Sunday, 12 February 2017
There is this brilliant suggestion by a Singaporean mother flying 13 hours long haul. She prepared these activities in zip lock bags for two of her toddlers. Her idea of keeping them busy is also encouraging to learn and think... that's why she calls them 'montessori in a bag'.
I like that the simple things she puts in the bag are mostly cheap and easily attainable from your local dollar store.
Check it out if you are looking for inspiration to keep your little one occupied for your upcoming holiday :)
Sunday, 14 February 2016
A few weeks ago, this product trended on social media. It is a child harness which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved for the use of flying toddlers from age 1 and older.
For an instructional video, click here.
As per aviation safety requirement, children from age two years would need to purchase a seat of his/her own for the flight. And that is when in most cases, parents opt for car seat or booster depending on the child's age, weight and height.
So glad I discovered this product as my little one has turned two. And on her next flight, we hope to be able to prepare and fly with more ease than our previous experiences. While the rolling car seat seems to be a good option, I would most likely favour this child harness as it is non bulky and could be easily removed as and when she wants to lie down across more than one seat. If your child is like mine, gets a bit cleithrophobic or claustrophobic when being strapped in for longer than 30 minutes and starts doing the Houdini stunt, than this child harness might be for you too.
While we may not be able to control our child's urge to escape the shoulder straps, we could easily remove and keep the child harness when the aircraft's seat belt sign is off, allowing him/her to roam or play within the seat. Where as with the car seat, after releasing the child from it, the bulky car seat would remain occupying the aircraft seat, with no storage option on board. And when the car seat is in use, it could be more difficult for your flight neighbours or yourself to exit your row any time during the journey.
I highly recommend this product especially if you are traveling with two or more toddlers (on your own too); or if you have bought the non bulkhead seats with no extra leg room.
Click here to read more product info from the manufacturer.
Thursday, 1 October 2015
Just to share an article about a fellow mother stepping up to relieve another mother from her crying baby and carried the baby throughout the whole flight. There is hope to humanity when there is kindness. Let's offer that kindness & show empathy to other parents with their little ones on our next flight.
Click here to read the story.
Monday, 13 July 2015
Found a lovely blog which led me to another blog sharing about her experience traveling with a toddler using this :
Read about it from Holly Homer's blog.
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
This is an article by mumsnet.com I just stumbled upon yesterday. Hope this may help you further prepare for your flight with the little ones. All the best!
Wednesday, 29 April 2015
Here are two youtube clips on how to travel with two toddlers by Teeny Teh from Banana Mana TV.
Hope you find some useful info here today.
Saturday, 11 April 2015
Don't you just dread being at a long queue at the airport?
The first queue would be when you check in your luggages at the counter. Most airlines at most of the time would have a staff waiting at the end of the queue to ensure you are at the right lane. When you have a baby in tow, they will usually direct you to a special lane to help you speed up the process.
The second one would be for the immigration clearance before the boarding gates and before the baggage collection. There would either be a family lane for those with babies or an airport staff scouring these queues to bring some families with babies to the front of the line. If they don't see you, allow your baby to perform a number. That, or you could always ask the roaming staff nicely.
This is one benefit for flying with a baby. But then again, I guess they probably just don't want any noisy babies to torture everyone including the staff concentrating at their job.
Friday, 10 April 2015
At the moment, only two known airlines, Etihad and Gulfair, introduced the service of nanny-crew on board their flights. These trained crew watch out for babies before flight or during transit
While I looked for more info on these nannies, I found an interesting site, nannyintheclouds.com. It offers private hire for nannies to fly with you to your destination. Not sure how reliable they are though.
Always refer to Seatguru.com when you select your seats. It has seat plans and info for all airlines & models. When you hover your cursor over a seat, it would tell you whether it is a good seat base on the condition/location.
Beware of independent airline seat maps which promote 'good seats' as they may not be honest with their suggestions especially the budget airlines. E.g. The seat may have the leg room but may not be reclinable due to its location at emergency exit row. Seatguru.com would give a better unbiased suggestion.
Noise & Smell
The tolerance for these differs from person to person
Look out for the location of lavatories (toilets) & galleys (pantries). You may prefer to sit further away from the lavatories in case of the odour or sit close by for the ease of accessing it.
While it can be a bit noisy at the galleys but sitting near one would help you approach the crew for hot water, returning meal tray or for any immediate assistance esp. when none of the crew attended to you after you press the bell at your seat for a long while.
