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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're going to fly from SF to Frankfurt Germany in September, that is me and my 21 mo dd. I've flown with her before, but not that far and not recently, and not alone


I have some Q's:
1.what carseat is easy to carry on, use on a plane and then use in cars at the destination? My Britax is just waaaay too big to schlepp.

2. what in the world could I entertain her with for 11 hours?? what toys would you bring?

3. she is pretty much potty trained, but airplane toilets?? Yuck!! Plus they're teeny! What can I do? I have yet to see a bigger toilet space or one for handicaps.

4. how can I get her to sleep? I did buy her a seat, so I don't have to hold her that long.

5. how do you dismantling the stroller, a squirmy kid, luggage check, taking your shoes off and assembling all again during security check??

6. How can you get a good seat? They tell me I'm supposed to be doing that at the gate, but what if they gave them all away already (as usual?)
 

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I'm about to take a long flight out of SFO with my 24 month old so I don't "KNOW" so much as "have collected" this info (plus I'm hoping that by replying to your post, the Gods of Travel will smile upon us both!)

1. Car Seat: A good friend swears by her Sit and Stroll - it works as both a stroller and car seat.

2. Toys & Entertainment.: There have been a few good posts about travel lately - check the archives and you're bound to find some good stuff. One suggestion I plan to use is the travel Magnadoodle. We are also planning to bring a portable DVD player.
It worked frighteningly well on a long car trip recently. My son is always interested in the non-toy stuff. Airsick bags, those cheap headphones, and the awful shopping magazine are all good fodder!

3. Lav: I'm hoping you get some good advice on this one - we're just potty learning at our house and while he's doing great, he fears all outside toilets. I have a portable/foldable seat for him but other than sitting on it at home, he's refused to use it. I think the size of the loo may depend on the size of the plane.

4. Sleep: At some point the plane will get quiet and dark. I'd whip out her blankie or whatever sleep lovely she uses and hope that she's just tuckered out enough to drift off.

5. Airport Obstacle Course: Wear slip on shoes and travel as light as possible! I found on our last flight that most folks were very nice about patiently waiting for us and the airport staff bumped me up to the front of most lines. People who get cranky and shoot you bad looks are just nasty and bad and give you a reason to feel morally superior.

6. Securing a Good Seat: Check out www.seatguru.com (you'll need to know the kind of plane you're traveling on) and then call and request a specific seat. If the person on the phone gives you a hard time, I'd just keep calling back and as nicely as possible explain that you're traveling alone with a young child. Ask to speak to a supervisor if necessary. They CAN bend those rules, you just have to find someone who is willing. If that doesn't work, try to get to the airport as early as you can stand it and beg for good seats.

Good luck!

deb
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Deb-
Thanks so much for your reply! You have some very good info here. Hopefully we'll get some more replies.
Seatguru is an awesome site!
Where in SF are you? I'm in the Presidio.
 

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We flew to Hawaii recently (two 6 hour flights, so about 13 hours total including taxiiing) with a 25 month old and a 3 year old, and I was 16 weeks pregnant.
- The portable DVD player with an additional battery and a backpack filled with food is what got us through it. Also a few new books and small toys that she hasn't seen yet are a good idea.
- And bringing a kid-sized potty-seat to put on the grown-up sized toilet is the only way the 3 year old would use the airplane toilets.
- Cheap umbrella stroller that's easy to fold and not expensive in case the baggage handers ruin it.
- We just brought a cheaper Graco carseat for the 2 year old that would fit anywhere and is lightweight and isn't too expensive in case stuff got spilled on it, etc. We rented the second carseat for the 3 year old from the rental car company when we arrived.
- wear comfortable shoes for walking, and bring an extra set of clothing for both of you in case of spills/accidents.
 

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Hello!

I live in Germany, just made the trip alone with my 2 yo. UGGH! I hope you aren't flying delta. I do not recommend it. The best airlines to fly that we have found are Lufthansa and British Air -BA is at the TOP of my list.

