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Long haul flights as a single parent with 3 year old (argh)

15 replies

anunseemlylovefordustin · 25/02/2020 15:37

I'm pretty well travelled myself, but this will be the first time on a long haul flight with my 3 year old - 11.5 hours to SFO. I'm a single parent so it'll be just me toddler-wrangling. Any helpful tips?

I'm thinking that I'll switch my usual over-the-shoulder cabin bag for a cabin backpack, in case I have to carry her.

And maybe try and book a porter to deal with cases (we did a four hour flight last year and my god, trying to manage the cases on the trolley plus her in the buggy was....interesting!)

Has anyone tried those foot hammock things that go under the seat back? Or the blow up things that turn the seat into a little bed? We're flying premium economy so it shouldn't be too too cramped, but I'm looking for anything and everything that'll make it as stress free as possible. Any advice will be gratefully received!

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Seven8nine · 26/02/2020 06:47

We've used the big blow up foot box thing when we flew to Bali a few years ago, had it shipped from US, but these days you can get similar UK options. worked really well for the dc and should be great for your 3yo.

We've tried the foot thing too which worked ok but if you are going premium economy you may have built in foot thing.

Other advise, lots of snacks, ipad/device with games, movies etc as a change from the planes built in entertainment, eye mask

Hope that helps

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Lifesabeach86 · 26/02/2020 06:55

We used Fly Legs Up when traveling to Australia and it was a godsend! It gives them SO much more room to play and obviously sleep.
I also went to poudland and bought 5 or 6 new toys and would give the kids one every hour or two.
The colouring books where you use a pen filled with water were fantastic.
Big comfy children's headphones to watch films on.
Snacks. Take all the snacks!!

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SimonJT · 26/02/2020 07:06

I went to the rugby world cup (Japan) with my just turned four year old.

It was a night flight so he flew in his pjs and was asleep for most of the flight. He can slept on me for a bit and then slept on the chair with his head on my lap.

On the way back it wasn’t a night flight, we bought a few small toys and a pair of headphones he could use on the plane. He also watched lots of cartoons, we had a few walks around the plane and he had a nap.

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AttilaTheMeerkat · 26/02/2020 08:26

"Has anyone tried those foot hammock things that go under the seat back? Or the blow up things that turn the seat into a little bed?"

Which airline are you flying with?. I would check with them prior to purchasing because it is very likely you will not be able to use either on the aircraft.

Which airport are you flying from?.

You can request the services of a porter for both flying out and coming home but you need to book this in advance. They will only though take the luggage to the check in desk and or from the baggage carousel to your transport.

I would use a buggy to transport her through the airport (you can use this till you arrive to the gate area) and take enough foodstuffs she likes for the journey; do not rely on the airline to provide fully for either of you.

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anunseemlylovefordustin · 28/02/2020 14:14

Flying with virgin, so I'll check what I can use on the flight - good point. I'm going to load up the iPad with tons of films and cartoons, and she has some comfy Bluetooth headphones which I'll have to get her used to beforehand. Good idea about 'releasing' a toy every hour, I'm totally going to do that! I'm going to check her buggy at the gate and look into porterage. Maybe I can get them to come to Meet and Greet (which is what I usually do in the car) and help with cases etc. Has anyone used those 'Keep Em Quiet' packs? I saw them recommended somewhere.

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BritWifeinUSA · 28/02/2020 20:00

Virgin only allow Trunkie and PlanePal inflatables. All other brands are not permitted onboard.

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HariboStarmix · 28/02/2020 20:10

My first experience of an airport with a 2 1/2 year old was horrendous because he was obsessed with the drag-along suitcase but we couldn't let him pull it through the busy airport and get in everybody's way. A year later we got him a Trunki and it was sooo much easier, he rode it and we pulled him along with the little strap. Also because he had more of an attention span to sit and watch a film on his iPad.

We didn't take a buggy either time though as we were just staying in a resort. Is there any way you can borrow/rent one where you're going so you don't need to travel with yours?

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SnowsInWater · 04/03/2020 06:39

DD was three first time we flew UK-Aus and back, just four when we emigrated so did one way again. We let her go for her life watching films and didn’t insist on her sleeping until she felt sleepy and it was SO easy. In premium economy you will have more space so I wouldn’t stress, small kids can generally sleep fine even in economy seats. My tip would be if you order kids’ meals I would check what is in them. We flew Singapore Airlines Who are fab with kids but their kids’ meals were 50% chocolate. I didn’t fancy having to deal with a kid who vomited that so I did a bit of slight of hand at mealtimes to “save some for later”. I have never done Virgin long haul with kids so don’t know what their food is like.

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ivykaty44 · 04/03/2020 06:49

I travelled London Sydney with stopover in Thailand, dd was 3 and dd1 9

I didn’t take buggy, one suitcase for all of us and a backpack for dds

Dd3 slept on all flights going as night flights, was asleep in taxi leaving Thailand and woke coming into land at Sydney

My only issue was my own jet lag and going to the loo with a sleeping child

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anunseemlylovefordustin · 07/03/2020 14:30

Ah, thats a good point. She doesn't have a lot of sweets etc so I don't want her barfing! I intend to fully ignore all the normal rules about screen time etc though, and hope that she conks out at some point. Sadly it's a daytime flight. I hadn't thought about nipping to the loo though....I guess I would just ask a steward to keep an eye, or at least tell them where I was going. What did you do?

I can't believe I'm worrying this much about it, I must have flown on my own literally hundreds of times over the last thirty years. Laaaaame mama Hmm

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MadMadMad · 09/03/2020 13:40

You may well find that there is a passenger nearby that you feel you can trust (perhaps someone travelling with their own children) who you can ask to keep an eye whilst you nip to the toilet. The cabin crew will not be willing to take the responsibility as they could be called to any part of the plane at any time.
I have always travelled with DH so we took it in turns but I have offered for another lady who was travelling alone before but the lady the other side of her had also already offered!

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ShyTown · 09/03/2020 20:23

I usually take mine to the loo with me. We have the babyzen yoyo which can go in the overhead locker and I usually take a large rucksack. I don’t bother with toys anymore as from experience there’s nothing that will hold her attention for long enough to be worth it. I only take noise cancelling headphones, the iPad and snacks in case she doesn’t like the meal. I personally find day flights easier than overnight, less pressure as you’re not worried about them getting enough sleep. I’ve never used a blow up foot thing either, she’s usually comfy enough in the seat without it. I was pretty worried the first time too but know I’ve done several transatlantics on my own and they’ve all be fine!

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GreenMagnolias · 15/03/2020 07:44

I flew UK to New Zealand when DS1 was aged 3.

I recommend these for ears

www.earplanes.com/

They were a god send.

I also can recommend wrapping up new toyrs and puzzles and colouring books in gift wrap and stashing them in your suitacee. Bring them out at strategic intervals when the child is starting to grumble and get restless. Might buy you some time!

Take changes of clothes in your carry on. My DS for some reason had a massive and unexpected poo explosion and got it everywhere. I ended up having to take off my t-shirt and wrap him in it and wear my coat because I onyl had one change of clothes for him!

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GreenMagnolias · 15/03/2020 07:45

(stash them in your carry on suitcase I mean)

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Redtartanshoes · 15/03/2020 20:30

When ds was that age we bought a load of cheap toys and nonsense from Poundland then wrapped them up in wrapping paper. Present every hour for good behaviour 😂

Comfy clothes, spares for both of you just incase.

I saw a ride on scooter/suitcase thing in the airport recently, looked better than a trunki.

Also used to take own food... sandwiches etc as ds often used to turn his nose up at plane food.

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