Some of the most sleepless nights I've had in the last 18 months have been spent tossing and turning in my bed contemplating how my first plane ride with my 15 month old daughter, Siena (at the time of travel), would pan out. Not only had my partner, Rob, & I decided to sell up our belongings, move our family across the Tasman, we were to start our epic journey with a short haul flight, all together for the first time.
Short haul (between 0 to 4 hours), verse Long haul (4 or more hours).....I've been told by the many supportive Mum's & Dad's, requires just as much forethought and planning. To give you the superb news first, the flight was a huge success! That's right, no bull....
So how did I plan for it? Well first thing was first. I too navigated the many social media sites available to chat to parents about 'what advice was on offer.' I took what I wanted from those chats & the many blogs or articles, to decifer what might best suit my small family.
So the flight has been & gone and I have condensed my research into 6 full proof steps for the short haul flight with an infant or toddler, that worked exceptionally well for my family situation. They are:
- Plan your flight departure time around nap time.
- If money is no object, book an additional seat for your infant or toddler and take your own infant restraint/car seat to secure your child safely & comfortably.
- Keep your carry on luggage light weight and bare minimum in terms of child requirements
- Carry some new, light weight & small toys that have been wrapped by you individually for your little one to unwrap & play with at different times during the flight
- Travel with a sling or baby carrier
- Book all seats toward the rear of the plane & close to the food galley
- At the time I booked our flights, Siena was a little under 14 months and having 1 daily nap. So I planned our trip around her nap time with some grace either side of 11am. This proved perfect on the day, as Siena had been up for a while getting ready to leave the house, engage in a new playground (airport), eat breakfast and tire easily. As a result of all the excitement I readied a bottle for take off once she was seated. With the bottle empty, she fell asleep before our plane left the ground, looking comfortable in her car seat attached to her very own plane seat. I wish I took a photo of how lovely & peaceful she looked. It was gold. I even managed to watch a movie while she slept...yay!
- If you book & pay for your child to fly in their own seat, you may also be entitled to the same luggage/weight allocation as a full fare paying adult. In addition, for most airlines, a child infant restraint/carseat will not form part of the weight restriction applicable, so too your stroller. Therefore, this was perfect for our journey as we were relocating and needed the extra kilo's for additional items.
- I travelled with a small backpack that accommodated Siena's & my essential needs; such as wallet, phone, nappies, wipes, 2 changes of clothes, an avent bottle, sachet of toddler milk, fruit, snacks, toys, books.
- I didn't travel with a sling or baby carrier for Siena as she was walking everywhere, however I did speak with a Mum on the plane who wore her 9 month old onto the flight and she swore by it.
- Not only are you close to toilet amenities, you are also close to help & the food galley to remove empty trays quickly and heat milk if required. We also booked 3 seats together right at the back and just in front of seats that are for use by cabin crew. This mean't we could change up our seating arrangements when Siena woke from her nap to entertain her easily and/or change her nappy when the toilet's were occupied. The other good tip here, is that if you occupy seats to the far rear, your child is less likely to disturb all passengers.
So there you have it. Rob & I had a blast and received a lot of comments from other passengers lining up for toilet facilities. They mentioned that 'they couldn't hear our daughter and she is soooo cute!' We think so too LOL
Flick me an email should you have any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org