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Long overseas flight with three kids: many questions! - Page 2

post #21 of 35
I have done this twice with DS... Once at 8 months and once at 25 months. 8 months was a piece of cake, he just nursed and slept. A toddler is different! He did sleep during the flight, but woke up being so uncomfy and screamed for a good time as he was somewhere between awake and asleep, a bit creepy. I carried him in the back of the plane for a good 3 hours, that way he was calm and semi-sleeping. On the way back he did fine, which was a day flight - so not all kids do great during night flights! But with Europe flights you never have a choice, they are all red-eyes, at least all I could ever find and book.

We took the car seat on domestic flights and DS HATES it on the plane. Non-stop screaming unless we take him out, so CARES (harness type for planes) it is for us. Also, convertibles are huge - there will be no space between the car seat and the seat in front of it, and DS kept kicking the person in front of us, which will lead to problems (we took him out of the car seat!). My niece did the same thing and actually got yelled at by the passenger ahead of her (she was 2 then).

He now is not interested in watching TV much, he just started recently, so DVD players are not an option (I do believe though that next year it will be heaven to have a DVD player with us - 3 year olds are a different story!). So I entertain him non-stop. Games, peekaboo, new toys (he couldn't care less, they all end up on the floor within 2 minutes or less), looking through books and the SkyMall magazines, going to the bathroom (he loves washing his hands), bringing "junk food" (waffles, chips, chocolate - all the stuff that is usually reserved for special days and consumed very little) and vitamin water - stuff he likes. It is super stressful to keep him from freaking out (he hates being restrained in a seat on a plane).

At the airport, since I travel without DH mostly, I check my stuff. I pay for it, otherwise logistics are impossible. I bring a travel stroller, a backpack and a small lunch bag (insulated, for yogurt and milk which he loves). That way I can maneuver and won't get tired out too much. Be prepared for security - some airports are stricter than others. in Denver I always get pulled aside (4 out of 4 times), have to open his water and milk bottle, it gets tested for fumes or vapors, then you get it back. You also have to collapse the stroller and put it on the belt for the xray, which is a pain since nobody helps (I just did it last week, visibly pregnant, and they couldn't care less, really, do not expect help, and if you ask people, they usually don't help either, in my experience). It's such a pain - they also always insist that DS takes off his shoes, which leads to a minor tantrum (he neither wants to let go of shoes nor strollers, ha). Security is one of the worst parts for me of traveling (btw, only Denver and Chicago put up such procedures for me, Detroit, San Francisco and Frankfurt were totally different!).

Oh and yes, United Airlines wouldn't let me keep DS in the MaiTei during takeoff or landing nor have him at least somewhat buckled in my seatbelt (he was a lap baby). I just waited til we were on the runway, stuck him back under my seatbelt (better a little than none, and better broken leg bones then a baby flying around in a plane) and nursed him, put the blanket over us so nobody knew.

And for the strapped in - American Airlines was ok with not buckling him in til we reached the runway. Frontier Arilines wouldn't leave the gate without him being buckled. They also waited a full 9 minutes until he stopped screaming before they left the gate. I think they wanted to kick us off if he didn't stop. And I have gotten grief from some flight attendants, a Delta one told us to better drug our kid cause something is wrong with him for screaming like this... Others are nicer and offer cookies or make silly faces. I never had trouble with male flight attendants, interestingly. Passengers are a whole different story. They glare, roll their eyes and make stupid comments - mostly business travelers, single people, younger people. Older people or other parents have always been sympathetic and helpful with us (and mind you, DS's worst crying fit last 15 minutes maybe). Just last week when we sat down the lady right next to us rolled her eyes (right in my face) when she learned we were sitting next to her. Also on Monday on our way back DS touched once the LCD screen to point out our car in a commercial that was running (he seriously touched the friggin screen for the first time) - the woman in the seat in front of him then hit him with her rolled up People magazine. I didn't know what to do, but she didn't get him, only his fingertips, and I was too scared to say something, as I thought I will prolly get kicked off the plane, not her. On a recent flight from Europe to the US a couple in front of me complained non-stop about that "stupid cry-baby" on the plane, a circa 8 months old boy. Oh and how they hated those evil 5/6 year olds who dared to run to the bathroom. Oh my. I always wish I could tell these people to zip it and put up with it or fly private jets...
post #22 of 35
Dillion- My daughter was around 30 lbs when I did it and it worked out well for us at least. I have a heavy carseat as well (Radain). FIL had some industrial type bungie cords though from his work that he gave me for the trip home, those things were thick and strong. I really need to call and have him send me some more, I gave those to someone who was moving and never got them back.
Calm- a bungee is one of the cords that have the metal pieces at both ends and the body is elastic. usually they have them in the auto department of stores and they are used to keep things from coming off the car during transport.

