Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Flying with a toddler

How can you make flying with a toddler fun? This is how we did it, for a few weeks before the flight we talked a lot about airplanes we even went airplane spotting. We're lucky enough to live near Gatwick and the train line we use goes right under the flight path for Gatwick so whenever we were on the train we would point out airplanes to Nate. We explained to Nate we were going on an airplane to Barbados. He was involved in the process of packing the hand luggage.
Airplane spotting.

Hand luggage
We pack way too much in hand luggage. We packed three magazines, gNappies for nappy changing, wipes, two books, cuddly toy, a playmobil easter egg with toys in(mainly free toys from the front of magazines), two blankets and a change of clothes for Nate. Now on the way back as it was only Nate and I, I dropped it down to a blanket, cuddly toy, fewer nappies (night flight), two magazines and a change of jumper. This is only what we packed for Nate I still had a few bits such as a Kindle, mints etc...

Crying Toddler
He was perfect on take off and landing as there was something to look at out of the windows. However, during the time between both where you still have to have your seat belts on but there's not much interesting to look at out the windows he started to get fidgety. Now's the time to introduce a magazine.

This is something I found out due to flying back alone. I decided as Nate would be on my lap that I would pay for the upgrade to British Airway's World Traveller Plus. It was worth it as the cabin was half empty so Nate ended up with his own seat and also the cot seat was a window seat, which made Nate a lot happier. If you can afford the upgrade in my experience it is worth it. You have quite a bit more space and the food was nicer.
A whole seat to himself

Perfect for sleeping in

Travelling with a baby
The first flight Nate went on he was 9 months old, we packed even more in hand luggage and used half of it. We had full size sun cream, two books, ten nappies (someone suggested one per hour of flight and then a spare just in case), a full size pack of wipes and loads of toys. I would always suggest spare nappies but one per hour of the flight was overkill even with Nate having a reaction to some milk in the food we didn't use half of the nappies we'd packed. I found it impossible to book a meal that was dairy free and so ended up trying to avoid the food I thought had dairy and obviously I didn't avoid it all.

Both of the airlines we have flown with Nate said they provide baby food and have suitable changing areas. Neither provided any baby food and looked and me blankly when I asked if there was any food for Nate, so always pack your own just in case. We found the pouches came in useful, Plum or Ella's Kitchen as they don't take up as much room and aren't as heavy as jars.

Nappy changes, when Nate was 9 months old I couldn't find the toilet where the changing table was situated and there were queues in any case, so we had to change his nappy by our seat. The sky cot came in useful for this. This time when we flew Nate was that much older and it was impossible for both of us to get into the toilet at the same time and the changing surface was half the length of Nathaniel. I got him changed into his PJ's in the toilet but it was a struggle (understatement). Take your own changing mat and be prepared to change your toddler by the seat.

My Tips
Make a checklist of what you need, what would be nice etc...
Think about where you need these things, do you need everything in hand luggage
Pack a day in advance
Use your checklist

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