Don't bash me but nix the car seat. It's a really long flight and dc will want to get up and walk or run around as much as possible. If you end up having to hold her you won't have the seat next to you for extra space.

CALL NOW or go online and reserve your seats. Get 2 together by a window. You can change diapers and clothes there in privacy and if dc is up for standing up etc... you will disturb less people. Make sure you avoid the emergency rows. We actually got booked in one and we weren't allowed to board until we were given seats we could legally occupy. We didn't get re-assigned two seats alone. (luckily it was only a short connecting flight)

I brought sippy cups for both me and ds. That way I knew my drink wouldn't end up where I didn't want it. You may want to consider bringing your own food as well. A rowdy toddler and a tray of hot food do not mix. You could probably pre-order a cold meal but I'm not sure. It sounds silly but turkey and cheese sandwiches or whatever will be soooo much better and available when you need it.

Basically, I had to hold ds while he cried himself to sleep. There was soooo much going on it was the only way. Avoid getting seats near the back where the staff takes a break. On long flights, the crew take turns resting. We were right next to these seats and the flight attendant constantly reminded us of this.

You can check the stroller at the gate, they will put a tag on it when you check your luggage and someone will take it right before you actually board the plane. They will return it to you at the same place. The Guys in Frankfurt are GREAT!!! If you don't need the stroller you may just want to check it with your luggage. It will be one less thing to get through security. I recommend letting dc run around and boarding the plane last. It will be a few less minutes she is penned in an airplane seat. (the ones on overseas flights are really, really small)

You can put the arm rest between the two seats up so dc can nap on your lap.

Highly recommend dvd player for the flight if you can get your hands on one. I got lot's of new toys for our flight to the states and it worked out great. Nothing worked on the way back and it was non-stop fussing the whole way. I thought it was going to be a piece of cake because it was his regular nap time and sleep times but no go. I had new toys for on the way back to germany and it didn't help in the long run.

Hopefully your flight won't be completely booked and there will be space to have dc run around.

Have a great trip!!!! GOOD LUCK!!!
 

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When I traveled with my older daughter alone, I used a sling and didn't bother with the stroller. It was pretty darn fast that way through the airport. I last used it with her when she was 3, and I was amazed at how easy it was. The last time I flew, I had 2 kids and a back injury, so I decided to bring the stroller and gate check it. So of course we ended up disembarking down metal stairs onto the tarmac, and then had to go up another set of metal stairs and there I am with a toddler a 5 year old, a carseat, carry-ons and a stroller.
Then our flight got diverted because it couldn't land at my airport and I had to take all that stuff plus my two checked bags onto a shuttle bus to the hotel. So the stroller trick didn't work like I thought it would, but I couldn't have done it without the stroller anyway.

I have had some bad times flying--I now basically factor $100 for a hotel in the connecting city into my travel budget.

I agree with the carseat suggestion. If you need to bring it, you can check it and not have to deal with carrying it onto and off of the plane. I've done it both ways--toddler in the carseat, toddler just in a seatbelt. The carseat--I also have a Britax-- was bulky and took up some room, but she could sit up higher and fall asleep in it. So it's a toss up, really, but having to take it through the airport was rather a pain, and there is more room in the seats without it.

Pack some interesting stuff for her in her own carry-on. There have been some great suggestions here, but my kids like having their own little backpacks with stuff so they can trade it in and out and get new things out--that occupies some time. Also back something like a favorite blanket or pillow if she has one. That might make it easier for her to go to sleep, plus it can get cold on the flights (or hot, it never seems to be in the middle for me).
 

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I've done this flight several times and it's not the end of the world (easy to say in retrospect!) Everyone else has given great suggestions. My older son never liked his carseat (just wanted to snuggle in my lap) on the plane so we would check it, sometimes at the gate to insure arrival if transferring planes. I would use the umbrella stroller to hold the carseat, have a backpack on and the baby in the sling. I looked a bit like a packmule but it was worth it.

