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Flying alone, 14 hours with a Lap Baby! Help and ideas!

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 

In a few weeks I'm taking a14 hr direct flight by myself with DS who will be 11.5 month...and he will be on my lap. Yes...14 hours. It was just far too expensive to get him his own seat when he could fly for almost free.

We do have a seat booked with one of those bassinet thingees but I can't imagine DS being too happy to hang out in there unless he's asleep. I imagine that's more for little babes who would probably sleep or lay there the whole time.

 

Anyway, I'm really anxious about the whole ordeal and trying to come up with ways to make it easier on both of us.

Anyone been on a long-haul flight like this with a little one around DS's age?

 

Can anyone recommend good toys that might hold his attention in a limited space? I'm bringing his favourite puppets and books and some new books with pop-ups that he will love...but other than that, I'm at a loss.

 

He's not quite walking yet...maybe he will be by the time we fly, but maybe not.

I realize I'll be counting on the flight crew to really help me out when I need to use the bathroom and around meal time. Even with help, I don't really see how I'll manage to eat unless someone holds DS whole time. Then there is the matter of feeding HIM...

I'm trying not to imagine nightmarish scenarios, but I can't help it. uhoh3.gif

 

What should I bring onboard with us? Any advice or tips?

 

ANYTHING that will be of help is welcome!!!

 

(x-posted this in Life with a Babe)

post #2 of 44

For 14 hrs?   Sorry but I simply would not go if I couldn't purchase a seat for that length of time.  Your going to be tired sore and grumpy.   If you get any type of turbulence then your stuck in your seat for long periods of time.  You can hope for an open seat but people do not HAVE to switch seats with you.

post #3 of 44
Thread Starter 

Well, I'm an expat- I live abroad and I can't simply "not go" to visit my home and family.  I'm also a seasoned traveller and I've done much longer trips than this by myself, so yeah sore and grumpy maybe, but I'm used to that- not a big deal. Living abroad my DS will have to get used to travelling too and I'm looking for ways for us to deal with it. This year he'll be a lap baby, next year he probably won't.

 

I AM going on the trip and I'm looking for helpful advice. Thanks.

post #4 of 44
In 2 weeks I'm flying alone with my 16 month old for a total of 27 hour journey (2 flights). This is what I'm doing: I'm bought a light cheap car seat and I'm going to TRY to get a free seat next to me. I'm also bringing lots of dry snacks. A flight attendant friend suggested bringing a small chocolate and giving it to my flight attendant at the beginning and explaining that I will need a little extra help. I don't think I will bring much in the way of toys, maybe just a few dollar store type things.
I flew with my 12 month old alone a few years ago for 10 hours and I must say it was a great flight. But I was on a BA flight and they have a bassinet for older babies (it's like a bouncy chair). Most bassinets are only for 6 months or younger, sadly. Hopefully your lo will sleep for a good chunk and you will be able to get a free seat. Does he still fit in an infant car seat? Maybe bring that.
My feeling is that I should be as prepared as possible but, at the end of the day, it's only a day out of my life and I can handle anything for that amount of time. Good luck
post #5 of 44
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the words of encouragement! I am also telling myself that it's only 14 hours- one day! I can do ANYTHING for that long, I know I can. (That's what I told myself about giving birth too and that lasted almost 3 days!)

 

I don't think my airline will let me use a free seat with a carseat. Too bad.

Wow those bouncy seats sound GREAT. I wish they had those on my flight.

 

Thanks again. Good luck to you too!

post #6 of 44

Here is a very useful blog from a MDC mama. Maybe she will chime in. 

 

Also, I am bringing my ergo for the flight as well as an umbrella stroller for the airport. What airline are you flying with? Most will give you a free seat if they can as it makes things easier for them too. 

post #7 of 44

I did a 27h US-to-Australia with a 13 mo, and I just did a 7.5h trans-Atlantic with him at 18 months. Both of these were with two parents, but maybe some of my strategies will help you.

 

Two really good resources that I found were the "Travelling with Children" section of the Flyertalk Forums (http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-children-221/) and also the site Boot linked to, above.

 

Some things that worked for us:

Kiddo is a big fan of books, so we brought lots of books.

I had a bag of 5-6 little toys which he hadn't seen before that I brought out one at a time.

Things that you will find in your seat that will entertain a kid: the airplane safety card. The barf bag. In-flight magazines.

There are also barf bags in the bathrooms. Use them to wrap poopy diapers before you trash them.

