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Flying alone with 17 mo on lap, advice please

(25 Posts)
OldieButGoldie Wed 03-Jun-09 22:45:52

Planning a trip to France (2hr 20min flight) with DS when he will be 17 months and he will not be allocated a seat. I will be on my own so no opportunity to swap with anybody. I am dreading it as he is big and squirmy and, numb legs aside, I can't imagine him sitting still for so long and he can scream very loudly for long periods when fed up!!

Anyone got any experience? I know people travel with kids all the time and it can't be so bad. Can it?

thisisyesterday Wed 03-Jun-09 22:48:17

yes, it is bad. my top tip would be to pay for a seat for him if you can afford it!
we travelled to spain with a 4yr old and a 16m old and it wasn't the most pleasant experience of my life I have to admit, and I had dp with me to help out!

OldieButGoldie Wed 03-Jun-09 22:50:16

Its Ryanair - they don't allow you to buy a seat for an infant even if you are prepared to!!

OrangeFish Thu 04-Jun-09 00:04:44

My advice would be to go with the flow. It is less than 3 hrs, not really that bad.

I have travelled a lot on my own with DS, I have paid extra to avoid RyanAir but if you are stuck with them, and they allow you to choose your seat for a fee, get a seat that has one space between the window and you. Or arrive early enough to get a seat like that. And don't forget to apologise in advance for the noise/upset your child will cause. I have noticed that if at that age you say the child had been awake all night and sick, if there are empty seats your "neighbour" passenger would move to them leaving you with some extra space grin.

If your child wants to walk, walk him around the aisle, if he wants to visit the toilet (just for the fun of it) do, but whatever you do, avoid sugary drinks, ribenna, and sweets. I have noticed that reducing sugar intake before the trip and during it helps to keep them in a reasonably good mood.
I also used to dress DS in some of his best clothes, when they look cute help materialises in unsuspected ways.

And if everything fails and your child starts a big noisy show, just remember that plenty of passengers would have been in tour situation, and those who don't will be at some point, so smile smile and smile.

OrangeFish Thu 04-Jun-09 00:06:20

Ah... and don't forget to put in your hand luggage a change of clothes for him and another one for you (it may seem OTT but... yes they have the annoying habit to drop their drinks or puck on you from head to toe when you forget your own change of clothes...)

OldieButGoldie Thu 04-Jun-09 09:52:37

Thank you OrangeFish, great advice, not quite clear about the choice of seating tning - is this to try and deter other travellers from taking the empty window seat, thereby leaving it free if the flight is not full?

As for going Ryanair, if anyone knows a better way to get from Glasgow to Toulouse/ Bergerac/Limoges area of France at a competitive rate I would be very interested to hear it!

OrangeFish Thu 04-Jun-09 13:52:58

Yes, that is the idea, trying to keep the window seat for the child (not for the view but to avoid him escaping into the aisle! )

giantkatestacks Thu 04-Jun-09 14:03:52

When we go on the train I find it helps to break the time down into 20/30 minute sections and plan what you're going to do - sounds anal I know.

So when you get on he will have to sit on your lap facing outwards - dont get on until you absolutely have to - difficult on ryanair I know because of the whole non allocated seat thing but the longer you have to sit down the worse it is obviously.

We still bf during takeoff to keep our toddler happy - so some milk maybe or a drink - its good for their ears anyway isnt it.

Then we have a bag full of new and interesting stuff that comes out for a section of time for them to root around in, then a picnic, then some playdough or something that can be done on the tray and when it all fails we get out the portable dvd player...

OrangeFish Thu 04-Jun-09 14:10:53

Oh yes, give him a drink or something to eat during take off, it helps to prevent the earache young children experience during it, If you take toys, don't take things that can run down the length of the plane never to be seen again (like little cars, bouncing balls, etc)

Bucharest Thu 04-Jun-09 14:11:58

Hopefully you'll find, as I did with Lyingair when dd was small, that sane people will do anything not to sit next to someone with a toddler grin so you usually end up with that extra seat anyway, that as soon as take off is concluded, you can spread onto. So unless the flight is really full, you might just be OK...also board from the back and take the furthest seats back that you can. For some reason, most airline travellers seem to all scuttle towards the front and the back is less full anyway. Sit next to the aisle and then only a complete loon (if flight isn't full) will try and clamber over you and the small one!

OldieButGoldie Thu 04-Jun-09 14:28:51

Right, this is good! I think I've got it sussed now, only thing is I'll be so busy referring to my long list of 'how to board' and 'what to do next' that I probably wont notice what DS is up to grin

Giant - he is still bf and I was wondering about the feasibility of feeding on take off/landing. How would you do that with them sat on your lap facing outwards with seatbelt on? Just a bit of neck twisting and boob stretching? hmm

GemBean Thu 04-Jun-09 14:46:16

Oldie, I shall be thinking of you, we are flying to Nice on saturday with our 18 month old who sounds just like your ds, her screaming makes my ears bleed and I am dreading it. She just will not sit still for a minute. Have got some sticker books (that she can just shred) and some playdough ready and lots of cheese. All these tips are really good so thanks everyone.

giantkatestacks Thu 04-Jun-09 14:46:44

Well my dd will now sit on my lap facing me to feed - shes sort of slumped down but it sort of works - I was planning on doing that in July when we fly next. Does anyone know if they are allowed to sit facing you or not in the seatbelt?

