Heading overseas with the little ones? The plane journey is every mum’s nightmare but ladies you can get through it! Here are my top 10 tips to survive a long haul flight with 2 kids solo!
I have flown to London with my two kids twice…solo. My daughter is a toddler and my son is 5 next month.
My family are in London and I visit them every year. Sometimes my husband can’t fly with me because of work so I just have to get on with it.
No it wasn’t pretty, the first time I cried in the toilet at one point. Yes I wanted the pilot to turn the plane around mid-flight and take us back but I got through it.
When we finally got to London I was expecting a marching band, the media and a gold medal. It was a huge feeling of relief and pride! We made it and it does get easier every time.
Here are some tips to get you through the longest journey of your life!
First solo trip – why am I smiling?
Top 10 Tips to Survive a Long Haul Flight with 2 Kids Solo
1. Take a night flight if you can
For obvious reasons! Hopefully your children will sleep because they will be tired anyway. Try to stick to the routine, brushing teeth, bedtime story etc; to get them settled.
2.. Check in early
Make sure you get there in plenty of time so you are not
stressed even more stressed.
As soon as I check in I ask how busy the flight is and I explain that I am travelling with two kids by myself. Depending on the airline, staff will go out of their way to help you which is always the experience I have had with Thai Airways.
They are more equipped to assist you if you arrive early.
3. Book a stopover
We normally fly via Thailand because sometimes we have a holiday there on the way home.
I always book the Louis Tavern Day Rooms in Suvarnabhumi Airport. Yes it’s very basic but it’s literally somewhere to put your head down for a few hours, have a shower and let the kids run around for while. They also offer a free hot meal on arrival.
There are probably nicer hotels just outside the airport but I couldn’t bear the thought of going through customs with the kids and getting them on a bus etc;
Louis Tavern is located within the airport on the 4th Floor, International Departure Hall, concourse G.
Second solo flight – still smiling!
4. Use a baby carrier
I always take an Ergo baby carrier because it is the most comfortable I have used. Wearing your baby close to you is the perfect way to keep bub comforted on a long haul trip as you wade through the minutia of the airport.
Bub can sleep and feed to oblivion while you deal with airport security, luggage and an over-zealous preschooler!
A small fold-up pram always comes in handy too and you can check them in for free. It’s good to have both options!
5. Dress your child in bright clothes
I am super-vigilante at the airport and on high alert but as you know if you take your eyes off your child for a second they can sometimes wander off. Bright clothes will ensure that you can spot them easily.
I have been known to use a child harness too! Whatever gets you through right?
6. Pack snacks
My son cannot bear the airplane food so I always make sure to pack food he loves. Homemade bread, cereal bars, pasta and cheese pockets are great because they are easy to pack and fine at room temperature. Anything that’s not too messy!
Also pack some treats for a distraction, sometimes you need a trick up your sleeve!
I pack M&Ms, bite size cookies, Snakes and cereal bars. A little box of raisins is a god-send, it keeps them entertained! Lollipops are a good treat and the sucking will help their ears ‘pop’ on take off and descent.
Obviously don’t overload on the sugar but it’s a long flight and you need to keep meltdowns to a minimum!
It’s all about the entertainment!
Top 10 Tips to Survive a Long Haul Flight with 2 Kids Solo
7. Keep essentials close
I always keep baby Paracetamol or Nurofen, nappies, wipes, bibs, emergency pull-ups disposable bibs and a change of clothes as close as possible. Having to get out of your seat to get something from the overhead luggage is like mission impossible and best avoided.
You never know when an accident is going to happen so be prepared. My son sometimes has them a night so I’ll pop a pull-up on just in case. There is nothing worse than dealing with wet clothes, a sleeping child and a sleeping baby mid-flight.
FYI, you can never have enough clothes, wipes or nappies and extra clothes for you too!
8. Keep the kids entertained
Look for play areas within the airport, they can have a play while you have a coffee and recharge Ipads etc; There are play areas in Suvarnabhumi Airport at Concourses B and D.
There is a family lounge at Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 with play areas for ages 0-2 and 3-9, a children’s quiet room, a Game Zone for children aged 10 – 15, coffee and soft drink vending, and comfortable seating for adults. There is a discreet area for nursing mothers.
There are also Mr Adventure Stay & Play areas located at Terminals 2, 4 and 5. With slides, soft play areas and separate baby and junior zones, there’s plenty to keep young ones entertained and exercised. Mr Adventure colouring-in and activity sheets are also available
I always buy a few toys for the plane, nothing expensive and wrap them up so they can open them like presents and I stagger them throughout the flight.
My son has an Ipad which I load up with games and videos pre-flight – make sure it is fully charged before boarding, there are docks in most airports (you can also charge on the flight too) and invest in child-friendly headphones so as not to annoy other passengers and yourself! The in-flight video games and movies were also a winner.
As a side note it’s good to give your child a backpack for all their little toys and snacks. It makes them feel responsible and saves you carrying them!
I get my daughter sticker books, Post-Its, soft toys, drawing books, a magna-doodle and I’ll load baby apps on my Ipad for her.
Extra seat space = gold!
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
As soon as I get on the plane I check the seating arrangements, If I need extra seats I’ll ask.
If there is a row on the plane with extra seats they will move me or even swap other passengers so I have more space. I always end up flying with an extra seat or two which is equivalent to winning the lotto!
If you need to go to the loo and the kids are sleeping ring that bell and get someone to watch the kids. Also if I have to walk bub up and down the plane to sooth her and my son is playing video games I’ll grab an air stewardess to sit with him.
If I need water, nuts, a sandwich…anything..I’ll ring that bell! It’s their job and you need all the help you can get.
10. Book assistance
Make sure you ask the airline if they have a ‘meet and assist’ service to help you through immigration and collecting luggage.
I also book the porter service at Heathrow airport for £10. Porters are available on terminal forecourts and in baggage reclaim halls.
On your departure they will meet you on the forecourt and escort your luggage to the check-in desk.
On your return journey they will meet you by the carousel and take you and your luggage to a point of transport or a waiting relative.
That moment when your son finally falls asleep just as you’re about to get off the plane!
Last but not least…
Look after yourself
You need lots of energy to survive the flight so make sure you eat, rest when you can and drink lots of water. I’m a blood clot survivor so I always do a couple of laps of the plane every hour just to keep the blood circulation going.
I hope my Top 10 Tips to Survive a Long Haul Flight with 2 Kids Solo will help you! Remember the time goes much faster because you have so many things to deal with which is a bonus!
If you have any tips to share please feel free to leave in the comments below. I would love to hear them!