Flying with Toddlers
In 3 weeks time my darling wife and little lady are going to undertake the 14 hour trip to China (we don’t actually think that is too bad… the flight used to be 18 hours and 2 connections!!). We have talked about the process, looked up all the things we could do for the flight, what clothes we need, whether or not we can take her bottles through security, what to do if she has a melt down - the list goes on. We have charts, action plans and sticky notes, it was getting a bit ridiculous so we decided that instead of all this prep we’d take a trip over the pond to the UK to see my great aunt for her birthday. This would allow us to see what the flight would be like with the two of us so we could gauge her reaction and boredom levels and what we would need to do in the future to keep her entertained. I wouldn’t necessarily call us experts after one flight… in fact pretty much everything that could go wrong DID go wrong! But because this was just a practice run we laughed it all off and kept on going, after all a 60 minute Ryanair flight wasn’t going to kill us. EVEN if Jade cried for an hour… which thankfully she didn’t do. So here are a few tips that worked for us this time, or completely didn’t work for us this time. Have a look and let us know if you have more tips… 14 hours guys, we will actually try ANYTHING!
- Give yourself the 2 hours you never need on a Ryanair flight. Even with your boarding cards printed, it only takes a leaky sip cup, a wet fart or a melt down and you can kiss 30 minutes goodbye.
- Prepare for security, get EVERYTHING you can into the carry on cases! IF you are taking a pram, get one of the ones that folds like an umbrella… this travel system nonsense will ACTUALLY drive you nuts as they have to inspect EVERY nook and cranny! You know have a suspected drug mule in tow!
- Get to the gate early and let them run around, wave at people, look at the airplanes, ANYTHING that wears them out and gets them sitting on your knee is a good thing.
- I used to be a ‘hang back until the line is nearly finished and then in we go’ type of guy!. I wondered why people rush up and queue? Well if you need an arsenal of things to keep your child entertained, you need to have them close at hand and cabin crew telling you they’ll have to stow away your hand luggage will have you in tears! The downside is, you have to sit there longer and confined entertainment is tough.[ See # 6]
- Ears popping? Sucky long lasting items are best… although, think about what you give them. We went for the organic option while the other couple near us went for sugary fizzy cola bottles and trying to keep that child strapped in was like watching something from an exorcism! But everyone to their own!!
- Activities, Activities, Activities… I spent a long time online looking for different things that would keep our princess quiet and I didn’t just want it to be… “Here you go, try Paw Patrol for an hour” because a) I know it wouldn’t work and b) if it’s not the episode that she likes, the crying starts!
- The Cabin Crew are your best buddies… they don’t wanna hear your kid crying so they also have things to keep them quiet – discovering this on your flight is like finding out there is a secret menu at your favourite restaurant!!
- Ask for Help: If you are going to be carrying a toddler down metal stairs and you have to carry lots of other things and you are not comfortable or don’t feel safe doing it, just ask someone to help you out. People like to do good deeds now and then so give them the opportunity.
- Stay calm. Some people are dicks, some people hate kids and some people have “very important” things to do. Your child is more important than all of them to you so don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed if your kids goes a little nuts, thats how they learn… and 99% of people get that and are cool with it.
- (This one only really applies to me… but hey, it’s great fun!) Dress them up… Cute kids dressed in tiny costumes get less complaints than regular cute kids that aren’t wearing something amusing! (That may not actually be a fact but in my experience it works every time!)