Author Topic: [MERGED] Flying transatlantic with a toddler (Was The Big Trip ...)  (Read 26159 times)

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Offline hollowayb

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Has anyone done it? How did it go? Any advice?

We've flown several times with our son but always short flights (less than 2hrs). They've been fine, but the longer flight seems daunting. He'll be about 19mo when we fly direct from Newark to Edinburgh.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 08:44:24 AM by Shahbanou »

Offline crabbit.expat

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2006, 06:49:59 PM »
I've been flying overseas w/the kids since they were babies.  As to how your particular trip will go, it depends on the kid, the day, the seatmates, etc., etc.  There are too many variables to have any sort of guarantee of a good trip!

Some of the things I did...

Pack a mixture of old and new when it comes to toys.  The comfort object/lovey (if there is one) is a MUST!  Sometimes kids want something familiar, especially in unfamiliar surroundings.  The new items are great distractions, especially if doled out one by one.

Pack food for the wee one.  Airplane food, when and if they serve it, may not be to anyone's liking.  I packed things like cheerios, crackers, raisins, etc.  Also a no-spill sippy.  Something to suck on during take-off and especially landing, as tiny little ears don't always like pressure changes.

If you can, make sure the little one has his/her own seat.  It's not so bad from Newark direct to Edinburgh, but it's still an awful long time to have a 'lap-rider', both for the kid and the parents.

On most of the flights I took when my kids were babies, the crew was quite happy to help out with things like warming bottles, etc.  On one flight, one of the stewardesses asked to hold dd....I didn't see her again for AGES!  Turned out she got to spend most of the flight in first class.  Once we'd landed and were waiting for our luggage, the first class passengers were greeting her by name!

Don't be afraid to take the little one for a 'stroll' around the cabin.  It's a good excuse to stretch your legs as well.  Helps get some of the wiggles out!

Be sure to bring enough diapers to get you through, then pack a few more.  Plenty of diaper wipes to clean sticky fingers/tray tables/chair arms/etc.  Also be sure to bring a change of clothes for the little one, plus at least a clean shirt for yourself.

Finally, most travellers have been there, done that.  If things don't go quite as smoothly as you'd hoped, the flight will eventually come to an end...

« Last Edit: March 27, 2006, 06:54:20 PM by closet.hippie »
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Offline Shahbanou

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2006, 07:20:02 PM »
This thread has some useful tips.

http://talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php?topic=11554.0

As this subject comes up fairly often I'm going to sticky this.

Offline Noreen

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2006, 09:48:12 PM »
I also find it helpful to have a few grocery store plastic shopping bags in the carry-on for garbage, wet/dirty clothes and other catch all necessities.  Its keeps my area a little more organized. 

I fly with my two boys, usually without Daddy due to his work schedule and my personal need to be back in the USA, quite often (at least twice a year).  The boys are now 3.4 years old and 16 months old.  The younger one will be my challenge this next flight (in June).  I get myself so worked up leading up to the flight and they have so far pleasently surprised me.  Good luck.  The male stewards (at least on BA) seem much more sympathetic and helpful than the females.  I dont know why but that has been my experience.

Offline Marlespo

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2006, 04:06:28 AM »
Noreen, we use zip lock bags instead of carrier bags, only because we've had a few barfy flights, and barf smells are hidden a lot better by zip locks. :D

We flew for the billionth time with Philip a few weeks ago - now nearly a 2 year old - and the only new tips I have are these:

Surprise the kid with a few new toys for the flight. We went to the dollar store beforehand. :D

At EVERY POSSIBLE MOMENT, ask clerks for help. When we got off the plane at Heathrow and asked which line we had to get into (even though we knew!) - the lady said "Oh, you've got a little one, go ahead and use the handicapped line". We were in like Schwinn and out like something that rhymes with out. 
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Offline Sparklyfairy

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2006, 08:56:54 AM »
Out like a trout? ;)
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Offline Marlespo

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2006, 05:31:17 PM »
Brilliant. :D
I'm done moving. Unrepatriated back to the UK, here for good!

Angels are made out of Coffee Beans, Noodles, and Carbon.

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Offline JessicaAnne

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2006, 07:58:50 PM »
I carry everything in one backpack to keep my hands free and I find it helpful to seperate everything in large ziploc bags inside the backpack:  little books, her dolls, animals, crayons and small coloring book, snacks, extra change of clothes, etc.  all in seperate bags.  So if I want to lay my hands on something in particular when the backpack is under the seat, I don't have to do a lot of rummaging around, just pull out the appropriate baggie.  I keep spare diapers and a travel pack of wipes folded up inside a changing mat.  I keep all of my things (lip gloss, comb, breath fresheners, paperback) in an outside pocket. 

I second the suggestion to bring along a favorite toy or lovey, even if you bring a lot of new toys. 

One thing I learned after a flight where my daughter was sick the whole time is to always bring a change of clothes, even if the child is past the age where you bring a spare set! 

I always bring a ton of snacks, but my daughter actually loves the airplane food.  The flight attendents always bring her extra ice cream or crackers as well, so we don't end up eating many of the snacks that I bring.

