Travel Tips

24 months, 20 flights and three continents: Our tips for flying with an infant

We have previously brought you a few tips and tricks for flying with a baby, especially when flying with the likes of Alitalia, Japan Air, and BA. However, now our little lady is too old to be an infant on lap, we thought we would reflect on what worked for us and what didn’t!

Time isn’t everything!

When we decided to take our little girl to Japan and to the USA, we got a few funny looks – not for going to these places but for taking flights that exceed 10 hours. If you consider an airplane is essentially a steel tube in the sky that you’re stuck in with around 300+ other people then it can seem daunting. However, in our experience, you can go on a 1 1/2 hour flight from Leeds to Newquay and have more stress than on a 13 hour flight to Tokyo from London.

Indeed, on a longer flight you can settle in, make an experience of it and almost keep it as a part of a daily routine, albeit with a few cheats like more videos and walking up and down the plane aisles (easier to do on bigger planes on longer journeys!). You can also aim to get a nap or two in as well. In contrast to this, a short hop flight can leave you with an angry little one who has no room to really move around, too little time to properly nap and a fair amount of the journey can be spent with the seatbelt sign switched on, which can be the toughest part of any flight!

Bring a lot of food!

While you can buy food onboard, take snacks galore on a plane. This will help your little one to keep their routines as normal as possible during the flight and can help to keep them occupied when a bit of screen time or just a cuddle doesn’t work. In the case of BA, if you go long haul, make sure you take food as they didn’t have anything for our daughter when we flew with them in economy…

Remember, you aren’t spending your life with the people on the flight!

If you’re a fan of the film (or book) Fight Club, you may remember the phrase ‘single serving friend’. When you are on a plane, the chances are that you are unlikely to ever see the people on the plane again, or not until you are heading home at least, so while you should make sure you are as courteous as possible, you also need to remember not to worry too much if your little one has a toddler tantrum or just a meltdown on the plane.

After all, if you are trying to keep your little one placated, then who can argue. You have paid as much (if not more!) than others to be on your flight, so don’t feel like you don’t have as much of a right as others to be onboard.

All rules are suspended!

Our little girl doesn’t watch shows/cartoons every day, but you have to be a realist on a flight if you want things to be as smooth as possible. With the best will in the world, it is rather dull being on a plane, which means that it is understandable that your little one is going to get bored. With this in mind, we suggest you download an app, like BBC iPlayer for Kids on your phone, get some headphones, and accept that you will need to ‘plug in’ your little one during the flight (and perhaps allow them to eat things that you don’t want them to normally have if you want an easier time of things!).

Clothes, clothes and more clothes!

Just after we checked in for our first long haul flight, our little girl had a nappy fail. Just after security the same thing happened again, and yep you guessed it, it happened just as we got on the plane as well! Thankfully we had a LOT of spare clothes to hand. However, we don’t think we’re alone in having experienced this kind of issue and therefore all we can say if you are going on a flight of any distance is take a lot of nappies and clothes as a precautionary measure!

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