I never had any issues going thru security, most people are extremely accomodating and if they aren't, please just put them out of your head and concentrate on your beautiful babe.

As for entertainment, we loved having the dvd player, dollar store toys are a favorite or trade with a friend to have something new. We always tried to bring a small favorite and then several small new toys, same goes for snacks. Sometimes the newness really stretched out and bought more time than we expected.

My boys generally fall asleep nursing or laying in the sling- just make sure you go potty, never know how long you won't be able to move a muscle!

Oh, I saw a travel size kids potty seat in One Step Ahead that folds very flat. It looked perfect for your situation. We were still in diapers at the time. Nothing like changing a HUGE poopy diaper while your kiddo is balancing on the tiniest toilet seat!

Also, Frankfurt has a great playground inside the airport by the food court that got out lots of energy. All airports should be required to have this!!!

Have fun and good luck, Maris
 

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I would bring your carseat - on a flight that long there is bound to be turbulence and it would also be nice, if your dd fell asleep in the carseat, you could stretch your legs, go to the bathroom, sleep, eat, etc. We just took my 2 1/2 niece on a 5 hour plane ride and her carseat was a lifesaver. She was used to it, so she sat in it most of time, slept a lot and was easy to read, color, and eat in.
 

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The last time we flew our youngest was 3. Our flight was only 5 1/2 hours total. We scheduled the flight for an early a.m. departure so she was very tired and slept through the flight until our stopover. Then the rest of the flight she was easily distracted with pretzels, goldfish, sticker books, toys, looking out the window.
I took all new toys so she would be attracted to the newness of them and it lasted for a long time. We also bought a couple tiny toys in the airport.

My daughter was potty trained too but I ended up having to put a pull up on her on the plane and in the airports.
She hated those toilets and they freaked her out because they were different and too noisy.

If you allow your child to watch videos then you could take along a portable DVD player. We took one but never needed it.
 

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Hi,
Been there, done that!

Are you flying a red-eye? Those are the best cus youre flying during your kiddo's usual sleepy time. Most airlines do red-eye flights from the US to Europe but not coming back, due to the time change.

The catalogue www. onestepahead.com sells foldable travel potty seats for putting over the adult sized toilet seat. They fold up into the diaper bag.

I traveled alone with DS, then 13 mo, to England from CO last summer (11 total hours
: ). I brought books that had lots of detailed pictures, not just a story, so we could spend lots of time saying "Whats that? Where's the bunny? Where's the ladybug?" instead of just reading the story over and over. I also vote strongly for bringing a Travel MagnaDoodle. I just did a drive from Denver to Canada (2 14-hour days of driving) with DS and he loved his little magna-doodle. Just don't bring something with little pieces that will get lost or things that roll and may roll under your seat. Also nix any toys with annoying sounds; you'll get nothing but death stares from your fellow passengers.
Emergency bribery snacks!!!!!!! Dont forget these. Bring something that your kiddo doesn't usually get - in my case it was Froot Loops. Use wisely for moments when NOTHING else works. I recommend yogurt-covered raisins also.

Definitely ask to be seated in the bulkhead aisle if possible; you're close to the lavatories for potty emergencies and they also have more legroom, and you can possibly let your kiddo play on the floor by your feet if you're desperate. Ask for a window seat so kiddo can look out the window too. DS had fun spotting all the huge freight liners as we crossed the atlantic on the way home. I saw a whale once, and you'll likely see icebergs.

How much does your kiddo weigh? If your babe is 22 lbs or less you can reserve a bassinette, which attaches to the wall of the bulkhead. If you reserve one, they HAVE to seat you in the bulkhead. My son slept in the bassinette for a good 3 hours on our flight across the Atlantic.

