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expats with kids & long haul flights: would you do it?

(88 Posts)
oregonianabroad Tue 31-Jul-07 21:09:02

I need help here. I really want to go and see my family on the west coast, but the main problem is the flight is 16 hours, and DH doesn't want to go because he finds travel stressful at the best of times (and, frankly, after our last holiday together and the wobbly he threw in the airport, it's probably best just to accept that this is true). I haven't been home in 3 years, and I want to see my 87 year old grandmother, as well as the rest of my nutty family. Herein lies another problem: they really are all nuts, which means probably a lot of moving around and visiting, as well as a lot of stress for me dealing with all their nuttiness.
My kids are 4 months and 2.3, and I have been thinking of going in October. The baby is sooo easy, but my 2 year old is a challenge. He managed OK on a short flight, but i can't imagine trying to entertain and contain him on my own and with the baby too.
I am back at work in January, which means I won't be able to take advantage of good fares out of school holidays anymore (I am a lecturer). I've even thought of paying for someone else to come with me and help but don't know if that would really decrease my stress or add to it! Don't know what to do. Anyone else in this situation? Any advice from lone travellers with 2 small ones?

SueW Tue 31-Jul-07 21:12:04

Just go.

The flight is 16 hours. Every hour you do is one less you have to do. At least it's a finite time and you know it's coming to an end.

And if your family are nuts and you will have to move around a lot then no-one going to complain about the children cos they'll only get a short space of time with them.

expatinscotland Tue 31-Jul-07 21:12:28


I haven't been back to the US in over 5 years.

NotQuiteCockney Tue 31-Jul-07 21:14:06

Would you have help when home? Or is your family uselessly nutty?

I would probably do it, and look on craigslist or similar for someone who you can pay to help on the flight (e.g. someone who wants to go there, and likes kids, and can be a spare pair of hands).

The other thing is, if you are flying BA, for example, they have seat back telly, so your 2-year-old could maybe be hypnotised by that?

SueW Tue 31-Jul-07 21:14:28

Easy for me to say BTW. I did 36 hours UK-NZ with an 11mo and swore I wasn't coming back. I did and it wasn't quite as bad as going over. Then did UK-NZ when she was 3yo and UK-Australia when she was almost 4yo but they were business class trips.

But never done it with two children.

oregonianabroad Tue 31-Jul-07 21:15:29

uselssly nutty. and the tv only lasts 15 minutes.
where r u from, expat?

kamikayzed Tue 31-Jul-07 21:16:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

oregonianabroad Tue 31-Jul-07 21:16:34

are the staff more helpful if you go business class?

kamikayzed Tue 31-Jul-07 21:17:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotQuiteCockney Tue 31-Jul-07 21:17:23

Longhaul flights are one of the few times where staring blankly at a TV, with drool running out of your mouth, is the right thing to do.

kamikayzed Tue 31-Jul-07 21:17:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotQuiteCockney Tue 31-Jul-07 21:18:19

Strangers can be helpful. I flew alone with DS1 once when he was a baby, and the woman next to me was very nice.

I say 'do it', but I've not flown alone with my two, and I did two train journeys with them today and am now completely worn out.

kamikayzed Tue 31-Jul-07 21:18:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotQuiteCockney Tue 31-Jul-07 21:19:18

Oh, yes, any food that works.

oregonianabroad Tue 31-Jul-07 21:20:26

we tried a portable dvd last time and he would watch 15 mins and then demand a change at the top of his voice (WANT BALAMORY!!!!!!! WANT THOMASTANKGINE!!!!!). With ds1 in lap and not much space, i have neither the patience nor the physical ability to comply with these demands for 16 hours!

kamikayzed Tue 31-Jul-07 21:20:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotQuiteCockney Tue 31-Jul-07 21:21:53

How long ago was the last time?

kamikayzed Tue 31-Jul-07 21:22:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

oregonianabroad Tue 31-Jul-07 21:22:55

just returned from short trip abroad last week (tan quickly fading, horrific memories have not).

kamikayzed Tue 31-Jul-07 21:26:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

suedonim Tue 31-Jul-07 21:31:21

The last time I flew to Nigeria the woman behind me had two dc, aged about a year and 2.5yr. The entire trip was a nightmare for her as the younger one wailed and the older one kept running off, hitting baby, kicking out etc. I'm not sure why they didn't put her in bulkhead seats, tbh - it would have been better for dd and me!!

oregonianabroad Tue 31-Jul-07 21:33:38

yikes! That is exactly what I am afraid of.

moondog Tue 31-Jul-07 21:36:14

Your dh sounds very selfish.
If you can afford to go,not sure why it is such an issue.
We fly/have flown loads with little kids.
Get on,grit your teeth and sit it out.

They will fall asleep eventually.
I'm not into gimmicks and presents and dvd palyers but what did/does work for us is to make sure an adult in aisle seat then the child can't break loose.

moondog Tue 31-Jul-07 21:37:21

I've also travelled plenty on my own with a 3 year old and a new baby,flights that entailed changes,buses,long walks through terminals and so on.
Just did it.

oregonianabroad Tue 31-Jul-07 21:40:26

This is a whole other issue with the DH moondog. On the one hand, in daily life, he is very unselfish and new man about stuff. On the other, he gets anxious to the point of neurosis about air travel (stress and phobia, nice combo). sometimes i want to scream, snap out of it! you married an expat and you knew it meant flying to see my family! i endure his family! but then I feel guilty because he does everything else i ask him too (really).

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