As the British summertime has failed to show it’s face so far, we’re flocking to lastminute.com to bag that bargain break in the sun. For most of us, that once a year plane trip fills us with excitement and takes us back to those childhood butterflies as we prepare for take off!
Though, especially for long haul travellers, there’s nothing that quite takes the shine off than being lumbered with a seat in ear shot of a shrieking baby. Even more so, as parents of a distressed little flyer, we cringe with embarrassment as we struggle to setlle them with 20 aisles of beady eyes looking on.
You’d think most people had never seen a crying baby before!
So we came up with our top tips on ensuring your little holiday bundle has a pleasant flight, giving you, and your fellow passengers a comfortable ride…
• Pack a towel in your hand luggage that you can use for changing nappies in the toilet. There is just enough room in the onboard toilet to change a baby on the folded-down toilet seat, but be sure to hang on to them, in case of sudden turbulence.
• Bob some sanitised bags in too – dirty nappies can be disposed of in the bin in the toilet, but your fellow passengers will thank you for going the extra mile to minimise the smell.
• Some airlines now provide infant seats that are used during the flight (but not during take-off or landing, when your child must be strapped in, either with you or on a safety seat). These are free of charge, but check their availability when you book your tickets, don’t leave it until you arrive at the airport. Numbers are limited and they’ll be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Obviously, you’re more likely to get one if you travel off-season.
• You can take child safety seats on to the plane for your baby to sit in, but if you choose this option, you’ll have to pay for a child-fare seat. Most car safety seats can be belted onto a plane seat and this will be a more comfortable, though more expensive, way of travelling than having a baby fidgeting on your knee for a few hours. For toddlers, a Bubble Bum Booster Seat comes in it’s own handy backpack perfect for travelling. A Travel Cushion is also a great way of keeping baby cosy and secure whilst in transit!
• Try to book flights at off-peak times so the plane won’t be so crowded. Despite check in times, arrive at least an hour and a half before your flight time. This way, if the plane is not fully booked and you are travelling with a child on your lap, you can ask the attendant at the front desk if they could keep the seat in front of you free. This will reduce inconvenience to other passengers who may well be kicked in the back or have their seat rocked backwards and forwards during the journey. We’ve all been there!
• If baby is easily unsettled, try rubbing a knotted hanky over you to transfer your scent and let baby hold this on the journey. Not only will it give them something to chew on if they are teething, it will act as a comforter too.
• Ear popping is a common (and annoying) side affect of being up in the clouds. If a child is suffering from ear pain, symptoms will include increased screaming and obvious discomfort. A quick pain reliever is a handkerchief or paper towels soaked in hot water and placed in the bottom of a plastic cup. Hold this gently against baby’s ear to alliviate the pain.
A Bite In Flight
• Eating an aeroplane meal on the tiny fold down table is hard enough. Doing so with a baby on your lap is virtually impossible. Ask a flight attendant if they provide ‘brown bag’ food, such as sandwiches and fruit, which you can eat with one hand. Better still, order snacks when you book your seat. If they don’t provide it, bring your own snacks (but check with the airline regarding current food restrictions).
• Though many do, not every airline will be able to heat bottles for you, so several weeks before travelling, start giving your baby some cold milk or unwarmed baby food occasionally so they become accustomed to it.
In Flight Entertainment
• Take a selection of finger puppets, pop-up toys, toys with moving parts and if possible a toy with a rubber suction cup that will stick to the in-flight tray – this will keep them amused for hours
• Block the gap under the seat with a pillow or blanket, or you’ll spend the entire flight rooting about to pick up dropped toys: not easy in such cramped conditions
• Even teeny babies need to move about on planes, so pick them up and carry them up and down the aisle periodically. Moving about will help your circulation too!
• These adorable Baby Backpacks not only prevent you from losing little ones at the airport, but make for great entertainment and a comforting toy whilst onboard!
Wherever you’re jetting off to, prepare in advance to ensure you and baby have a happy flight!