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Oh b*gger, think I've commited to this now ... please come & tell me dcs will be alive at the end of the flight..

(40 Posts)
funnypeculiar Thu 01-Mar-07 10:28:02

Have promised our best mates in Minneapolis we'll come out & see them this summer with ds & dd ( will be 3 1/2 and 18 mths)Will I be forced to commit mercy-killing half way across the atlantic? Any tips on good flights/flight times?

dejags Thu 01-Mar-07 10:33:59

I am not sure what routing you will need to take to Minneapolis - although I am fairly certain you'll have to change planes at one of the major hubs (Boston/NY/Chicago).

I have flown a number of times to the US with little ones. My top tip would be to avoid any of the American Airlines (American/United) as they are abysmal. Oh and if you can afford it, definitely get your DD a seat- it is well worth the extra cost).

Go for it, you'll enjoy it.

DarrellRivers Thu 01-Mar-07 10:38:11

I have just survived a 8 hour flight then 2 hour stopover in Tashkent, uzbekistan and then 2 hour flight to amritsar , india with same age children.
We flew club for bigger seats but with 18"?M old on my lap.
I couldn't recommend a portable DVD player strongly enough, it was a lifsaver,lots of activities for the 3 yo and lots of snacks.
It is tiring but we did enjoy the holiday.The 3 yo was fine but 18m old was a little tricky to entertain

Muminfife Thu 01-Mar-07 10:45:57

Message withdrawn

funnypeculiar Thu 01-Mar-07 10:46:49

Thanks - 18 mth-er is an easy going soul (at the minute!!), so actually not too worried about her. (Yes, I know, a lot can change in 6 mths!)

What's so bad about US airlines dejags??

Humm, sounds like some kind of upgrade (club/extra seat) might be in order ... not sure if we can afford that <<nervously counting pennies>>
We can get direct flights, and seems to be no more expensive, so were planning to do that.

DarrellRivers Thu 01-Mar-07 10:49:32

I agree about direct flights, a stopover is just unnecessary hassle.Once you are on the flight easier just to keep flying IMO

Muminfife Thu 01-Mar-07 10:55:31

Message withdrawn

Bozza Thu 01-Mar-07 10:57:47

I thought you weren't allowed to have children in bulkhead seats.

Nockney Thu 01-Mar-07 10:59:39

If you don't pay for a seat for the 18-month-old, you are automatically eligible for bulkhead, to give you more room.

funnypeculiar Thu 01-Mar-07 11:00:36

Oh Nockey, I'm liking THAT - free extra space - yum.

SSShakeTheChi Thu 01-Mar-07 11:02:00

Try to get a night flight

Nockney Thu 01-Mar-07 11:04:23

Does BA do a direct flight? They are a lot nicer than the US airlines, and (generally) they have tellies throughout, with different channels, including one kids can watch.

We did American Airlines or one of those to Houston (on to Mexico) last year, and it was dreadful. The flight crew were just hateful! Oh, and they didn't have the lapbelt things to strap your kids to you. I was meant to keep my child on my lap by force, and just hold on tight when there was turbulence.

DrDaddy Thu 01-Mar-07 11:05:52

We are doing something similar later in the summer, flying to Sydney with 3.5 yo and 12mnth old! Non-stop...(small stopover in Hong Kong to stretch legs, regain sanity etc.) We're going with Virgin (not sure they fly direct to Minneapolis). I fly them a lot with work (Upper usually), but their economy class is brilliant and they're super with kids. Agree re. American/United - I avoid them like the plague when flying to US. Especially United. Grumpy, surly staff, in my experience.
We are going to buy a portable DVD player for DS1. We've been recommended one by friends which has rubberised, shock absorbers on the sides (so you can drop it) and has a side loading mechanism for discs, rather than the flap. I'll try to remember the name of the company. Some small company in Wales....
<<sits and ponders. switches to google>>

JanH Thu 01-Mar-07 11:07:57

bozza, I think bulkhead isn't right in front of the doors, it's the first row between classes or behind the galley or something.

ScottishThistle Thu 01-Mar-07 11:08:49

I suggest a flight after 6pm, that way at least the children are likely to sleep for a few hours...Possibly with the helping hand of medised.

