To date we’ve done 10 short haul flights with Ethan sitting on our laps. There has definitely been a correlation between his age/size and how difficult he is to handle. So you can only imagine how worried I was flying across the Atlantic with him… However, because he had his own seat, things were different this time.
I was a mess, I was over tired, I couldn’t lift/carry anything – I was a lame ass excuse for a human in my opinion, ask my husband, he’ll agree.
We had everything sorted though, a HUGE bag full of toys, snacks, cuddly toys, books, you name it, it was in there – (apart from an iPad). And then we had another bag full of nappies, milk, change of clothes, sudocrem, calpol… which turned out to be very lucky indeed as we ended up flying the next day, so we had another night in a Heathrow hotel with our luggage stored in Airport security!
The key to flying when 6 months pregnant with a two year old is this… get your partner to look after them. Jonny boy was amazing, he entertained, fed, changed, napped, ran around with Ethan the whole 10 hour flight, and he was a happy toddler with no tantrums. It also helps if they win over the flight attendants too, get them on your side so they bring over a constant stream of goodies, activities and treats.
The flight home was a night flight. We took off two hours late – within 20 mins of sitting on the plane Ethan had managed to fall into the footwell headfirst (which wrongly we found hilarious) hitting and cutting the back of his head. I had a looooooovely lady sitting just across the aisle warning me about all dangers of concussion (like I don’t know them already, I’m just an idiot wakeboarder after all). So it was actually lucky we sat on the runway for a couple of hours so I could keep an eye on him before we embarked on an eight hour flight across the ocean.
Just because its a night flight doesn’t mean they will sleep.
Out of the eight hours, he slept for about four of them. I didn’t get any sleep – its weird, I thought I would if the lil man was catching some shut eye. But then I couldn’t sleep because I felt like I needed to watch him incase he rolled off the seat again and also the crazy voice in my head saying ‘ what if someone takes him while I’m asleep?’ Absurd I know, but thats just parenthood for you. So while my two boys were catching flies, I got to watch The Theory of Everything and Wild in peace! It was the best flight I’ve had in ages! Just a shame I could have a few glasses of red to top off the experience.
You can take a horse to water.
On our decent into Heathrow we got the juice cup ready for Ethan to enjoy so that we could enjoy a quiet landing. That didn’t happen. He didn’t want to drink which meant his ears were killing him apparently due to the size tantrum he threw. The plane was silent and people were looking at me. I just shrugged my shoulders… we tried many times to explain to him about how having a drink would take the pain away but he wasn’t having any of it… (and even the shoving it in their mouth tactic didn’t work). Theres only so much you can do when your seatbelt has to be fastened and the child is throwing the mother of all tantrums.
Tips for flying long haul with a two year old when you don’t have an iPad:
Toys. Take lots of toys. Hide your most decent toys for a couple of weeks before you fly and then bust them out on the plane at crucial moments. Buy new toys. Wrap old toys up in wrapping paper to make them exciting again.
Snacks. Loads of their favourite stuff to offer at crucial moments to prevent tantrums etc.
Nappies. If they are still in nappies then make sure you have loads in case you were stuck at the airport over night unexpectedly with no luggage and your car in long-term parking.
Clothing. See above tip.
Stickers. Activity packs / sticker books / colouring in. By the time we’d landed, our window area had been redecorated. We cleaned it before we left though – aren’t we nice.
Kids Meal. Pre order a kids meal. We never got ours on the way out due to flying a day later but the air hostesses threw together a nice little food tray to make up for it.
Cartoons. Show them how to play the TV and find their favourite cartoons ASAP.
Was it all worth it…. absolutely.