Advice for long haul flight with 8 month old...(26 Posts)
We’re due to fly from the UK to the US at the end of the month with DD. Any advice/tips for in flight and how to handle jet-lag? We have family in Europe so she’s a frequent short haul flyer and is usually pretty good on the plane but I’m stressed already thinking about doing it for 10 hours!!
Regarding the airline bassinets, is there any chance of her fitting(she’s 8 months but 70th percentile and very long)? Any tips to keep her amused?
Also, we’re relocating (so not coming home... eeekk) so would really appreciate any tips to help her adjust to the time difference ASAP! We’re very lucky that she’s a great sleeper and has been sleeping through for a while now so would hate for this to be disrupted by the move.
Hi lemon I'm an expat so have done many long hauls between UK and Asia with my two. Tbh, my advice is always "expect it to be hell and you'll be pleasantly surprised" . Still traumatised about the time DD (13mo) cleared an entire cabin (plane not full- other passengers fled to other cabin after her take-off tantrum). Also, may not be popular but I allow unlimited iPad and TV on planes.
At 8 mo she may not fit bassinet but if you're flying BA they have this sort of bouncy chair thing that older babies fit in.
Jet lag: going west is generally not too bad. My tips are just to get them into the right time zone asap, so even if you're exhausted, get them up at normal time and try to power through. Limit day time naps to usual amount of time.
Thank you, super helpful advice! ‘Expect it to be hell and you’ll be pleasantly surprised’
Johnnycomelately. Oh so true. My daughter's first long haul flight to Asia was hell and I was looking forward to it. She was awake the whole journey except for an hour at the end and asked after three hours whether we had landed. No, only nine more to go. Her internal clock was spot on as we fly three hours to see my wife's family. Now it's a dream as she knows the routine and the IFE and we take connecting flights with Qatar to break the journey.
OP. Are you flying solo or with another adult? That makes a massive difference! I fly Qatar a lot and then almost always take very small children from solo parents for a while to give them a chance to have a break. Even a short 20 mins alone can do wonders for mood as you don't feel all the pressure is on you.
Take snacks. Take lots of snacks. Take snacks fro you as well as the chances of being able to eat when the surly BA cabin crew want you to are zero so come prepared. Spread a blanket on the floor and allow your daughter to sit and play there (turbulence notwithstanding)
DH will be flying with us, thank goodness! I’ve done 3 hours on my own with DD before, luckily my seat mates were happy to hold her whilst I stowed luggage/had something to drink etc. Will definitely pack lots of snacks and expect the worst!
I did a ten hour flight on my own with two under two, it is ok, just take a Mclaren to the airport and try to get them to keep it on the plane itself not in the hold as it makes life much easier because by the end you are literally sick to death of holding a wriggling child. Also I made a real error in that I never took a complete change of clothes for myself on the flight and ended up arriving at our destination covered in vomit after turbulence on the flight. Otherwise it was ok.
Also suggest allowing her to play on floor- if you can get a bulkhead or emergency row, usually there is a fair amount of space. Too big for the bassinets but at that age my LO had lovely long naps on a little bed we made for her- sounds awful letting her sleep on floor but she'd fallen asleep on our lap. We built a little bed with blankets etc and she slept 3 hours with the vibration and white noise from the engine.
Some really great advice here, thank you! Didn’t even think of change of clothes for us and DD is a notorious vomiter so that’s especially helpful as is the advice re blankets and the floor.
You won’t be allowed to have her playing on the floor due to concerns over turbulence.
You won’t be allowed to have her playing on the floor due to concerns over turbulence.
Possibly. If the seat belt sign is on. But in all my flying I have only seen it once kept on for the majority of the trip and that was the day a Malaysian aircraft on the same track hit turbulence and severely injured passengers and crew. Normally it's the on/off routine as we go over India and the Bay of Bengal.
You may get away with her playing on the floor - don't know - but probably not sleeping. When my daughter was almost 4 and was still convalescing from serious illness, and found sitting up for long painful, we ended up getting her settled on the floor but had to move her shortly after. (we would have cancelled the trip UK/Australia but it was for her uncle's wedding)
I agree with expect it to be horrible and go from there. I always view our trips as 24 hours out of my life. Don't worry too much about the jet lag, I doubt you can do all that much at that age so expect it to take a week, (a day per hour time difference is surprisingly accurate if you do nothing) do what you can for routine, and it'll be ok. Travelling with a 3 month old was an interesting experience - I had no jetlag at all, but discovered we had more routine than I thought when after a week it was still "baby wants to play" at 2 in the morning ... that was with 11 hour time difference.