Ask flight attendants for help if you need it! I found they were a ton of help when i flew alone with DS. They brought him those little wings from the pilot, gave him packets of wet wipes to play with and old magazines to rip up, brought juice and filled his sippy cups for me and even held him while i went to the bathroom. Just ask! International flight attendants are usually really nice and very patient.

i carried DS in a Sutemi Gear carrier on my front around the airports and it worked beautifully. It has a pocket in the front just the right size for passport and plane tickets and stuffs right into the diaper bag.

Have a great trip!!!

Lisa
 

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great ideas, i'm headed out on a 6hr with my dd & ds: dizzy : . i'm nervous about how my ds was going to handle it but you all have some great ideas!
 

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:

We'll be travelling from Croatia to New Zealand on Malaysia Airlines (thats Zagreb-Amsterdam, Amst-Kuala Lumpur, KL-Auckland, about 24 hours flying time + 8 hours in airports
: ) for Christmas with DD, who will be 18 months by then. I'll be doing the return trip without DH

I've done the trip several times before, but not with a babe and not without DH. I'm pretty scared actually.
Good to see some more suggestions, so thanks guys! Anyone travelled (with kids) with Malaysia Airlines before? Am I gonna be OK???????????
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
sproutbabe that's a huge trip!
I', so greatful to all the mamas here for all their wonderful ideas. I haven't figured out if I should take the carseat yet or not, she really sleeps well in it, better than in my arms, since my buttcheeks will just fall asleep with her on me

I'm also pregnant now I just found out a few days ago, due end of March 07...
There are such great ideas here in this forum, I can just play out the scenarios in my head before the trip.

Oh, what is a Magna Doodle and where can I get it?
I do like the idea of DVD's, even though dd has only watched maybe 5 DVD's so far, we do not really do TV with her, but maybe it will have that novelty effect that you were talking about.
We will fly United non-stop. Orignally I wanted to fly Lufthansa, but they were hilariously expensive when I was looking and then within two week of buying my tickets with United, they had a sale
: Oh well.

Bribery snacks are more tricky for us, since she has a gigantic list of food allergies and can't even eat fruit except for bananas, which she's tired of. I'll think of something though.

Does that ever happen to you that you pack a ton of stuff to eat for your babe and then forget your own needs? I'll have to remember to bring my own stuff too


I have a non-folding toilet seat from Baby Bjorn, but it's pretty bulky. I've heard that the folding ones can feel unstable and can pinch baby skin??!
 

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1.what carseat is easy to carry on, use on a plane and then use in cars at the destination? My Britax is just waaaay too big to schlepp.

Cosco Scenara, $40 at Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc. Weighs only 10 lbs, fits in my stroller (a chicco london), has LATCH, RF to 35 lbs, ff to 40 lbs. Great seat, the only seat we use when we travel on planes. We keep the Britax bolted down in the van for driving.


2. what in the world could I entertain her with for 11 hours?? what toys would you bring?

mini magnadoodle ($5 at Target), a few plastic easter eggs you can put random things in, go to the dollar store and get anything and everything that looks interesting - matchbox cars, plastic animals, paper/crayons, glow sticks, books, anything, and because it's all $1 if you lose something, it's not terrible. We had magnetic letters and nesting cups and other things too. small and lightweight, I put each set of things in a ziplock bag in my carryon to keep them a little organized.

3. she is pretty much potty trained, but airplane toilets?? Yuck!! Plus they're teeny! What can I do? I have yet to see a bigger toilet space or one for handicaps.

ah, they are cleaned, just tiny. do you have a seat insert you can put in the carryon? on the BIG planes (you'll probably be on a 767 going to Frankfurt) there IS at least one large stall, big enough for seniors with a walker to move around in, not big enough for a wheelchair. There might be 2 large restrooms, one in each galley between the sections.

4. how can I get her to sleep? I did buy her a seat, so I don't have to hold her that long.