I suppose you could aways keep them forward facing until the staff sit down and then swap them around...

Bucharest Thu 04-Jun-09 14:48:33

The seatbelty thing they give you (an orange jobby) is quite easy to manoeuvre the toddler inside of, IYSWIM? I think dd would always sort of be sideways on to me if I remember correctly, so bf would be manageable.....(would probably finish off any of the aforementioned loons and have them scarpering up the aisle sharpish as well! One time I'm quite happy for the tut-tut attitude of buttoned up Brits is on a plane.....grin

OldieButGoldie Thu 04-Jun-09 14:53:28

Thanks everyone, this whole thread had turned around my feelings about the journey, I'm quite looking forward to it now!

Yes, as everyone is boarding I think I'll be saying in a loud voice 'not long now darling, when we get going you can have a nice breastfeed'. Should do the trick grin

Bucharest Thu 04-Jun-09 15:19:31

Another handy tip! Avoid the uptight Brits and if you have to sit next to anyone, choose child-friendly Meditteranean types! They will probably take ds off you for the duration!

(am veteran of the Italy-Stansted run...I know these things!!) x

OrangeFish Thu 04-Jun-09 16:40:52

Ditto about the mediterranean types, they will be happy to hold baby (and wind him up!) while you go to the toilet, eat or take things out of the luggage compartment. Americans are also good on this but unlikely to be found in your flight.

Have to say that my faith in the human race was re established after a 24 hour trip on my own with DS then 11 months. Couldn't believe how nice people were, from carrying my stuff to board the plane, to packing my bag and holding baby when I was half asleep and needed to get out of the plane quick to catch my third flight.

Bucharest Thu 04-Jun-09 17:00:04

I also tend to stand close to a British family- at the putting-down-pushchair-whilst-grappling-small-child-and-bag stage....The British Man will invariably come over all chivalrous and help you with the pushchair....

Joeymac Sun 28-Jun-09 08:31:13

I did New Zealand with DS1 on my lap when he was 17 months and I have to admitt it wasn't much fun - its a bad age cos they have a very limited attention span. I got lots of little portable toys before the trip and wrapped them up like little presents and kept periodically bringing them out. Also raisins, breadsticks, oatcakes etc vital just to break up the trip.

Julesnobrain Wed 01-Jul-09 22:51:26

1) Make sure you get an aisle seat, 2) don't feed him much before you go so he's hungry and then pay for some snack rubbish in a tray from the airline (plus some nice bits from you ) that way he gets a picnic !!.. that will take up some time, 3) then go to the toilet. 4) Then have a hand puppet you can play with 5) A touch/feel pop up book. For 17 months that is about as much as you will get away with and that will cover a flight up to 3 hours (... you can tell I'm practised) after that I try the 1 toy per hour scenario.. I did do fights to Oz with 17 month old and it was hideous

BelleWatling Fri 03-Jul-09 12:18:50

Hi - sorry to hijack this thread. I'm doing my first (3 hour) flight with my 8m DS tomorrow and I am a nervous flyer at the best of times and I am now in mild panic.

My question is do they give you an additional seatbelt for the baby. He is really active, strong and squirmy and I have this vision of him lunging over the seat as we take off and me not being able to rescue him...sad yet grin. Also is there enough room in an economy seat to BF? I keep having visions of his legs being constantly slammed by the trolley.

As you can tell I am not a good flyer.

I am flying with BA btw.

giantkatestacks Fri 03-Jul-09 12:22:38

Belle - yes they give you a seatbelt that attaches to your belt.

and yes theres enough room to bf - I tend to sit my dd up on my lap and bf her that way - lying down you'd be kicking someone else.

When we flew with BA to Italy last year they were very helpful.

if you are flying with someone else get them to order a veggie meal when you check in online in advance (you can do it in advance if you're flying with infants). The veggie meal will arrive before the other meals so you wont both be juggling trays at the same time...

BelleWatling Fri 03-Jul-09 12:46:24

Thanks giantkatestacks that has reassured me - we're also going to Italy. Good plan re: the meal - I was wondering how we were going to manage that.

Also apologies for using the word 'hijack' in a plane thread...grin

giantkatestacks Fri 03-Jul-09 12:50:16

You'll have to order today though if you're flying tomorrow - I think it needs 24 hour notice...

have a great time smile

CMOTdibbler Fri 03-Jul-09 21:06:36

No meals on BA flights of that length - you just get a sandwich thrown at you. No tray to juggle.

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