I agree to be nice to the flight attendants. They can be your best friends on flights. Don't argue with them if at all possible. Both my girls were in their carseats on take off landing for all the flights but one (DD1 was nursing and 4 months old at the time, the flight attendant told me not to worry about putting her in her seat). Ive always had really great flight attendants when Ive flown American airlines (any of the airlines in America, not American- Ive never flown with them) but had a hard time with a lot of the Asain airlines to the point that I refuse to fly China Air, I will pay extra to fly elsewhere. My favorite has been United becuase their attendants/pilots that Ive dealt with have been very child friendly and made the flights 100% better than they could have been.
When you have to buckle them in totally depends on airlines as well. Ive had everything from the FA telling me I had to buckle them in when the flight was still loading to them telling me that they will come around and tell me when we are about to lift off so I can buckle them in real fast.
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by nia82 View Post
I have done this twice with DS... Once at 8 months and once at 25 months. 8 months was a piece of cake, he just nursed and slept. A toddler is different! He did sleep during the flight, but woke up being so uncomfy and screamed for a good time as he was somewhere between awake and asleep, a bit creepy. I carried him in the back of the plane for a good 3 hours, that way he was calm and semi-sleeping. On the way back he did fine, which was a day flight - so not all kids do great during night flights! But with Europe flights you never have a choice, they are all red-eyes, at least all I could ever find and book.

We took the car seat on domestic flights and DS HATES it on the plane. Non-stop screaming unless we take him out, so CARES (harness type for planes) it is for us. Also, convertibles are huge - there will be no space between the car seat and the seat in front of it, and DS kept kicking the person in front of us, which will lead to problems (we took him out of the car seat!). My niece did the same thing and actually got yelled at by the passenger ahead of her (she was 2 then).

He now is not interested in watching TV much, he just started recently, so DVD players are not an option (I do believe though that next year it will be heaven to have a DVD player with us - 3 year olds are a different story!). So I entertain him non-stop. Games, peekaboo, new toys (he couldn't care less, they all end up on the floor within 2 minutes or less), looking through books and the SkyMall magazines, going to the bathroom (he loves washing his hands), bringing "junk food" (waffles, chips, chocolate - all the stuff that is usually reserved for special days and consumed very little) and vitamin water - stuff he likes. It is super stressful to keep him from freaking out (he hates being restrained in a seat on a plane).

At the airport, since I travel without DH mostly, I check my stuff. I pay for it, otherwise logistics are impossible. I bring a travel stroller, a backpack and a small lunch bag (insulated, for yogurt and milk which he loves). That way I can maneuver and won't get tired out too much. Be prepared for security - some airports are stricter than others. in Denver I always get pulled aside (4 out of 4 times), have to open his water and milk bottle, it gets tested for fumes or vapors, then you get it back. You also have to collapse the stroller and put it on the belt for the xray, which is a pain since nobody helps (I just did it last week, visibly pregnant, and they couldn't care less, really, do not expect help, and if you ask people, they usually don't help either, in my experience). It's such a pain - they also always insist that DS takes off his shoes, which leads to a minor tantrum (he neither wants to let go of shoes nor strollers, ha). Security is one of the worst parts for me of traveling (btw, only Denver and Chicago put up such procedures for me, Detroit, San Francisco and Frankfurt were totally different!).

Oh and yes, United Airlines wouldn't let me keep DS in the MaiTei during takeoff or landing nor have him at least somewhat buckled in my seatbelt (he was a lap baby). I just waited til we were on the runway, stuck him back under my seatbelt (better a little than none, and better broken leg bones then a baby flying around in a plane) and nursed him, put the blanket over us so nobody knew.