I brought a big cloth sarong in the cabin which was useful as a blanket, a peek-a-boo tent, and a wrap to walk kiddo around the plane. I liked a kanga-style back carry; quick to put on, and his arms and legs are wrapped up so I could walk along the aisles without him grabbing or kicking other passengers.

But definitely take your carrier of choice for transit through the airport.

Snacks. All sorts of new and interesting and lovely snacks. 

For meals, I've been able to sit the kid on one side of my lap and fold the tray table out half way. That works for the ones that are stored in the arms.

I don't love the bassinets. You have to take the kid out if there is turbulence (which can mean waking them up). You have to sit at a bulkhead, which means less legroom, and NO personal items on the floor in front of you for take-off and landing. The one upside to the bassinet is you can put your lunch tray in it. :)

 

post #8 of 44
Thread Starter 

Thanks Anna and Boot! On my way to check out those links...

 

 

post #9 of 44

A funny suggestion but the best distraction we've had for flights has been a pack of post it notes. They can crinkle them up, stick them around, etc... and they are super easy to clean up! Grab some cups and straws from a food place at the airport. Those are great fun to play with too!  I also bring lots and lots of snacks. I bring snacks for me too that can be eaten one handed because its so hard to eat with a lap child. Maybe you'll luck out and get to eat while he's sleeping. I wear DD in the ergo or sling too as we navigate the airports and getting off the plane. Nice to have hands free. I also bring a cheep stroller and gate check it so that I have a place for her in the airport (and our stuff!) while I use the bathroom and gather luggage. I've never had such a long flight as you will but I find that DD rises to the occasion when we fly. I also just tell myself, its just one day AND I'll never see these people again anyway!

 

Good luck Mama!

post #10 of 44

Oh how that brings back memories!  I once flew alone with my 15 month old from Hawaii to Newark, NJ on my lap (about 11 hours).    Not only that, but I was 5 months pregnant and had the MIDDLE seat in a row of 5 seats!  With my belly sticking out I had like NO wiggle room...lol.  I had to make the round trip as well, although it wasn't a direct flight on the way back.  My all time favorite toy for this type of traveling are those little magna doodle toys.  They provide lots of entertainment without a mess.  Scribble...erase....scribble...erase....you get the picture. :)  I'm not going to lie to you...you'll be happy when the flight's over.  BUT, you can do it!  I did a lot of walking, and tried to get dd to snuggle and sleep as much as possible.  I had the added dimension that a lot of her movements were really uncomfortable on my stomach.   I don't recommend taking a lot of toys even though that's probably a temptation.  It's a serious pain trying to pick up falling toys from the ground.  I've traveled long distances with lots of kids many times and this strategy usually works better.  Also, you need lots of snacks.  Snacks seem to work great for little ones. Just try not to take really messy ones...lol.  Above all, pray you get seated next to someone who is nice. :)

 

Good luck!

post #11 of 44

Others have offered good suggestions. When my daughter was around 14 months, we had a 12 hour flight and a 16.5 hour flight. My husband and I were together for these long legs of the trip, which made it easier. But if alone, I could have done it, especially if I made my best effort to be well-rested before hand. Just be prepared to be "on" all the time, although maybe your babe will fall asleep, or other passengers will help entertain. (On our flight to our ME country, a fellow passenger fell in love with our daughter and was happy to carry her around and introduce her to other passengers, and she loved it!)

 

Though we brought a bunch of toys, her favorite toy was one I made: a metal nut canister with a plastic lid--I cut a slit in the lid and then gave her the price tags off of clothing, and other small shapes of cardboard to put into the canister. She played with that for literally hours on various outings and on both long plane rides. Playing with the plastic cups used for water in planes was also very fun for her at that age.

 

Finally, the "bring lots of new toys" idea doesn't work well for my daughter. She best loves toys that are a bit familiar, so I always let her try out her "new" toys for a day or two before we go. Otherwise I guess she is too distracted by the newness of the travel environment to really get into them.

post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBaxter View Post

For 14 hrs?   Sorry but I simply would not go if I couldn't purchase a seat for that length of time.  Your going to be tired sore and grumpy.   If you get any type of turbulence then your stuck in your seat for long periods of time.  You can hope for an open seat but people do not HAVE to switch seats with you.


While people don't have to switch, no one want to sit next to a lap baby
post #13 of 44

No what I was saying ( and I hear a ton about flyers from a good friend who has been a flight attendant for 20 yrs) IF  someone has a empty seat next to them and you are trying to snag a "free empty seat" the person in the assigned seat w/ an empty beside them does not have to move.  My friend who is the flight attendant will NOT has not flown with either of her children as a lap child.   She has experienced to many fights with turbulence that she said she could not have held on to a child to risk the possible injury of her child.   She forbid me to ever fly w/ any of my boys as lap babies and wishes ALL passengers were required to purchase a seat -- based on her flying experience.

