Long overseas flight with three kids: many questions! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 11-01-2010, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We will be taking a 10 hour flight in March. This will be our kids' first experiences on an airplane, and it is going to be LONG! We will have one layover at LAX, but then straight over the US and Atlantic.

My youngest (of three) will be 15 months. I am planning to take his TruFit on board, but I am wondering about the airport termminal situation. I believe we will be stopping at LAX for a couple of hours. Then we're off for the remaining flying time. It sounds like a 777, so three rows across of three seats each.

Any ideas??

We are going to have DVD players and books/writing/drawing/magnetic games for DS (will be 8) and DD (will be 6). I would love suggestions about what to bring my headstrong littlest! (I already know about the piece of tape trick...)

TIA!

Darcy mama to Dillon, Marah and Leo, partner to Jeremy
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#2 of 35 Old 11-01-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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You will have the haul the TF around at LAX, just an fyi.

At that age lots of snacks, stickers, color wonder pens/paper, little books have all worked.

Happily married to my dh, mama to ds1 (01/2005), ds2 (07/2007)  and dd (07/2009).
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#3 of 35 Old 11-01-2010, 07:34 PM
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I usually buy a bag of cheap treats/toys (dollar store is good for this if you are so inclined). Get a new one out every few minutes. If the flight is at nighttime my kids usually sleep pretty well. A change of clothes for anyone who is inclined to be messy is also helpful-- a diaper blowout at 30,000 feet with no spare clothes is not good (ask me how I know!).

If things go badly just remember it's a limited amount of time, everyone on the plane was a kid themselves at some point, and you never have to see them again Most people are surprisingly good humored about fussy kids and those who aren't are jerks.
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#4 of 35 Old 11-01-2010, 08:04 PM
 
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what is the piece of tape trick?!
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#5 of 35 Old 11-01-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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Honestly, I'd spend $40 on a Scenera to avoid dragging a True Fit around an airport. I have a TF and hate lugging it from the house to the car, I can't imagine dragging it around LAX.

Tandem nursing, Baby-wearing, Co-sleeping, Car seat-checkin' (CRST) Mama to my sweet boys, Peter (4.20.08) and Jasper (4.25.11).
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#6 of 35 Old 11-02-2010, 12:13 AM
 
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What CEG said about clothes is key. Bring a full outfit for yourself too. You want something if that diaper blowout (or puking kid) happens to get their "body excretions" all over you!

Happily married to my dh, mama to ds1 (01/2005), ds2 (07/2007)  and dd (07/2009).
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#7 of 35 Old 11-02-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Amy~ View Post
Honestly, I'd spend $40 on a Scenera to avoid dragging a True Fit around an airport. I have a TF and hate lugging it from the house to the car, I can't imagine dragging it around LAX.
Get one of those carts with wheels on, $15 from walmart. the TF straps onto those nicely and you can haul the kid in there too.

OR, another idea is to bring a smaller wheely bag as a carry on, you can put the kids smaller carryon backpacks in there so they dont have to lug them in the airport, and then strap the TF to that.

It is not hard to carry, its heavy but if you strap it to something its just as easy to cary as any other seat.

See:
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...9/DSC02746.jpg
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...9/DSC02745.jpg

I never check in anything, I carry it all onboard, and thats traveling alone with ds.


I traveled overseas a lot (I grew up in HK and went to california at least 2-4times a year plus multiple other trips to europe and all over asia), my mom would always keep us up really late the night before, and then we would fall asleep on the plane at least for a while!

Ds is very entertained by stickers, and playdoh on the plane. And messing with the headphones/music.
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#8 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the ideas...all good stuff.

The tape trick is really just like stickers, I think. If you give a very young child something that will stick to them, their clothes, etc, they will (in theory) be freakishly entertained for a good amount of time. I'm not sure if DS2 will fall for it at 15 months, but I am sure as hell gonna give it a go!

I am definitely taking the TruFit and I am buying a $15 T-shaped strap for our rolling carry-on. From all the reviews, it sounds like the way to go, and there is no extra cart to deal with (as there would be with the attach-the cart-to-the-carseat thing-a-majig).