And for the strapped in - American Airlines was ok with not buckling him in til we reached the runway. Frontier Arilines wouldn't leave the gate without him being buckled. They also waited a full 9 minutes until he stopped screaming before they left the gate. I think they wanted to kick us off if he didn't stop. And I have gotten grief from some flight attendants, a Delta one told us to better drug our kid cause something is wrong with him for screaming like this... Others are nicer and offer cookies or make silly faces. I never had trouble with male flight attendants, interestingly. Passengers are a whole different story. They glare, roll their eyes and make stupid comments - mostly business travelers, single people, younger people. Older people or other parents have always been sympathetic and helpful with us (and mind you, DS's worst crying fit last 15 minutes maybe). Just last week when we sat down the lady right next to us rolled her eyes (right in my face) when she learned we were sitting next to her. Also on Monday on our way back DS touched once the LCD screen to point out our car in a commercial that was running (he seriously touched the friggin screen for the first time) - the woman in the seat in front of him then hit him with her rolled up People magazine. I didn't know what to do, but she didn't get him, only his fingertips, and I was too scared to say something, as I thought I will prolly get kicked off the plane, not her. On a recent flight from Europe to the US a couple in front of me complained non-stop about that "stupid cry-baby" on the plane, a circa 8 months old boy. Oh and how they hated those evil 5/6 year olds who dared to run to the bathroom. Oh my. I always wish I could tell these people to zip it and put up with it or fly private jets...
These are some really bad experiences!! I've been traveling with dd abroad and average of once or twice a year for 8 years and we've never had these kinds of experiences. Then again, until this most recent trip (just got home Saturday), we had never flown a US-based airline... always European carriers (e.g. British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, Turkish Air, Swiss Air - all of these were fairly easy airlines to deal with). We also haven't even gotten the rolled eyes even though one one flight when dd was about a year old, she screamed a lot on take-off. If someone hit my baby with a magazine, I would be all over them and make sure that if they even looked our way again, there would be an assault charge filed against them. If they hit YOU like that, it would be a prosecutable offense. Why not your child?

I'm sorry you've had such bad experiences. We've been to over a dozen different countries with dd in her 8 years and I guess we've been pretty lucky. Then again, she's a great traveler and makes our trips abroad pretty pleasant, so that helps.
post #24 of 35
I didn't say anything to the flight attendant because I was worried that we will get kicked off the plane for making trouble. Usually parents are the ones to get kicked, not the adult alone travelers. I wish I could file charges, but I wouldn't have said something either if she had hit my fingertips. She gave me the vibe of making a huge stink, and it would have landed us all in a police station, delaying the travel further, leaving DS completely unhappy. I also think the charges or allegations would have led nowhere. DS wasn't mad, but I explained to him that the person ahead of us is a crazy violent person who we have to avoid and be very careful with.
post #25 of 35
I fly a lot with my daughter because my family are all in the UK. I just went with her last month (she's 2.5).

Because we fly Virgin (or BA, at a push) we cannot take our car seat on board. Quite frankly this is a relief when I'm flying alone with her. Virgin have great child safety seats like car seats that the cabin crew install for you.

When we flew JetBlue to Florida we did take our own car seat (Maxi Cosi Priori) and I sort of carried it by looping the closed straps over my arm/shoulder. I did have someone else to help carry the rest of our stuff though.

I bought child headphones for my daughter which she has used on the last 3 flights to watch the television onboard. I also stocked my iPod with shows that she would appreciate (all free downloads from iTunes) just in case the TV didn't work or nothing was appropriate. When it was time for her to nap I put on the map screen until she was bored to sleep.

I also bring plenty of snacks, grapes cut in half, raisins, sliced cucumbers (stuff that isn't messy), I bring 3 muffins for breakfast. All this stuff helps to keep her occupied during delays or just during moments of testiness.

Toys: I bring sticker books, magnet play scenes, crayons, silly putty and pairs/memory cards.

Last time as soon as we sat down I spoke to the people in front of her seat and asked them to bring it to my attention if she was doing anything that might annoy them. Luckily she behaved really well and at the end of the flight they were complimentary. I have had nasty looks on other flights though.

My tactic is to never, EVER, book a night flight. Everyone else on a night flight expects to get some sleep, so they're going to be really annoyed if my daughter makes noise. In my experience when she was younger, she'd resist napping on a flight no matter how tired she was, so there is no guarantee they will give in and sleep. Plus night flights in an easterly direction totally throw off your body clock and take longer to recover from. We go early, that way we wake up at almost English time, walk around at the airport, are awake on the flight, get to England early evening, get situated at night, play a little and then go to bed to get a proper, full night's rest.
post #26 of 35
Just wanted to chime in that you want to bring a change of clothes for everyone, including you! We had a very traumatized DD1 throw up multiple times on our trip home from China when she was just 2 -- no previous indications that she was sick, or had motion sickness. Having to wear my puke covered clothes for 15 hours did not help to make the flight pleasant...
post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
I appreciate all of your advice.