DrDaddy Thu 01-Mar-07 11:10:01

The company is called Nextbase here

Nockney Thu 01-Mar-07 11:12:43

Bulkhead does sometimes have the emergency exits. But it's also the only place they can put those carseaty things for infants, so it's the default place for little kids. They do like playing on the floor in front of the seats.

funnypeculiar Thu 01-Mar-07 11:19:26

Thank you kindly DrDaddy ... may need to invest in one of those - against all my 'on more than 1/2 hour of tv a day' principles - ds will be made up
Really surprised at bad service on US providers - had automatically assumed they'd be all smiley and have-a-nice-day types
Nockney & the lap strap- that's appaling

Muminfife Thu 01-Mar-07 11:21:34

Message withdrawn

dejags Thu 01-Mar-07 11:21:58

FP - there was a thread on here about the worst airlines in the US and travelling trans-Atlantic a little while ago.

The overwhelming concensus was that American and United were the worst for travelling with small children. Certainly that was my experience (on an internal flight in the US).

If you can get a direct flight with a decent airline, definitely do that. Changing planes is the pitts with small kids, especially in the US as the airports are often vast and walking from one side to the other can prove challenging with littlies.


funnypeculiar Thu 01-Mar-07 11:23:28

Thanks dejags - will have a hunt for that thread

Muminfife Thu 01-Mar-07 11:24:15

Message withdrawn

USAUKMum Thu 01-Mar-07 12:25:18

We'll also be flying over this summer -- too bad we're stopping at Toronto or ours could've played though we're then taking the train to Detroit (for a bit of variety this time).

Going out you'll have a day flight and coming back will most likely be night.

Take some snacks. Airline with seatback tvs are a must. Last time my DD (then 3.5) watched the entire way out. You may want to consider paying for a seat for your DD. As whenever the seatbelt light is on, she will be strapped to you on your lap. Some will provide little seats which fit into the airline seat which mine have always found confortable. Take them on laps around the plane. Most people are really tolerant. Book child meals if poss. Don't take any toys with small bits as they will get lost.

Once you've chosen your flight check out on seatguru for configuration of the plane. Then book your seats. If the plane is a 3-4-3, we usually book the middle four. But this time we're on a 3-3 seat config so on the way back we're booking the 4 seats as 2 lots of 2 (e.g 32CD & 33CD) so that each adult has one child to deal with on the nighttime flight and hopefully they'll snuggle down and sleep.

You'll probably land late afternoon, try and get the kids to stay up until at least 6pm, then (hopefully) they'll sleep through and be set on that time. For the younger one, I just added in extra snacks and try to stick to 3 main meals if that is what they are used to.

I also find using PurpleParking or some similar extremely useful. They take your car from the terminal to carpark and then pick you up at terminal with you car. Great with the kids & all that luggage.

BTW Minn/St Paul is a great airport. Don't forget to go to the Mall of America

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 01-Mar-07 13:11:09

One of my very fave cities in the US is Minneapolis!.

Mall of America is one place you must visit!!. That along with the city of St Paul and Minnehaha Falls.

Don't use Northwest Airlines (motto not quite the worst).

No UK based carrier flies direct into Minneapolis as far as I know.

Would suggest you look into flying BA or Virgin into Chicage O'Hare and then getting a flight into Minneapolis from there.

Do not use any US based carrier like United or American.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 01-Mar-07 13:19:26

Have looked at BA's website and they fly direct to Chicago. You could then get an American Airlines connecting flight to Minneapolis.

My counsel for what its worth is to allow plenty of time to get through Immigration and Customs at O'Hare. Would think you would need a minimum of two hours gap from the time that plane lands in O'Hare in order to catch the plane to Minneapolis-St Paul.

You will certainly need to collect your luggage at O'Hare and place same on the transfer carrousel (you will need a minimum of 90 minutes before your flight in order to use that). Then you need to check in again at the AA domestic terminal and go through security.

I would certainly agree with the comment made that a same day transfer to an internal flight within the US can be challenging and take up lots of time.

Virgin start flying into Chicago in April.

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