 

Very true no one wants to sit next to a lab baby.  I never felt MY boys would be safe enough sitting on my lap.   

 

OP I hope you have a safe flight. 

post #14 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKislandgirl View Post

A funny suggestion but the best distraction we've had for flights has been a pack of post it notes. They can crinkle them up, stick them around, etc... and they are super easy to clean up! Grab some cups and straws from a food place at the airport. Those are great fun to play with too!  I also bring lots and lots of snacks. I bring snacks for me too that can be eaten one handed because its so hard to eat with a lap child. 

I also just tell myself, its just one day AND I'll never see these people again anyway!

 

Good luck Mama!


Thanks! Post it notes! Interesting and worth a try! And I'll definitely bring some one-handed snacks!

Yep- just ONE day! I was in labour with DS for 3 days so I can do ONE day of anything, right? winky.gif

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by ednkirstin View Post

Oh how that brings back memories!  I once flew alone with my 15 month old from Hawaii to Newark, NJ on my lap (about 11 hours).    Not only that, but I was 5 months pregnant and had the MIDDLE seat in a row of 5 seats!  With my belly sticking out I had like NO wiggle room...lol.  I had to make the round trip as well, although it wasn't a direct flight on the way back.  My all time favorite toy for this type of traveling are those little magna doodle toys.  They provide lots of entertainment without a mess.  Scribble...erase....scribble...erase....you get the picture. :)  I'm not going to lie to you...you'll be happy when the flight's over.  BUT, you can do it!

 

Good luck!

Oh my- now THAT is impressive! And wow- if you made it through pregnant than I can certainly do it! I am in the middle seat in a row of 3- stupidly, I booked that seat because it was the bassinet seat. That was 2 and half months ago when DS could have possible fit in the bassinet...now he won't! DUH. And the flight is full so I can't change it. I'll have to beg or bribe the window passenger to switch with me. I dunno if DS is old enough to get the hang of a magna doodle- he might like to watch me play with it though!

Thanks!
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by sky_and_lavender View Post

Others have offered good suggestions. When my daughter was around 14 months, we had a 12 hour flight and a 16.5 hour flight. My husband and I were together for these long legs of the trip, which made it easier. But if alone, I could have done it, especially if I made my best effort to be well-rested before hand. Just be prepared to be "on" all the time, although maybe your babe will fall asleep, or other passengers will help entertain. (On our flight to our ME country, a fellow passenger fell in love with our daughter and was happy to carry her around and introduce her to other passengers, and she loved it!)

 

Though we brought a bunch of toys, her favorite toy was one I made: a metal nut canister with a plastic lid--I cut a slit in the lid and then gave her the price tags off of clothing, and other small shapes of cardboard to put into the canister. She played with that for literally hours on various outings and on both long plane rides. Playing with the plastic cups used for water in planes was also very fun for her at that age.

 

Finally, the "bring lots of new toys" idea doesn't work well for my daughter. She best loves toys that are a bit familiar, so I always let her try out her "new" toys for a day or two before we go. Otherwise I guess she is too distracted by the newness of the travel environment to really get into them.

Thanks- I think the night before the flight, I am going to sleep in the guest bedroom and get some solid sleep so I am well rested.

It would be wonderful if some stranger would fall in love with DS and be happy to entertain him for some time. He is a cute kid, but he's more the type that stares at strangers with a deadpan or with curiousity bordering on obsession... he's very selective with who he smiles at and engages with. But maybe...

 

Hmm...good point about the new toys. Maybe DS would be better off getting familliar with the things we're bringing.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBaxter View Post

Very true no one wants to sit next to a lab baby.  I never felt MY boys would be safe enough sitting on my lap.   

 

OP I hope you have a safe flight. 

Yes, I would rather DS have his own seat but buying another $2800 ticket is just not feasible for us right now. So we're going to do the best we can. The type of extreme turbulence that would be dangerous for a lap baby is pretty rare and any other bigger flight emergencies- even if he was in a seat, we'd be in pretty much the same boat.

I'm sure your flight attendant friend will tell you that air travel is much safer than any other mode of travel and in the dozens and dozens of times I've flown nothing has ever happened. Most flight accidents happen to small engine aircraft not huge jumbo jets like the one we'll be flying in. I don't like to take chances with the safety of my son, but I feel ok about this one.
Thanks.