Extra clothes...

Bungees tested and ready...

Shortest flight booked...

It is partially a night flight, but so beyond our time zone that it really won't be *night* for the kids until the last hour or so...should be interesting.

Well, with just over four months to really feel ready, I am sure we'll jump into full panic mode in the eleventh hour!


Thanks everyone~
post #28 of 35
One last thing make sure YOU get a full night sleep the night before and eat a good meal before getting on the flight. I always make sure the girls are rested but Im usually a mess (packing over night, trying to get last minute things done etc) and its hard to fly exhausted. My last trip back to the states Im not quite sure how I made it off the plane to where my MIL/FIL was I was so exhausted. My FIL told me afterwards I was actually shaking when I walked up so he was worried about me. MIL woke a couple of times that night to check to make sure I was ok (I have low blood sugar issues so they were worried my blood sugar was tanking). I was just exhausted and didn't eat enough before/during the flight. Do yourself a favor and don't do that, took me a while to recover.
post #29 of 35
Thread Starter 

Yes...sleep is good, lol!

 

I am trying not to think too much at this point about the what ifs. I wish the trip were sooner so I could pack and be done with that part.

post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

Don't take the DVD player! Trans-oceanic flights all have personal in-flight entertainment in the seat backs in front of you. I'd just let all the kids veg out to videos the whole time. That's what we did when dd was younger. We just got back this weekend from a trip abroad, and at 8, she was more interested in her books and doing missed homework than watching the videos, but they sure kept her occupied for the 13 hour flights when she was younger.

 


 

Not all trans-oceanic flights have them. Check with the airline to find out what entertainment system will be available on the specific flight. I had a 14 hour flight last year with only the old-fashioned movie screens, and to make matters worse, the headphones weren't working. Fortunately, DS had his iPod loaded up with movies and I had a decent book.  Even if the plane has the back-of-the-seat personal systems, they aren't always working.  If video-based entertainment is important (and for long flights, it is a nice distraction), then I'd take along a back-up. 

 

 

post #31 of 35

Water

I haven't noticed anyone mention keeping the children and yourself hydrated with water. 

This will help so much when you get to your destination. Much of Jet Lag is actually dehydration. Other liquids don't work as well as water. The body doesn't use other liquids in the same way because it doesn't have to digest water. Water can go straight to the organs that need it - mainly the brain. 

So make sure you all drink loads of water the whole trip because flying is very dehydrating. 

 

EFT

EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is an invaluable tool at any time but even more so on a plane journey. 

It's basically a form of acupressure - tapping on the meridian end points on face, hands and upper body. (Like acupuncture but without the needles.)

 

On a flight you can use it to calm a fretful child, relieve motion sickness and the ear pain as the plane descends, and enable your body clock to keep in line with the earth clock. As I said it's a marvellous tool. Every parent's job is made so much easier with this under their belt. 

 

Learn more about it here http://www.towards-happiness.com/emotional-freedom-techniques.html

This page has an explanation, a poem to help children tap in the correct places and links to download a free manual, and go through a series of slides to learn it yourself. It also has an amazing video that shows the scope of EFT. 

 

I am a grandma now and I use it surrogately whenever I encounter fretful children on flights. 

 

 

 

post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post

We fly between Europe and California about twice a year, plus various other shorter flights. Ours' are 11 1/2 and 10 1/2 hours each way, plus a connection. I'm almost always alone with my three kids. I was also a Flight Attendant working long-haul international flights for 13 years.

I got a DVD player when my youngest was 3 and it's a g-dsend on flights. You can't depend on what they're playing on board. It might not entertain the kids, it's not always playing and they might not even have one! It might just be a general film on the big screen.

We have so many problems on my airline with the individual screens that they were scrapped for future aircraft.

There are other devices that play movies so portable DVD players are not your only option. That's too big a subject to cover here and not my area of expertise! The jury is out on whether it's worth it for the youngest. Mine would never sit still or wear the headphones under age 3 but some toddlers will. But the older two will appreciate having something to watch on the long flight, especially on the way back to the U.S. (all daytime). It's also useful for hotels where they might not understand the T.V.

