Sunday, 22 November 2009

How to lose friends and alienate an entire Boeing 747

First a word of warning: If you are flying to Vancouver this Christmas and are planning on sitting in economy on the daytime flight on 19 December with BA you might want to change your flights.

(voice of doom)

Because we are going to be on it.

And when I say "we", let's not forget that that includes two just-one-year-olds and a partially potty trained toddler.

By way of background, and before you think I'm insane or ridiculously extravagant to be even thinking of doing such a thing, my brother and his wife now live on Vancouver Island.  We haven't seen them (obviously) since they went in August and I'm missing them.  Plus (and here's where the not ridiculously extravagant bit comes in) if we go now, when S and A are under 2, we don't have to pay for them.  This is a big deal, so with trepidation and gritted teeth, we've booked.

It's going to be amazing.  Be prepared to be jealous, because my lovely parents have booked a chalet in Whistler for the first week and then we've got a few more days with S'n'T (brother and sister-in-law) in their house.

But first we've got to get there.  I think that I've done everything right so far.  I've pre-booked the seats, so that B, L, I and my very long-suffering sister are in a block of four, with S&A on the drop down bassinet/bouncy chair things in front of us (my parents, wisely, are flying business). I've checked whether I can take "proper" milk through security (I can't, so I think I'm going to have to come up with some scheme involving empty water bottles and a rather odd request at Pret). I've got L excited about the flight and being able to watch lots of telly (all normal rules clearly out of the window). My friend KH is going to lend me her flying bag of goodies (she's South African and has done this lots with her 2-year-old).  I've got a shopping list of stickers and new books and colouring pens...

So that's L sorted.  But what about S&A?  They'll be just one.  Very active, very mobile (though not walking) and very likely to get very bored very quickly.

I've already decided I'm going to have to

a) dress them identically in the hope we can play on the cuteidenticaltwins thing and
b) apologise in advance to the entire plane in the hope that that draws their fire.

But what else? How on earth do you entertain two one year olds for ten hours....?


  1. I can't even start to think how you're going to entertain them but I'm sure you'll manage somehow. Good luck and just think of the end result when you get there. (You don't have to see any of those people on the plane ever again so don't worry if the kids play up)

  2. i flew with the girl when she was nine months and had a cunning plan. put her to bed late the night before, got her up very very early day of flight, strapped her to my body with sling and she slept the whole flight...bliss. Only problem was I couldn't get up, eat my food or otherwise move. but aprt from that it was the most peaceful 3 hours id spent in months.

  3. oh an bottles or cups of something to drink for tske off and landing - stops their ears going all funny.

  4. Just do what you need to do. If those snotty people don't like your kids' (more than likely very good) behaviour they can always upgrade to business.

  5. I took the Moo on a 10 hour flight at 10 months. She wasn't quite as active as it sounds like S&A are, but she wanted to be on the move, and we were extravagent and bought her a seat (the flights were the only thing we had to pay for, so we figured it was worth it). She didn't sleep much, even on the overnight flight on the way back, but she was pretty well behaved. We flew Virgin, and the children's shows on the telly kept her occupied for a while (if you're willing to do that), and that was the only way we got her to sleep - bouncing her on our knees and watching yo gabba gabba.

    Lots of soft, quiet toys (we had a fabric shape sorter that she loved - new on the flight), and lots and lots of snacks! And lots of smiles to those around you - they will win points for being cute!

  6. I would put together little things wrapped in paper, so they can open them, they will have more fun opening the parcels. Lots of snacks and drinks. Stacking cups, colour cards etc. I will have a good old think!

  7. SO jealous of your fabulous holiday plans, have always wanted to go to Whistler. I think crayons and pads - do BA give out kids' packs in economy still? As you're in the bulkhead seats at least you've got a little room to move around. And presumably L will watch TV? And maybe (just a thought) the flight won't actually be full? All the BA flights I've taken in the past 18 months have been half empty!

  8. Sounds great - and listen to Heather, make sure you have plenty for all three of them to drink during landing particularly, the pressure change can really give them ear-ache. As for keeping them amused, even 1 year-olds like moving pictures, maybe a laptop with either a small speaker or a split connector and two sets of hook-over ear-phones (used very successfully when we went to Aus with our two last year). And calpol, for when it all gets too much...

  9. We walk up and down the aisles, a lot. We find other children and see if they all want to socalise and play with each others toys. DVDs on laptops pretty successful. I've not done flight as long as yours, but wish you luck!

    PS - you might want to get in touch with Moaning Mum over at because she flew with her two to Canada (and back) earlier this year. She might have some good tips for you. x

  10. Hiya - the best thing anyone ever said to me about plane travel with children was to remember that you were very unlikely to see those other people on the flight ever again...well apart from on the return journey. Times like these, you have to think about you and yours and making sure they are okay, not stressing about what others will think about some human beings who happen to be younger than them. Don't let the horror stories about children on planes alarm you - or think that everyone is bound to be pissed off by young children - they aren't, they will have plenty of other things to worry about - usually moaning about the food or the service! :0

    There's a discussion here about keeping young children happy on planes with advice from mum bloggers, I hope this may be helpful for you:

    Good luck with it and please be kind to yourself - it's your sanity that matters most, the more chilled you can be, the better for everyone - yeah sorry stating the obvious and easier said than done but what I suppose I am trying to say is - care a little less about what others will think - I let that worry me far too much when my daughters were younger and regret this a little these days, if honest.

  11. Hi - just wanted to let you know that I brought up your question on a 'live blog' on Times Alphamummy on Friday and the panelists also gave some tips, you can see what they said (in between other stuff) here:

    All the best.

  12. Thank you all so much for your advice. Have taken it all on board, am on the hunt for a soft shape sorter and will let you know how it goes.

    Linda - thanks for raising the query in the live blog. It's an interesting read, and I will definitely be making some sick bag puppets somewhere over the mid-Atlantic.

    Wish us luck!

  13. Are you above getting them some kind of sleeping tablet? There's a medicine that you can use for travel sickness, name gone out of my head, begins with P... oh... bother... Anyway, you can only get it on prescription for kids, but if you say it's for you, you can buy it over the counter. It's very good. Try it a few days beforehand, though, just in case of allergic reaction.

    It did mean than my 4 year old slept so soundly that she wet the seat, and that my 11 year old was so out for the count that I had to keep checking on him to make sure he was breathing, so it didn't improve my mental health or stress levels, but apart from that...

    I remember finding a website with some good tips (can't remember which one). I'm sure google will help you out.

    I did the 'bag of tiny presents' idea, but you have to have a rule of opening one every half hour, because otherwise it would all be over too quickly. And be warned, you'll never be able to fly without a bag of presents if you do it once. I speak from experience. And of course you might have to unwrap and rewrap the whole lot for security - but I still think it would be worth it.

  14. Phenergan.

    Your kids might be a bit young for it, though. You could ask a GP. Don't want to be guilty of causing some horrendous illness by recommending totally unsuitable medication.

  15. It's ok. L's already prescribed it for car sickness.... so yes, it had crossed my mind (although was a bit afraid to admit it!). Thanks for the tip though (and for making me feel like not an entirely rubbish parent for considering it.)


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