We were able to secure a fairly short flight (a mere 10 hours rather than the 13 we originally checked out). We will only have a small layover in LAX, so not much in and out of seats.

Thanks again!!

Darcy mama to Dillon, Marah and Leo, partner to Jeremy
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#9 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 02:16 AM
 
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I had one of those Tshape straps, save yourself the money and use bungy cords. It ended up being more of a hassle when I used it. On the way back DFIL showed me a way to do it with just bungy cords and it was ALOT faster.
Other than that Ive done 2 24 hour flights two kids alone, they were 15 months and 3 years at the time. It looks like I will be doing another one with three when the baby Im expecting is about 9 months and the girls will be 2 and 4. Its doable but I warn you its TIRING. I dont' drink caffinee usually but I found myself getting a regular Dr. Pepper for the last leg becuase I was so wiped out.
As for different things to do: coloring, stickers, playdough, bubbles for the layover (just make sure its less than 3 ozs, I got a lot of thanks from other parents and people that worked there for distracting the kids while the flight was delayed), toy cars, small puzzles (Melissa and Doug has a good set you can get for traveling), snacks (especially ones they dont' normally get- avoid sugar though! Dont' want a hyped up kid), if you can find larger sized magnets my girls love sticking them together and trying to take them apart from about 12 months on, a few books they haven't seen yet.. Theres probably more but I can't think of them right now.
Don't bring to much though because you have to cart it all over the place. Last trip I brought a small toddler size backpack (DD1 carried), a full size backpack, a laptop and the carseats (on a luggage cart). Only hard part was getting it on and off the plane! But luckily the luggage cart fit right right the aisles with the seats on it so I didn't have to worry.
Try to get seats near the bathrooms so your older two can go without you escorting them or they can watch the baby for a minute while you run over there.

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#10 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 05:06 AM
 
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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.

PACK LIGHT! I can't stress that enough. Don't take the kitchen sink in your carry-ons. A change of clothes for the littlest and maybe an extra shirt and underwear for the others. But if you let them watch the in-flight entertainment, you need to pack very, very little. The meals alone will take over an hour each time (assuming 2 meals with that kind of flight time) and just exploring will take some time, too.

Enjoy your trip and just remember to keep a positive attitude. Traveling long distances like that is hell.
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#11 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 05:08 AM
 
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One more thing. Secure your confirmed seating NOW, if you can. As it gets closer to the trip, they'll start charging premiums for good seats... may do so even now.
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#12 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 05:59 AM
 
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Oh another thing that saved me! Pack a "special" snack for customs. I packed little packages of banana chips, it was great for waiting in line. Luckily on the way back to the states the customs official noticed me standing there alone with two young children and pulled me out to wait in a different line (that had no one else in it!) but that won't necessarily happen. On the way back into Japan I ended up at the end of a VERY long line, I was glad to have a special snack to distract the girls while we waited.

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#13 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 06:02 AM
 
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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!
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#14 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 06:10 AM
 
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I agree w/ Velochic - pack LIGHT.

* Crackers or snacks that are acceptable to the kids. They might not like the plane food.

*Books or paper and pens for drawing because it's often at least 20 or 30 minutes after take-off that the inflight entertainment begins.

* Nappies and cleaning stuff for the BB. A clean shirt for you and set of clean clothes for the BB.

* A book of nursery rhymes or songs for you to sing and entertain the baby

Also, it's good to prepare the kids for what will happen.
"First we will have to stand in line nicely while going through security and immigration."

"Then we will go to the Terminal and wait to get on the plane. You can run around a bit there. But, once we get on the plane, there will be LOTS of sitting. We'll have to remember to use our indoor voices".

Other things - the older kids may need help to deal w/ the toilet doors. When mine were much younger I said "Just go and I'll hold the door a little open for you" because dealing w/ the lock and light was kind of complex for under 7s.

If you change the baby in the toilet and use it yourself, cover baby's ears when you flush - the noise can be startling for them.

