anything uneaten like fruit behind on the aircraft.

From BAs website:-

"If you are travelling with children (between two and 11 years), we'll allocate your seats three days before departure. If you can't be seated together, we'll make sure each child is seated with an adult from your group"

Some general info re travelling to SA with children:-

The new immigration rules introduced by South Africa in June 2015 relating to travelling with children remain in force. Parents travelling with children (under 18) will be asked to show the child’s full unabridged birth certificate. The full unabridged birth certificate should list the child’s details and both parents’ details. The abridged (short) birth certificate which only lists the child’s particulars won’t be accepted. The South African Department of Home Affairs are not accepting uncertified copies of birth certificates or copies of the parents/guardians identification.

RachelElise Tue 19-Jan-16 13:57:19

Hi dementedpixie, yes there are four of us. If we were to pair off it would be me and my daughter (who is a proper mummy's girl and very vocal about it) and my husband with son, who, at 5, should be able to be civilised about the whole process... so I think I am getting the bum deal quite frankly. Does that split help do you think? or do you spend all night traipsing over to the other 'camp'?

Very good advice about bulkheads MrsSparkles... I'd forgotten that... thank you!

Maybe we should get 4 in the middle so lots of stretching, quite close to the loos but not the galley as they are soooo noisy.

OP’s posts: |
MrsSparkles Tue 19-Jan-16 17:03:32

I think if its 3 on the side I'd be inclined to go for 4 across the middle - otherwise they'll nearly always be someone you don't know climbing over you (or vice versa). We'll be flying with 4 for the first time later this year and plan to book into 2 separate rows (but with an infant so slightly different).

SA is a good flight though - overnight so they usually sleep and no jet lag.

PirateSmile Tue 19-Jan-16 17:08:42

I saw a family turned away from boarding a plane to SA because they didn't have their birth certificates!
There are plenty of kids films and games on BA flights which should keep them occupied and the chances are they'll sleep for much of it anyway. It really isn't as daunting as it sounds. BA cabin crew are fantastic too so you'll get plenty of help from them if you need it.

justonemorethread Tue 19-Jan-16 17:13:59

Personally I would go for 4 in the middle, then if bigger child falls asleep and needs to stretch across two seat it is not too difficult for one adult to find a single empty seat ( unless you are flying peak season and it's fully booked! )
Don't be tempted by premium economy most of them you can't lift the armrests between seats ( as if, I hear you say!)
Food on saa is atrocious, so bring your own children's food, and I've had flights where I've been freezing so socks so beware! Ba I think is nicer.
Children's headphones if you don't have are a very worthwhile investment. If you only have one device you can get an adapter to plug two headphones in one device. ( probably just my family that is so lacking in technology!!)

justonemorethread Tue 19-Jan-16 17:15:48

Yes they are being extremely strict about birth certificates I've also heard.

MrsSparkles Tue 19-Jan-16 17:29:23

Yup - you must have the unabridged certificate or you won't be allowed to fly. However they are relaxing the rules on (I think) 1st April but they remain in full force until then, which seems a little strange to me!

Do you not like the food on SAA just - I think its one of the better I've had. Might need to switch to BA now though as they're the only people flying direct to Cape Town.

justonemorethread Tue 19-Jan-16 17:41:08

The children's option was soggy chips with melted cheese - not even close to warm!
And this happened twice. Maybe I was just twice unlucky. I don't usually eat so can't comment on adults, nut dh did not look impressed.

I've heard there are some good deals at the moment? I don't live in sa but nearby, so it is just one of my choice of routed.
I mostly use Kenyan/ Ethiopian, as I prefer breaking up the journey rather than 12 hrs on one plane, but that's just me!

justonemorethread Tue 19-Jan-16 17:42:35

Please ignore my odd typos, old phone and keyboardkeeps jumping around. I've given up correcting !

RachelElise Wed 20-Jan-16 19:31:50

Gosh everyone - thanks so much for all the advice. We are travelling peak season on BA so it will be rammed but headphones, not bulk head, UNABRIDGED BIRTH CERTS, lots of food, thick socks... all banked.

We did the trip with a 10 month old and a just 3 year old once and it was the worst experience of my life - it actually nearly ruined the whole holiday for me and I think it could have been so much better if we hadn't made some rookie mistakes.

OP’s posts: |
Inneedofadvice553 Fri 05-Feb-16 21:22:48

I did 18 hours last week with a 6 year old ....i was very pleasantly suprised.

On the down side;
No tv on the first flight for 3 hours
My ds ipad wouldnt turn on so he has no media at al
On the long flight (12 hours) there was only a few tvs, not one each like we are used too.
His cd player broke mid flight depsite being brand new

He managed with activity books, sleep on the long flight, lots of snacks, a trunky he loved pullling along.

I gasped in shock when I realised myself and DP had taken him to the other side of the world with no media at all....(he watched one show for 1.5 hours of the long flight)

We paid extra to have over night flights, so first flight at 8pm which we kept him awake for playing games
then we changed him into his pjs on the second flight (1am) and effectively put him to bed on the second flight. he slept around 2am right through for 8 hours and then woke up to breakfast and kids movie,

we took real pillows and a blanket from home.

Good luck...we need it in a few weeks when we return and have a 14.10 pm flight for 12 hours !

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