About the car seat, be sure that you're flying a U.S. airline. It might not be allowed on board a foreign company, depending on which one. You have the right to use a FAA approved car seat on a U.S. aircraft but that's not true for foreign companies. Be sure to check your airlines' car seat policies.

I bring a full set of clothes for each child and have used them too many times on transatlantic flights. It's NOT overpacking. If there's a spill, you'll regret not having them. Wrap them in plastic bags with rubber bands and that will save space in your luggage. I bring some sort of either a sippy cup or a more acceptable spout type bottle for older children. Have the F/A's fill those instead of having multiple open glasses sitting on your tray tables ready to create havoc.

Be sure to have new, never seen toys for all of them. I suggest giving the youngest (if not all) one just before pushback so that she might be distracted enough to sit nicely in her seat until you're in the air. Remember, not electronic. You might want to have a new DVD for the older two.

Check everything you don't need for the flight itself. For a journey like this, you don't want to start off on the wrong foot with the crew seeing you drag extra stuff on board. You want them on your side when flying with children! Baggage expenses are something you'll just have to cough up when the children are young. Usually, international lets you check a free bag per person so you should have plenty of leeway with that. Make sure all bags are well under the weight limit. Don't give yourself grief by packing fewer, bigger bags that are often nabbed for overweight fines.

I also don't recommend messing with kids' schedules before flying. You need your children alert and cooperative for the whole palavah of checking in, getting through security and boarding. One small delay and you could find yourself with one big meltdown! I saw this too often at the airport.

Don't last minute pack or do chores before leaving. Try to have everything organized in advance and get plenty of sleep the night before. When the seat belt sign is on, be ready to pace the aisles with the youngest.

You're lucky you'll have your dh along. Some parents who have the luxury of flying together will take turns being in charge of the toddler. This sounds like a good idea so that both of you aren't jumping up for every diaper change and fussy spell.

Here are my newly-edited, non-commercial flying tips;
http://flyingwithchildren1.blogspot.com

Have a great trip!


I don't have much advice to add to this thread that hasn't already been stated.

 

Just wanted to say to Eclipsepearl - thank you for that article!!  My mom forwarded it to me a couple months ago when we were planning our kids first plane ride - a measly little 3 hour jaunt from Canada to the US - nothing compared to your overseas flights, but still nervewracking for us first-timers!  Your article was very helpful, thank you!!

post #33 of 35

AFAIK, teh infant belts are only on Qantas.

 

Also, is there a reason you're taking your car seat with you? If you're going to Europe it will probably be illegal for you to use your US car seat there. If it were me, I wouldn't take it.

 

Defintiely take snacks, drinks etc. Baby food is exempt from restrictions.

 

Older kids might like some gum for takeoff and landings. They will prob be entertained by the inflight stuff and they also give out colouring books etc.

 

For the youngest buy some new toys and books. I recommend the Richard Scarry ones because there is so much to look at. That way you only need one.

 

A baby/toddler carrier will save your arms if your LO wants to snuggle and lot and also in your layover.

post #34 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by redvlagrl View Post

AFAIK, teh infant belts are only on Qantas.

 

Also, is there a reason you're taking your car seat with you? If you're going to Europe it will probably be illegal for you to use your US car seat there. If it were me, I wouldn't take it.

 

Defintiely take snacks, drinks etc. Baby food is exempt from restrictions.

 

Older kids might like some gum for takeoff and landings. They will prob be entertained by the inflight stuff and they also give out colouring books etc.

 

For the youngest buy some new toys and books. I recommend the Richard Scarry ones because there is so much to look at. That way you only need one.

 

A baby/toddler carrier will save your arms if your LO wants to snuggle and lot and also in your layover.


WHy would it be illegal to use my car seat there?? IL's have their car from the U.S. over there, so it is fully ready for my seat. Illegal? Seriously? What would be legal, then? I am intrigued!

post #35 of 35

I recently flew alone for the first time, and did it with my 3 young children.  I went to a dollar store and got a bunch of fun stuff, and didn't let them play with any of it beforehand.  That and a good variety of snacks made for a surprisingly peaceful day of travel.  The silly putty was PRICELESS.  They were occupied for a long while pressing it into other toys and objects and seeing what kind of prints were made in the putty. 

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