- BOOK your seat in advance
A friend suggested I do this, and we noticed so many others had already done so when we went online. We wanted to make sure we sat together – imperative with two kids! A booking fee is charged for each leg, not for the entire flight.
- Bassinet vs seat
Check weight maximum and how many of your family can fit seated in the bassinet row. Book bassinet if you plan to use one as they are in limited supply and more families than ever are travelling by plane. Note that if there is turbulance you will be required to take your child out and buckle him into your belt – even if sleeping! We didnt use a bassinet for our one year old and it was fine, cuddly even!
- Bring snacks and entertainment for kids
Yes, you do get kids meals (made for 2-11yos) but it’s still worth bringing some healthy snacks (museli bars, crackers, fruit/nuts, little UHT straw milks) just in case. Go though security with empty water bottles and then fill them up at drinking fountains just before boarding.
Yes, you do get a little kids pack, which my son was interested in for about 2 minutes. I bought his little backpack on board with snacks, some stories to read and a couple of great sticker books (Phidel and Usbourne books make great ones). Movies are great but probably not for 15 hours straight!
- Family first boarding
Is it necessary? Not really. Why confine your children when they could have another 10 minutes of walking/running around time? However, dont be the last to board and hold up the plane either – start the flight on the right foot especially with fellow passengers!
- Ear popping and drugs
The take off and landing didn’t seem to affect the kids too much. We encouraged our three year old to take sips of water during this period and our one year old to breast feed. People may tell you drugs are a must to get through the flight. We comtemplated bringing a drug like Phenergan (sedating antihistamine) on the plane as a last resort, but we didn’t and it was fine. If you do bring it with you make sure you know how it will affect your child as it can have the opposite effect.
- Luggage weight rules
Whoever decided to change the baggage rules (from when I last flew) mustn’t have kids….Check your airlines’ baggage rules before you fly and try and weigh your bags at home! You dont want to be in a situation where you are trying to re-organise your luggage or decide what things you dont need in the middle of check in time with kids!
We mistakenly assumed that we could distribute our maximum weight per person across our luggage e.g. 60kg allowance in total for our family’s luggage. We did this so that our wheelie suitcase which is easier to carry would be the heaviest and so we could manage carrying our luggage and our children if necessary! THIS IS NOT THE CASE!! So our 25kg wheelie and our 15 kg backpack was not okay!!
Outcome? We had to take stuff out of our wheelie and put it in a plastic EXTRA bag…. (we didn’t need more bags….we had already run out of spare hands…)
Result?? We forgot about it at the other end and had to make a second trip back to the airport the next day…
Lesson learnt…. Bring less stuff or do your research/weigh in before hand.. If you cant carry it, don’t bring it!!
- Dont rely on the airline to ensure you make your connections….
Our first leg was a short domestic flight from Melbourne to Sydney. We then had to go through to the international section to board our second plane. We had arrived early for our first flight so were given the option to board an earlier domestic flight. Lucky we did, because by the time we went through security and customs we just made the international connection. If we had taken our intended flight we might not have made it!
Everyone has their own travel/ family flight experience. You will discover yours.