 

 

post #15 of 44

Well, I've only flown with a baby once, and that was only from the midwest to Arizona, about 4 hours.  It was a long 4 hours.  She was only 3mo old.  Mostly because she was tired and wanted to nurse, but then wouldn't nurse, and...oh, I hurt so bad, I had leaked milked ALL over me.  BUT, the guy who sat next to me with his daughter was really nice about how SHE had wailed all the way over the ocean once... :)  Just wanted to say that after that trip, I'm not so sure the window seat was the best...it would have been much better if I could have gotten up and down without having to disturb everyone.

 

But, while I've only flown with a baby once...I did just drive nearly across the country with  4 kids, ages 6 and under.  There's gotta be some comparasion. :)

 

My thoughts...

 

Less is more.  Don't overpack.  If they don't want a toy, they don't want a toy.  Something else new probably isn't going to cut it anyway.

 

I echo the snacks.  Might be a good time to let him try candy, or chocolate chips...like around hour 12 or 13.  (He's pretty little, but desperate times call for desperate measures. :) )  Also, you can try putting raisins or something else small in a pill box. Open and shut goes a really long way.

 

Stickers.  On the toes, on the fingernails.  Earrings.  Etc.

 

They have apps for toddlers on IPOD, though we've never used them.

 

Scotch tape. My kids love tape.

 

Wamart has the cheap magnet sets that fold up.  Plenty of big non-chokable magnets, and very compact.

 

Hiding Games.  Put a raisin in his shirt pocket. Or hold it tightly in your fist, and show him how to peel your fingers back one at a time.  Closing the fingers you've already opened can be funny.  Teach him how to do it to you.

 

Drive a car up his legs and arms, over his head, through his shirt, etc.

 

Start "sit still" lessons now.  Hold him on your lap and look at a book or some other quiet game.  When he tries to get down, settle him back on your lap and whisper "sit still" in his ear.  Then reengage him in an actvity.  I would do this frequently to slowly get him used to there being no other option.  I can get my 8 month old through a good 45 minutes of a church service this way.  Something in the mouth helps, but you don't need quiet, you just need still.

 

Remember his ears and do something to help him pressurize.

 

On long trips my babies seem to start exploding out one end or the other...pack extra clothes.  And a big lightweight blanket.

 

My little ones like to chew on toothbrushes.

 

And they like to play with beads on a string.  I use larger beads and am certain the knot is tight and the string is sound.  They play with those for a really long time.

 

You can put stuff in his shoes for him to find.

 

Play/sing clapping games and silly songs.  He's going to need to use some energy, so you can sing the car version of "if you're happy and you know it."  It includes things like shake your head, and stick out your tongue...as many other verses as you can think up.

 

nak, so thats all for now.

 

Good Luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by Just1More - 6/6/11 at 7:57pm
post #16 of 44

I just remembered another tip--nursing (if you're nursing) a tallish older babe in an airplane seat (especially a middle seat) is a bit challenging. If you try to do cradle hold, he'll end up with his feet in the lap of your neighbor. I had to kind of lean back and let his feet dangle between my legs. Not super comfy, but it did work, and he managed to fall asleep in that position.

 

And something for me to do when the kid was asleep was key. I loaded some books on my iphone, which meant I could read one-handed, in the dark (which works well in all sorts of situations with little kids!).

post #17 of 44

You sound much better now with these great ideas and encouragement!

I will be flying with my 15 mth old on my lap in 3 wks. Its an 11 hour flight but we have a 10hr layover in Paris.  I am a bit concerned as she is not as laid back as my son was when I flew alone with him (multiple times on the same kind of trip). She also has a high pitched screech for communicating her disgruntles. eeks.

 

Anyhow, you will survive.  Baby may lull to sleep for longer periods of time with the engine noise. Do lots of walks up and down the aisle way.  IT is tricky when you get served the dinner tray. Very little room.  But somehow it will all work out.  The bulk head is the best place for you to be as there is a bit more standing room for baby and no seats to take up the space in front of you!

 

I am bring a bag of soft chocolate chip cookies for my last attempts at keeping her peaceful :). Something she rarely gets.

 

Last night my daughter was completely enthralled with a small hand towel. Kept her awake for an hour. Mental note to pack this with me!

 

Good luck.


Edited by SunRise - 6/7/11 at 10:34am
post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just1More View Post

Well, I've only flown with a baby once, and that was only from the midwest to Arizona, about 4 hours.  It was a long 4 hours.  She was only 3mo old.  Mostly because she was tired and wanted to nurse, but then wouldn't nurse, and...oh, I hurt so bad, I had leaked milked ALL over me.  BUT, the guy who sat next to me with his daughter was really nice about how SHE had wailed all the way over the ocean once... :)  Just wanted to say that after that trip, I'm not so sure the window seat was the best...it would have been much better if I could have gotten up and down without having to disturb everyone.