Thanks everyone! I had a hellish back from NY once where we were strapped into our seats due to turbulence for most of it but have thankfully never had a repeat incident, would be even worse with a baby in tow.
Hi Op, I flew alone on a 11hr flight with a 10 month old - going there was a dream, I expected the worst and it went fine. Baby slept fine in the bouncy chair thing all the way. Coming back....ugh. Felt like no support from aircrew - they said baby was too big for bassinet and not allowed on floor even for a minute. So sat on full plane with wriggling, tired baby on my lap. But it also passed. Never flying that airline again, or alone, or without booking baby a seat!
Fair enough. Only going with my experience of long haul flights twice a year for around 10 years. No playing on the floor.
We fly 1-2 times a year. Playing on the floor seems to be ok, but not sleeping. Bassinets differ per airline so its worth checking with them. Also if the flight isn't full we've asked them to block out seats next to us to have a bit more space.
The only trouble with the bulkheads is the arm rests don't lift so it can be a bit uncomfy if they want to sleep on you.
Yes to clothes for you!
Lots of little new toys, wrapped up in wrapping paper, to open when she's grizzly. Don't just stick to her age range, if she's supervised a little hotwheels car can be very entertaining! Ditto for small Schleich farm animals etc. A few duplo bricks that be built and pulled apart again.
I began adjusting to the time difference a week or two before hand - eking out bedtime by an extra 30mins-1hr per day. It helped a lot.
Also, lots of baby iPad apps ready to go. Cbeebies episodes downloaded. New snacks, favourite snacks, a different beaker plus a favourite one. Stickers. Learn ALL the nurse rhymes now and make her enjoy them - they will pass a few mins at a time.
Love love love the idea of wrapping up new toys! Some great ideas here, thank you all.
I think the floor is out anyway as thanks to DH’s company we’re flying BA club world so unless things have changed since I last flew with them (it’s been a while) they have that backwards/forwards configuration that means the floor will be a stranger’s foot space! Still it’s a pleasant surprise to be getting an upgrade.
Have flown BA club to Australia - if you can get the two seats in the back row next to the window there is floor space in the window seat area next to the bulkhead/toilets which is 'your' space and not a stranger's. It's quite a cosy and private spot because of that. I presume it also works in the front row in the aisle seat. The only problem I found was that the light from the toilet shone in my eyes when the door was opened. There are seat plans online for the different aircraft types so you can see what I mean. Or if you have other child(ren) so are a group of 3 or 4 the same would work in the middle seats in the front or back row (I guess that may be the bassinet position so you might be put there anyway).
Great tip, will get DH on to the corp travel agent on Monday to see if those seats are available. It’s a day flight so can definitely deal with the loo light in order to have a bit more floor space and to keep DD a bit further away from other passengers (for their sake not hers ).
When we flew BA (economy) to the US, they had older style seats for about 6 months-2years that went in place of the bassinets for older babies. I haven’t seen this on any other airline, or if its available in club world, but they were great!!
I think the floor is out anyway as thanks to DH’s company we’re flying BA club world so unless things have changed since I last flew with them (it’s been a while) they have that backwards/forwards configuration
That changes everything! Yay! Most BA club class is backwards forwards by the window but in the middle are 2 seats side by side. These are always the last to go as most business travellers are solo and dont want to sit directly next to another passenger, but they are brilliant if you have kids because as soon as the lights are off you can use bags to block the exits to the aisle and you have a little playpen. Also means they can lie flat to sleep and you can lie next to them. We still get these when we fly as a family with DH and I pinning them in in the adjacent seats :-)
We flew to the US when my baby was 6 months. She slept most of the way there (on our laps) and all the way back in a bassinet. The noise of the plane is like white noise for them and the movement just sends them off.
I was so worried about the flight but the travel agent (who has 2 under 2) said it would be fine, and it was!!
Would definitely echo advice about a change of clothes for you as well as the baby. I had to spend most off a 12 hour flight covered in vomit wheb I flew with an 8 month old. My husband was going to work there so on arrival at my destination I was whisked through the VIP lounge and driven to the hotel in a very posh car, stinking of vomit!
Oh my gosh, at least you were in a private car rather than having to take public transport but still... After all these stories I’m wondering if 1 change of clothes is enough
Some excellent seat tips here too, will be sure to get straight on to the corp travel agent on Monday.
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