Put her carseat in RF if she's still under the weight limit. You will have a better time amusing her if she can face you and talk to you, and you will be able to soothe her if she gets fussy, pet her hair, etc. to help her sleep. the roar of the engines and the excitement will take it's toll, she WILL go to sleep. If you are still nursing, feel free to nurse her to sleep and then move her into the carseat, just make sure you buckle her in, bouncing babies in turbulence is not a safe way to fly!

5. how do you dismantling the stroller, a squirmy kid, luggage check, taking your shoes off and assembling all again during security check??

Birkenstocks. Mei tai or Ergo. Put EVERYTHING on the stroller (I usually put the car seat on the stroller, the carry on and purse on the car seat) and the baby on your back. When you get to security, you take off your shoes, put them, and your purse (and a jacket if you have one) in the bin, send it through, then put the carry on bag up on the belt, then the car seat, then the stroller. Finally you take baby off, throw the sling through the machine too, and IF baby is willing to walk unassisted through the metal detector (haha!) they prefer that. Or you can carry baby. Make sure you dno't put your boarding passes on the belt, you need to show those to TSA.

Also, you can get a gate pass from the ticket agent for someone to walk with you to your gate to assist you. This can be your spouse, or whomever drops you at the airport.

At the endof the security point, take your time getting situated again. They won't rush you out of the way, they will hand you your stroller and unfold it for you, they are very helpful, especially if you ask.

Also, you don't have to wait in the LONG line, when you travel with kids you can take the employee/first class line to get to the xray machine.

6. How can you get a good seat? They tell me I'm supposed to be doing that at the gate, but what if they gave them all away already (as usual?)

You reserve your seat with the airline when you buy the ticket. You can NOT sit in an emergency exit row with a car seat, you MUST sit on the sides of the plane with the car seat against the window, and on the international flights you'll be in a 2-3-2 or 2-4-2 setup, so you adn baby will have a 2 seat next to the window. There really aren't any "good" seats other than that, and you can preboard the plane first with baby to have a few minutes to set the car seat up (they might give you a hard time RF a car seat, tell them it's within the paramaters of the seat and they should leave you alone), the first row against the galley might have a little more leg room.

Also, make sure you take TONS of snacks and juice/water/whatever to drink. The flight attendants will come by with your meal service but then will leave water/juice/soda in the galley for you to help yourself during hte flight. Have portable snacks - finger foods, nonmessy fruit, etc. and things that might be novel - freezedried fruits, things you don't usually feed your kids, like junk! etc.

We just invested in a dvd player for a 2.5 week car drive, and it was totally worth it, though dd had a chance to watch signing time dvds on the laptop on our 11 hr flight, and she wanted nothing to do with it.

Also, it seems the max timespan for kids is 5-6 hrs, and then ALL the kids on the plane will be running around and going nuts.
So don't feel bad when yours joins in. Flights east are done at night, west during the day, so you will go at night and come home during the day, so it might be not as hard as you think, she may sleep a good portion of hte way there.

Don't be afraid to ask for help - they will be glad to give it!
 

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Nani, take the car seat! I just read your last post, and trust me, you dn't want to hold her the entire time.


Magna doodle is a magnetic drawing board that erases, no mess, they come in a litlte 6" size and 9" and a huge lap size.

My dd has awful food allergies too, so we had to be specific about what we packed and what we ate on the plane. If you request a kosher meal or fruit plate, you will get a HUGE serving of fruit for you, adn the kosher meals are all dairy free. You could pack meals for dd and eat both her and your plane meals.

What are her allergies, maybe I can help you come up with some new snacks to take.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
wow, lisa, you have some of the DEFINITIVE answers here!
I'll definitely head to the Dollar store, we just don't have any Target, Walmart, etc. anywhere close by here, so it will be a trip for us
 

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Hehe Nani, we fly a lot, dh travels for work VERY often, and my inlaws work for Continental... so between his trips that we tag along, and using their buddy passes, we've done many many short flights and a handful of LOOOONNG ones.

Feel free to pm me if you have any specific questions/concerns, I'm not always great about getting back to read threads!
 
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