It's been a long time since I have had to fly by myself. I remember being rather nervous about this as I was heading off to University to "discover the world" on my own. Now I was flying alone with my son...on a 9 hour flight! I know that he is pretty good with flying as we have done two trips so far to Italy but that is a two hour flight and such a different thing. My son finds it soooo difficult to sit still so my imagination was running a bit wild thinking of being stuck on a plane for 9 hours with little options of places to go. Now he can walk as well he tends to exercise his right to do so.
So my recent post on facebook was "one boy, one mum and a 9 hour flight" with 24 hours to prepare I was asking for a bit of advice. I got a pretty interesting list some which made a lot of sense and some slightly more controversial and of course some which were humorous:
- Lots and lots of snacks.
- Books and toys.
- Be prepared to walk up and dow the aisles.
- Something for the ear clogging.
- Use your flight attendants...especially if you need the loo.
- Carry lots of nappies...lots more than you think you will need.
- Child friendly head phones for watching TV.
- Don't let him sleep in the airport
- DPH (controversial)
- Drink lots of rum punch (humorous...I think?)
Anyway needless to say that my carry on bag was pretty full...maybe even heavier than my luggage. Most of it as well came in handy! We had a short flight from Glasgow to Gatwick which went without a hitch. Phew stage one over. Gatwick airport is great as they are nice and child friendly (at least I was treated well) and have a special lane to get you through security without I guess having to worry about other impatient passengers. My son them promptly loved running around the airport. The play area there is a great idea but he quickly got bored...I don't think it was made for a 5 hour stop over! So the plan of not sleeping in the airport quickly eroded as mummy became a bit tired.
I was surprised at how quickly the 9 hour flight arrived. Eek! If your wondering no I did not give him any DPH. After travelling with Ryan air to Italy though, travelling with British Airways kind of felt like travelling first class. I was put at ease from the start with smiling air hostesses who were ready to do my bidding! I also travelled with a very good mindset of we had every right to be there as every other passenger. I had reserved a bulk head seat, got my "bassinet" (British airways offer a toddler friendly seat which can be attached to the bulk head which meant no sleeping in my arms...amen!) and was ready to go. I managed to get my son to nap whenever I was eating which was great! It might not have been a rum punch but the cold beer went down a treat. I refused to fight with him when he wanted to walk up and down the aisle and I think this sense of freedom made the whole flight a lot easier! Other passengers were actually pretty friendly and everyone is ready to chat to a cute baby instead of having to listen to the miserable ones who were being forced to stay in their seats. There were moments as well when he was happy to sit in my lap and read through books and sing songs and even just sit on the floor and play with his toys! We did have a few groans but the snacks worked great for that and I'm afraid I did let him have his dummy throughout the flight.
Our arrival in Jamaica was made a bit tiring by the heat and having to manage a lot of luggage and a baby but then once we were out of the airport there were the smiling grandparents on the other end! Phew I survived...now I just have to manage the jet lag!