At the back of the aircraft, the humming engine sound is louder than the rest of the aircraft but it might help your baby sleep better. And if/when you baby cries, the engine would have muffled it a tad bit.
Seats at the bassinet/bulkhead are narrower due to entertainment tablet stowed in arm rests. These rests are fixed and cannot be lifted up.
The bassinet can be a huge help to settle baby but there could be another couple with another baby seated beside you. Due to proximity of the bassinets, one baby could disturb the other if he/she cries inconsolably.
Changing Seats Upon Boarding
Although you might have booked the bassinet seats, consider moving to a whole row of empty seats (3-4seats depending on location of seats). Sometimes handling your baby at the seats could be easier than handling him/her at the bassinet esp if in long stretch of time.
More Easy to Reach Storage
At the empty row of seats, you would have more freedom to keep bags below the 3-4 seats in front of you and/or keep items in the 3-4 seat pockets - that is a lot of storage. And if need be, you get more table surfaces too.
All of the armrests here could be lifted up
Regular but bigger than seats at the bassinet row.
You could easily pop in and out of your seat without needing to disturb your neighbour. And you won't be stuck in your seat by obstruction of the bassinet nor the entertainment screen.
Please remember that your baby would need his/her own travel documents - passport (and visa) if you are traveling overseas.
For visa, it may take a bit of time for the preparations & the processing of documents by the home office. You may need 1-3 days leave to manage
- the delivery of an urgent visa application
- biometric scan at designated post office
- interview (special cases)
In the UK, if you are in a hurry to get the visa, you can opt for the priority service which would set you back at £300 and the visa should be ready within 10 days.
Read an article about parents handing out goody bags to other nearby passengers to apologize in advance in case their baby misbehave during the flight. Brilliant idea.
Click here to see what goody bag has :)
My Baby Luggage would have this...
toys : interactive, flashing, musical,
new toy(s) - keep baby busy for longer
cloth books : could double up as pillow/cushion for baby when she sleeps
2 x changes of baby clothes
a change of parents clothes
thicker/thinner clothing - according to destination's weather
nappies (diapers) & nappy bags
changing mat : the changing table in the lavatory can be rather, small, flat and cold
pacifier/soother wipes : this is a specific type of wipes which could clean dirty pacifier, teether rings, utensils, toys, etc before your baby stick the item back into the mouth.
baby food : 3-5 types including snacks
formula milk : an option to reserve and collect from shop at terminal
milk bottles & bottle cleaner
sippy cup / beaker
infant paracetemol in ready sachets & a spoon
baby ear thermometer
baby neck pillow
Aside from the Luggage, there might also be...
stroller dust bag, bubble wrap with rubber band/tape/velcro
car seat bag
- More than 100ml allowed for baby's milk (ebm or formula) & food permitted. In some countries, you may be asked to taste or consume half.
- You could pre order ready packs of formula milk from 5 days up to 1 month before flight date.
Reserve and collect from *shop at terminal. Remember to allocate space in your hand carry to avoid overloading your burden.
- Bring bottle cleaner & many clean bottle as needed for flight.
- Some countries like United Arab Emirates (at transit shops) do not sell ready-to-drink formula milk. They only sell powder form and in big carton.
*UK based pharmacy, Boots, provides this service.
- Request for baby food for the flight during your ticket booking.
- You may need to request the pre ordered baby food from cabin crew as it may not be served automatically although it has already been ordered during booking.
- For ease of security checks, keep the baby food you prepared in clear plastic containers.
- To avoid dehydration, babies would need extra fluid during flight.
- Bring a variety of snacks including new ones as an extra distraction tactic.
Sometimes the purchase of a baby travel product would really make your journey so much easier :)
Click here to see some of the products.
There are several considerations when it comes to booking a flight.
Most people would usually prefer a direct flight but it would be wiser to opt for a route with at least one transit especially if it is a long haul. Space to walk/crawl and have a change of scenery at transit might do them & you some good. No one knows how your baby would behave throughout the flight, so transit(s) will give you a breather in case you struggle suppressing your baby from bawling. Choose to fly with an airline which has the option to transit in the middle of the trip instead of transiting too early in the journey to the final destination.
E.g. For LHR-KUL, opt for...
Emirates for minimum 17 hours flight with a minimum 2 hours transit at Dubai after flying first sector for 7 hours.