Offline grace

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2006, 09:20:42 PM »
Bulkhead seats,  lots of snacks in little containers they can hold themselves and use their little fingers with, and try to get a night flight if at all possible.  Also, I would drive a few more hours in the US to get a direct flight.  We do Gatwick-Cincinnati with Delta and I now can't imagine doing a connecting flight.

Offline Marlespo

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2006, 01:02:24 AM »
try to get a night flight if at all possible.

That has actually backfired for us every time! Our problem has always been that when Philip is really sleepy and ready for bed, but on an airplane, he screams. He just doesn't want to settle on the plane. So we make a real effort to fly during the day and just keep him awake if possible. Once he gets older we'll do evening flights, but for now? Eeeeek!  :o
I'm done moving. Unrepatriated back to the UK, here for good!

Angels are made out of Coffee Beans, Noodles, and Carbon.

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Offline esmefi

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2006, 03:34:22 AM »
Hi there,

I have taken the exact same flight from Newark to Edinburgh twice on my own with my daughter when she was 18 months and almost 2.

The 1st time I took the car seat with us and she went to sleep well on the night flight. But it was really hard to fix the car seat in with the seat belt. 2end time I didn't take it and did well with out it.

You'll be fine, try and do the night flight. Take a favorite blanket and teddy. A few books, one of those mini magic doodle things and you'll be OK. Snack, a must in case they don't want to eat the food on the flight. Make sure you ask for a toddler meal and demand it otherwise they won't bother and will expect that your child won't eat.

You must be going Continental, ask them for help when you book the flight. I had a lady waiting to help me when I got off the plane, very helpful!

It was a lot easier than I thought. But please I beg you book your child his or her own seat, you will be very thankful you did!
Esme

Offline WVgirl

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2006, 09:31:32 AM »
oh boy..I have this to look forward to on Sunday...My grandfather is very ill and probably dying, so no choice but to go home for a while...I'd be ok if my hubby was coming, but couldn't take off work on such short notice...so flights are booked for me and the poopster...AND I'M A NERVOUS WRECK!! I've only ever been on a plane for one trip...the one that brought me over here (two planes, though) and Kami was only 9 months old...she's almost 3 now and is a bit of a handful at times...not sure how she's going to cope being on a plane for so long!! I think they should have a small play area for toddlers... :D lol As long as there isn't any turbulance, etc, let the kiddies stretch their little legs!! What a fab idea that would be...I'll be putting her stuff (toys, etc) into her little backpack and i'll put whatever else I can think of that I'll need into my carry-on.
gosh, I'm half sick thinking of going on my own...i know my hubby is as well...he said he was throwing up at work yesterday thinking about it... :-\\\\

Any other quick ideas about this would be appreciated...haven't got much time to get things together... :P
   

Offline Shells

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2006, 09:14:11 AM »
My ped gave the OK to give my two Tylenol and benedryl cocktail. This only works if you have tried it before. Sometimes benedryl can cause excitability in tots! They had been ill a few months before the flight and this combination was suggested to them and it literally knocked them out.  We had a night flight and it worked like a charm.

I can not repeat this enough. Do not take what you can not carry alone, There will be no help. They do not have gate assistance, they will log this for you but it is non existant.  In Heathrow you may not get a terminal and if you land on the tarmac you will be walking down steep steps and then through something reminiscent of an obstacle course to get to the customs area. Do not take the car seat if you can not carry it, the carryons and your child. Same with a stroller unless you can get it up escalators and down stairs plus carry everything do not take it. 

From the luggage area to the greeting area you again are on your own. Hire a Porter (independent of heathrow) ahead of time.  There is no way you can carry all of that alone, it is impossible and the carts provided are not big enough.

Keep a positive attitude! No matter what!




Offline Stella Marie

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2006, 11:53:17 AM »
In addition to all the other advice above: Talk to your kid about the flight before hand, what to expect, how to behave, how sleeping on the flight is a good thing. The first time I flew with my daughter she was 2, almost 3 years old and I started talking to her about the flight as soon as I knew we were going. She soaked it up like a sponge and I believe it made the flight better for both of us, that she had an idea what to expect and how to behave.

I have found that taking an umbrella pram is helpful, for sticking the kid on it to get through the airport pre and post flight, and for carrying the carry on bags. Make sure it is on board and at the gate, though! Last time I flew (on my own with a baby and a child), my pram was the lucky one that went awol at the end of both flights, which kind of screwed up my plans (but I survived, and you will too!).

Offline Yibis

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Re: Flying transatlantic with a toddler
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2006, 05:59:29 PM »
One more note for the mom's travelling... make sure YOU pee when you have help with the little one. The airline attendents will usually help you on the plane by holding your little one but if you have a layover or whatever, and a squirmy kid that is too little to stand in the stall with you, it can be a bit challenging to organize a bathroom trip in the airport. Plus the stalls on the plane (as you all know) are barely big enough for one adult. Just my two cents... hope it helps!