If possible, see if the flight attendant can bring your food at a different time from your partner. Then you can take turns dealing w/ the BB while the other one eats.


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.

PACK LIGHT! I can't stress that enough. Don't take the kitchen sink in your carry-ons. A change of clothes for the littlest and maybe an extra shirt and underwear for the others. But if you let them watch the in-flight entertainment, you need to pack very, very little. The meals alone will take over an hour each time (assuming 2 meals with that kind of flight time) and just exploring will take some time, too.
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#15 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 06:28 AM
 
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We are fresh back from the States, which is a 14 hour flight from Oz. I have a 2 year old boy and he is a screamer and a handful. My daughter is 8 and just watched the videos or read and tried to sleep unsuccessfully.

I found the most useful thing I had was the iphone. In it, we put all his favourite music videos and the whole thing played well over an hour. He fell asleep with the headphones on. I also needed better ear phones, the airline ones are hopeless on small heads (including mine) and impossible on toddler heads. We had the iphone ear pieces but they were a tad too big and kept falling out. So although it was a total God send, it was a pain for me because I had to keep putting them back in.

On the flight home, I had blue tac, and tacked the phone to the back of the chair in front of him so I didn't have to try to balance it on pillows or hold it.

We had to use the iphone because although virgin has 300 videos, three of them music videos, he wasn't as interested in them. He is a music junkie, so perhaps it is just my son's thing, but I'd suggest finding out in the next few months what his music tastes are and get a VIDEO player loaded with it (forget music players, it must be video). My son has absolutely no interest in drawing, plastic toys or anything, never has, so I was uniquely challenged in this area.

My other advice is: get a night flight!!

It will suck for you, you won't sleep, but he probably will, and that is a huge weight off your shoulders. I put a small rolling suitcase in front of his seat, on its side so it is level with the seat cushion, I then put a pillow on top, this makes a wide "bed". I drape his seat belt over him while he sleeps. While awake, he has that whole areas to move around in, I don't keep him belted, it would have been impossible to do.

We also had 5 hour flights to and from detroit. These were actually worse than the long hauls. One was a red eye but due to our jet lag and his need to release stress from the whole thing, he decided to start a screaming fit. I took him to the toilet and held him and encouraged him to cry and flail it all out (we do Aware Parenting) so none of the passengers were disturbed much by it and after that, he was very settled. Until he got that out though, his behaviour was close to unmanageable. If this happens, just go to the loo and encourage a good cry and then he'll be great.

Get an infant seat belt, because on take off and landing or anytime the seatbelt sign is on, he will probably want to be held. Flight attendants can make your life hell at this point (I know, I was one) by making you keep your son strapped in/to his own seat. I asked them for an infant seat belt, this allows me to hold him while the belt sign is on.

Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#16 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 06:33 AM
 
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Oh, I just saw Eclipse's post! Geez, I wish I had read your blog before we went.

As a former flight attendant, I should add ... ask a flight attendant if you run out of food, they have lots of it tucked away. Plus, many kids get upset on take off and descent, and of course this is probably the ears. Have a drink at the ready in case his ears don't equalise effectively, the swallowing will help. Not that you asked about that kind of thing but just in case.

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#17 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 06:36 AM
 
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"Infant" seat belts are banned by U.S. and Canadian companies because they're dangerous for the child and only allowed on foreign companies with not-as-strict safety standards.

For take-off and landing, the child should be in the car seat. This is not the F/A's making your life "hell", it's that they're watching out for your child's safety. Also, if the car seat is not being used, it's considered a carry-on item and is not allowed to be strapped into a seat.

Please don't tell the F/A that you don't want to put a baby in the seat "because he'll cry". It's more important that they're safe than if they cry.

Take-off and landing are the most likely points that an accident could happen.

Unfortunatly, those of us who fly transatlantically have little choice in schedule, especially if we're not on the East Coast. Going over is faster and overnight so not really a problem. The way to the U.S. is a day flight, about an hour more, and it can be looooooong with children!
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#18 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 07:50 AM
 
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I didn't say "because he'll cry", as though it was just a preventative, I meant if he is crying.