 

But, while I've only flown with a baby once...I did just drive nearly across the country with  4 kids, ages 6 and under.  There's gotta be some comparasion. :)

 

My thoughts...

 

Less is more.  Don't overpack.  If they don't want a toy, they don't want a toy.  Something else new probably isn't going to cut it anyway.

 

I echo the snacks.  Might be a good time to let him try candy, or chocolate chips...like around hour 12 or 13.  (He's pretty little, but desperate times call for desperate measures. :) )  Also, you can try putting raisins or something else small in a pill box. Open and shut goes a really long way.

 

Stickers.  On the toes, on the fingernails.  Earrings.  Etc.

 

They have apps for toddlers on IPOD, though we've never used them.

 

Scotch tape. My kids love tape.

 

Wamart has the cheap magnet sets that fold up.  Plenty of big non-chokable magnets, and very compact.

 

Hiding Games.  Put a raisin in his shirt pocket. Or hold it tightly in your fist, and show him how to peel your fingers back one at a time.  Closing the fingers you've already opened can be funny.  Teach him how to do it to you.

 

Drive a car up his legs and arms, over his head, through his shirt, etc.

 

Start "sit still" lessons now.  Hold him on your lap and look at a book or some other quiet game.  When he tries to get down, settle him back on your lap and whisper "sit still" in his ear.  Then reengage him in an actvity.  I would do this frequently to slowly get him used to there being no other option.  I can get my 8 month old through a good 45 minutes of a church service this way.  Something in the mouth helps, but you don't need quiet, you just need still.

 

Remember his ears and do something to help him pressurize.

 

On long trips my babies seem to start exploding out one end or the other...pack extra clothes.  And a big lightweight blanket.

 

My little ones like to chew on toothbrushes.

 

And they like to play with beads on a string.  I use larger beads and am certain the knot is tight and the string is sound.  They play with those for a really long time.

 

You can put stuff in his shoes for him to find.

 

Play/sing clapping games and silly songs.  He's going to need to use some energy, so you can sing the car version of "if you're happy and you know it."  It includes things like shake your head, and stick out your tongue...as many other verses as you can think up.

 

nak, so thats all for now.

 

Good Luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Great list. I highlighted ideas that applied to my baby too. And a lollipop...if you have no qualms, is a great idea. You may get a moment to yourself while he happily sucks on a lolly.

 

post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by chel View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by JBaxter View Post

For 14 hrs?   Sorry but I simply would not go if I couldn't purchase a seat for that length of time.  Your going to be tired sore and grumpy.   If you get any type of turbulence then your stuck in your seat for long periods of time.  You can hope for an open seat but people do not HAVE to switch seats with you.




While people don't have to switch, no one want to sit next to a lap baby


The times I traveled alone with my son as a lap baby, international flights, I was given an empty seat beside me 2 times. And another time a "seat neighbour" man asked to be moved (quietly and before the flight even took off) and I was moved to the bulk head and given two seats. There has been times when the flight was full too, but anyone I encountered was kind and understanding. And if my son was upset, it only felt like forever to me; in real time, it was only for 5-10 minutes.

post #20 of 44

I have travelled about that far with a baby alone.  if you can get an overnight flight that will cut down hugely on the hassle because he will sleep for most of it and if you ask the airline now they might be willing to give you the bulk head seat so that you can A) get the wall cot to place him in and B) when he is awake and there is no turbulence, play with some toys...book it now as they tend to charge extra for this seat nowadays and and they can fill up fast.

 

Definitely bring a stroller (but carry baby in the front pack) to wheel up to the gate and gate check, because you can use it to carry to the plane door all the extra stuff you need and they bring it to the gate of the plane when you leave, too.  Also the staff will see the stroller and let you board first (though you can ask obviously as well, this just helps a little if you are overwhelmed).  In Argentina they used to come around quietly and ask the mothers with young children to board before even announcing it to first class or business.  Depending on where in the world you are they might be treating you with a great deal of love, gentleness and respect. 

 

Nurse on take off and landing, bring snacks and try to be as zen as you can.  I usually take along a melatonin natural supplement to pop which calms all of down...when mommy is calm, baby is calm...when I am riled up, baby is riled up, KWIM?

 

The worst part of living abroad is the long haul flights home.  But it is ONE day...more or less...not including jet lag effects (going south to north or east to west?).  You'll be fine!

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