Friday, 14 December 2012

Flying long haul with two small children

Here is what I have learned about taking a long haul flight with two young children:

Daytime flights

  • Don't bother browsing the excellent selection of films available to view. You have no chance.
  • Each of the carefully planned activities you have brought along will occupy your child for approximately 30 seconds.
  • You will spend a large portion of the flight retrieving things from the overhead locker.
  • Nappies will be filled constantly.
  • Probably because the only way to keep little ones quiet is to fill them up with snacks.
  • These snacks will be scattered around the cabin because throwing them about keeps them just as entertained as eating them, and as long as they are happy and quiet you won't be stopping them.
  • Avoid eye contact with fellow passengers so that you don't see the disapproving looks when your toddler spends the whole flight clambering about over the seats and armrests and whinging when you try and make her sit still.

Night flights

  • Ensure that you tire your child out during the day so that they go to sleep immediately on the plane. Warning, this one is very difficult to time correctly and can lead to an overtired child that will spend an hour jumping on the seat, then scream for half an hour before finally giving in.
  • The toddler will pretend to fall fast asleep, wait until everyone around is fast asleep, then start screaming.
  • The toddler does look really sweet when she's asleep though, so all is forgiven.
  • Keep your fingers crossed that the flight isn't full, enabling you to secure an extra seat in order to make a proper little bed for the toddler.
  • You'll spend ages trying to get to sleep yourself, then when you do finally doze off an uncanny sixth sense will awaken you just in time to catch the toddler before she rolls off the seat - no chance of getting back to sleep after that!
  • You will encounter turbulence at some point, which will require the contented, comfortable, sleeping toddler to be awoken and wrestled back into a seatbelt.
  • You need to have everything that you might possibly need within arm's reach because you don't want to risk waking up a child to retrieve something.
  • Similarly, make sure that you have been to the toilet before anyone goes to sleep.
  • The bag containing the favourite stuffed animals has equal importance to the one containing the passports.

We had a fantastic holiday, the flight wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been and I will be back soon to share what we got up to. As soon as I've had enough sleep to let me see straight!

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