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Urgent Request - long haul with an 18 month old

41 replies

slug · 02/06/2003 15:06

I have to fly to NZ in the next couple of days with the sluglet. As it is a bit of a family emergency (sister with terminal cancer, weeks left to live) it's going to be a stressful time at the best. Does anyone have recommednations about the best airline? Whether non stop or a stopover would be best? How to keep a VERY active 18 month old within the bounds of socially acceptable behaviour. Night flight or day?

Possibly more importantly, I have a different surname from the sluglet, she has a British passport and mine is NZ and dh isn't coming with us. Will this be a problem?

Any advice within the next 2 days will be gratefully received.

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slug · 03/06/2003 02:20

Thanks everyone. It looks like Singapore Airlines is the way to go. I've flown malaysian before and have always had trouble with them. On on 14 hour flight we were put in the smoking section. I didn't know they still had smoking flights, and we certainly weren't told that's where we were going to be sat. Here's a tip for you ladies if you ever find yourself in that situation. Claim to be 3 months pregnant. Gets you upgraded to Business Class quicker than you can say "lawsuit".

Thanks Ghosty, my family are numerous, though I'm trying to organise a bed at a friends, less stress. I know only too well NZ's paranoia when it comes to bugs and beasties from afar. It's those areosols in the cabin at the end of the flight that always get me.

Maybe I'm just worrying too much about the sluglet. Usually she's a charm monster, it's just that occasionally, when very tired, she turns into an orc.

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Ghosty · 03/06/2003 08:11

You know slug ... I thought my journeys with DS would be hellish as he is a bit of a handful ... but to be honest he has always been fantastic. In fact he is usually better if I travel on my own with him than when we have DH with us ...
When DH is with us he plays us off and DH and I bicker about whose turn it is to look after DS!!! "You take him for a walk ..." "No, YOU do it, I did it last time ..." "No you didn't, I did" ... "Well I am ALWAYS doing it" As you can see, Mr and Mrs Ghosty are really mature!!!
Glad you have picked Singapore ... they are very good ...
BTW ... Malaysia don't have smoking flights any more ... at least when we flew with them a year ago there it was non smoking!!
Good luck and hope you have a good journey ....

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janinlondon · 03/06/2003 09:07

Can confirm what Ghosty said - Malaysian don't have smoking flights (internationally) any more. And if you're pushy like me you can wheel your buggy all the way to your seat and then stand holding it up for someone to come and stow on board for you. For seat pitch Malaysian has 34 inches and Singapore has 32. I also booked with Travelmood in London and they were great. Most of the airlines now won't take a car seat on board and will insist that it goes in the hold (car seats are too wide for the seats on the aircraft) but BA does a special seat for kids too old for the skycot - like a car seat but attached to the bulkhead. Might help? Don't know if you can book these ahead. If you're at all worried about SARS (as Eidsvold said the risk is infinitely small) then Malaysia has had the fewest cases of Asian countries so transitting KL would not be a problem. I might avoid the Gulf states (eg: Emirates) just now, but am probably being paranoid about that. Sorry - I think you're probably drowning in information now!

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WideWebWitch · 03/06/2003 09:46

Slug, I just wanted to say how sorry I am about your sister. I hope the journey is bearable, sorry you're not going in happier circumstances.

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sjs · 03/06/2003 17:05

So sorry about your sister.
Just wanted to add my 5 cents - if you have booked seat for your baby, you would be able to take some car seats on board. Singapore ask to see a sticker on the seat saying "aircraft approved" and they don't all have that. But if they do, there is no problem. We've flown on BA, Singapore Airlines and Cathay with car seat. Hope the flight goes well. The Singapore Airlines flight crew are lovely. They will probably be charmed by your baby and help you out.

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sjs · 03/06/2003 17:09

Sorry, meant to add that transiting Singapore is v. low risk on the SARs front, in case you were concerned. I live here and we've not had any cases in more than 20 days (therefore classed by WHO as SARS free, or in their language contained I think) And in 20 days before that there was only 1 case. So, it's no worse than any other country.

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caydeb · 03/06/2003 19:10

re: the SARS from the last information we recived about SARS no children under 14have contracted SARS, and they're not sure why.

ps love the tip about being 3 months pregnant does that work for any airline?

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bloss · 04/06/2003 01:42

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bloss · 04/06/2003 01:44

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Britabroad · 04/06/2003 02:33

Agree with everyone about Singapore Airlines.

Request to be a priority passenger where they will bring pushchair to you, take you in buggy to private lounge, let you and child have meal at different times, take child for you when you go to the loo etc . Book this when booking ticket and ask again at checkin.
Request night flight too.
Ask Doctor for Phenergan prescription and try it out first.Made my Dd hyper but great for friends.
NZ flights always full of kids so plenty of sympathetic people.
Avoid Air NZ and LA like the plague. LA airport has to be the most unchildfriendly airport in the world.
Have done this flight LOADS of times on my own with 2 under 4. Take a bag of toys and dont worry if you end up toddling laps of the plane you'll probably be joined by a few others.
Also found taking Jarmies and putting them on Dd and Ds makes them feel like it is also bed time.
Same as Ghosty really,and you'd like to escape it all for a while we could meet up for a coffee.

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SueW · 04/06/2003 07:24

Britabroad - it's a while (almost 10 years - yikes!) since I went through LAX but I would say it was the most unfriendly airport in the world to anyone - let alone children!

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slug · 04/06/2003 11:52

Right, we're going Singapore Airlines, through Singapore. It's only a 3 hour stopover so I'll try and find the fabled swimming pool as large bodies of water make the sluglet go hysterical with glee. Hopefully it'll exhaust her for the second leg. Thank you everyone for you kind words and suggestions. I'm off now to look up the airport on the web.

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quackers · 04/06/2003 16:27

Hi slug - so sorry about the circumstanses, we're all with you! I was Cabin Crew for eight years with Japan Airlines and BA. I think you are wise to fly Singapore airlines. Can't beat them really as the stop over is the best for you and kiddies. When booking ask for a bulkhead seat, if they won't let you then ask at check in and then again explain to the Cabin Crew (ask the Purser - more likely to do it) and generally they will move other passengers to accomodate a family at a bulk head - not exit seats though. This is more likley with an asian airline as they take great care of families. All the advice given here re nappies milk etc... is really good - I have to say in eight years I never came accross troublesome children like you probably imagine. The worst poeple are the business men - they act more like babies than the babies!!! Babies are generally relaxed by the whir of the engines and Medised/Phenergen will help as will a short stop and stretch. I have never upgraded someone for being pg though! Could give it try though! Families are generally the last to get upgraded unfortunatly and they're the ones that need the space!!! Take tons of snacks and fruit - discard before arrival. I would also take a few nappy sacks for your rubbish - it's amazing how it accumulates and it will score extra brownie points with the crew! All the best for you and your family on your trip
xxxx

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SofiaAmes · 04/06/2003 23:09

ooh that reminds me. I've found ziplock bags very useful when travelling. I put pooey nappies in them so they don't stink up the whole plane. And when my ds pukes I put his pukey clothes in one to keep them from stinking out the plane.

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meanmum · 04/06/2003 23:11

Oh yeah, good point Sofia I forgot about the ziplock bags. I put all ds's food in those and then use them for other things like you do as the food diminishes etc.

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cori · 05/06/2003 10:54

Try and get a night time flight. if the flight leaves between 8.00 and 10.00pm , you will probably find that sluget sleeps for most of the first half of the journey. We went to OZ when DS was 11 months, and this worked well for us.
Also if your on a nice airline with personal televisons there is usually cartoons to keep them entertained. Good luck.

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