Yes, the seat belts are banned, but it is still legal to hold the babies on your lap. I find that ridiculous... unrestrained babies are at risk.

I think Virgin will disagree with that summation of their safety standards. The child is at risk if unrestrained... at least they give an option. The US just decided to ban and now infants are on laps unrestrained. That doesn't sound exactly like stricter safety standards to me.

I understand the dynamics of it, how they can fall into a C at fast deceleration ... however, it is a 1 in 50 or 60 million chance of something happening in a plane and there was only ever one incident from 20 years ago (Sioux City) ever used, over and over again, to make the point that infants are at all this horrendous risk on their parent's lap.

The emotional well being of my child is worth that "risk", I take a greater risk standing under a tree in the rain. 14 hours is a long time for a child to be separated from his mother's body, esp one that has been exclusively AP'd, and this is MDC, I assume this mother will want to connect with her child quite a bit during the flight.

Are you suggesting to keep the baby strapped to the car seat for 14 hours, regardless of needs... or ... perhaps take a boat or car? Chances are greater the baby will die on the road 10 times before they are even hurt in a plane.

I can fulfill my baby's needs, breastfeed without doing advanced yoga positions, hold, cuddle, comfort, and he even slept on me... yet during one emotional flight when I insisted he sit on his seat with his seat belt on, I ended up in the toilet with a screaming baby for almost 2 hours - not very safe at all - because two passengers abused me, one saying I was inconsiderate for subjecting them to unrelenting screaming, and another started threatening my husband. I mean, it was very intense, my son was screaming and kicking and freaking out, we are very attached and it was like trauma to him to be forced in this way. The flight attendant's advice was for me to drug my child, "responsible parents give their children Benadryl" apparently, because "19 hours of constant travel is so hard on them."

I appreciate your point of view, but Darcy is a real life mama, and the reality is not as tidy as you are making it out to be. At some point, over 10 hours, she will need to hold her son, and I am suggesting she use a restraint, at those times, because turbulence is 90% more likely to be an issue, if something is to be an issue.

Airline Safety dot com is an interesting read.

This site has a great option: baby b'air

Personally, if I could have foreseen what happened to us, I'd have him in a sling, front, facing me, while he was trying to fall asleep and during times of stress. That same site has a comment on this option, too.

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#19 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, our tickets are already purchased, and we got the very best price available (opted for a Monday to Monday), good seats and shortest layover options. We are still about 4 1/2 months out, and we had lots of great choices.

About the strap: I am going to try out bungees to see how they'll work with DS. He is already 25 pounds, so I imagine he may stretch things a bit, but if I can get away with it, bungees I'll do!

We have several options for having movies available. I will likely bring my small laptop (totally packable and a nice-sized screen so DD and DS1 can watch together). Portable DVD players are not very expensive, and could be useful later on in the car to Oregon or LA. I am thinking aloud here...

I'll have my Ergo for both DH and I to quickly throw on DS2 as needed, so I am likely to do that in the air if necessary (I know, it may be awkward, but it's doable).

Darcy mama to Dillon, Marah and Leo, partner to Jeremy
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#20 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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I've been away from forums for too long, Darcy... I was looking for the "like" button on your post.

But... what is a bungee?

Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#21 of 35 Old 11-03-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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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...
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#22 of 35 Old 11-04-2010, 12:37 AM
 
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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.

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#23 of 35 Old 11-04-2010, 06:14 AM
 
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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.
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#24 of 35 Old 11-04-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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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.
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#25 of 35 Old 11-05-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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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.

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#26 of 35 Old 11-08-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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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...

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#27 of 35 Old 11-09-2010, 02:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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~

Darcy mama to Dillon, Marah and Leo, partner to Jeremy
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#28 of 35 Old 11-09-2010, 03:55 AM
 
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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.

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#29 of 35 Old 11-10-2010, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


Darcy mama to Dillon, Marah and Leo, partner to Jeremy
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#30 of 35 Old 11-10-2010, 08:43 AM
 
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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. 

 

 

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