Travelling with children on a long haul flight is a challenge, but it’s something I can give you a few pointers on. When Lola was 18 months old, I flew Perth, Australia to London and back on my own with her. Not satisfied with putting myself through that once, I repeated the exercise again just after she was two. I think I was lucky because she had traveled on planes, cars, trains and buses many times before these longer trips – I’m not saying it was easy but there are a few pointers that I think help.
Time Your Trip. If you can, arrange your flight time for the time your child would normally go to bed. Sounds simple but many people probably don’t even think about it. It is much easier to go with the flow and jetlag for a couple of days once you reach your destination than deal with a wide awake grumpy child on a plane where you can’t escape!
Use Technology Dare I say it, if your children are old enough, make sure your iPhone, Android or table is fully charged to help keep them entertained. More importantly, keep the cables with you so that you can recharge! Normally I try to limit digital things with Lola but at times, they can be a blessing.
Get the Right Kit You will be wanting hands and eyes in the back of your head, so make things a little easier for yourself by wearing an under your clothes wallet. It will hold your passports, tickets and credit cards and you will not need to rummage around in a bag looking for it all! In addition if (god forbid) you lost your luggage you will be able to survive with passport and cash wherever you are!
Ask! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Airlines will provide you with assistance if you ask. If you need a pushchair during your stopover ask, I know that Emirates provide this as standard in Dubai which makes them an attractive proposition for single mums like me. It’s also worth checking whether the flight is full. If it is not, they might block off whole row of seats for you. I did this with Singapore airlines and we were able to lie across the seats and get a decent sleep. It also means that you will not be concerned about disturbing anyone next to you. To be honest I think the airlines would prefer this to happen as it makes their job easier in some ways.
Plan Ahead If your child is still in nappies take twice as many as you think you’ll need. You never know if you will be delayed or if an upset tummy may come along through nerves or change of food. Take wipes and a change of clothes too!
I think that’s all I can think of for now but will add to this post when I come up with some other thoughts. In the mean time I hope you enjoy your flights, let me know if you have any other tips for travelling with children on a long haul flight!