Etihad for minimum 17 hours flight with a minimum 2 hours transit at Abu Dhabi after flying first sector for 6-7 hours.
Free usage of strollers
Terminals with playrooms & baby facilities
Trained crew to watch out for babies before flight or during transit (Etihad, GulfAir, Private Hire)
Lounge Availability - class privilege or paid
Try to book a flight with estimated time of departure (ETD) which coincides with you baby sleeping time. Otherwise, you could try adjusting baby sleeping hours to the time zone of your destination a few days before your flight.
When it comes to the selection of seats, go for the bulkhead seats to benefit from the usage of bassinet. These seats are either on the first row of a cabin class, behind the lavatories (toilets) or the galleys (pantries). Not all bulkhead seats are suitable or convenient for carers to move about when caring for babies.
Click here to read more about seats consideration.
Click here to view seat map with suggestions of good seats on any aircraft type with any airline.
Infant Car Seat
If you are booking a seat for your baby (who is too tall or heavy for the bassinet), you would need to bring on board an FAA-approved infant car seat which must be forward facing & able to be secured with the normal lap seat belt. Almost all airlines require you to bring your infant car seat should you need one. Only one airline, Virgin Atlantic, have the service of infant car seat on board. Ask your airline about the seat measurement as each aircraft differs.
You can find out more about infant car seats for flying with baby from here and here.
Fare for flying with a baby without occupying is significantly less, just a fraction of the adult fare. You would have the option to use the infant seat belt attached to your adult seat belt during take off and landing.
If you are flying with a service airline (with your baby and you have one other adult traveling with you) which entitles you to the meal(s) on board, do request for either a *special meal option during booking your ticket or highlight to the crew to serve your (or your accompanying adult's) food before or after the their normal meal service when they serve everyone from the cart. This is just so one of you is available to manage the baby while the other eats. The bassinet and entertainment are enough to trap you in your little space. The food tray on your lap would be in the way and make it so much harder to attend to your baby especially if he/she is fussing.
*special meals are served to passengers some time before the normal meal are wheeled out in a cart.
*seafood, vegetarian, kosher, diabetic and etc.
- It is needed if/when you are booking a separate seat for your baby/toddler
- If it is to be brought on board for use during flight, it is not counted as baggage.
- It has to be forward facing for use on board.
- Seat model which enables lap seat belt to secure.
- Check out the width of aircraft seat. each model has slightly different specifications.
- Make sure it is *FAA approved as not all models have FAA label on them. The label is usually in red.
- Only one airline, Virgin Atlantic, provides car seat on board upon advance request.
- Consider using a car seat bag for if/when you want to check it in later
For non bulky & light option, consider this FAA opproved child harness for toddlers.
* FAA - Federal Aviation Administration
Here are some suggestions to try...
- During take off & landing, use pacifier/soother or nurse your baby. It would help your baby to ease the ear pressure.
- Offer a new toy or two. If you don't have one, ask the cabin crew for a complimentary soft toy which usually comes with the baby pack.
- Walk around with baby in carrier.
- Offer various snacks.
- Show baby the entertainment screen and put the headphones on him/her for a while.
- Offer ear plugs for on lookers.
It helps to remember that just as baby could annoy the other passengers, it could be vice versa too. In my experience the cabin crew was insensitive enough to irritate my baby. So, give yourself a break if baby act up... for a while. Other parents on board who have had traveled with babies/toddlers would empathize with you.
- Suggestion to buy a spare/cheap/light weight for travel. Leave your priced stroller/pram at home because there are many incidents of damage upon arrival.
- Be prepared that some airlines complaint department may not refund or appease you for the damage of your stroller/pram.
- If not checked in, get a tag from staff when you check in your luggages at the counter. Gate check it when you arrive at the boarding gate. Either the ground crew or the loading staff will approach you.
- When you come to the security checks, be prepared to carry or guide baby through the arches while stroller to be folded and be put through the scanner.
- Your stroller can be brought all the way to boarding gate and gate check it. Remember to empty basket before folding it for gate check. Make sure it stays close. Use Velcro if it does not.
- You may want to buy a stroller bag or bubble wrap to protect the stroller/pram.
- Some airports with free stroller use at transit or arrival but stroller may not recline.
- Usually not included as baggage allowance for most airlines.
Airlines with Free Usage of Stroller
Apparently at the moment very few airlines provide this service...
Emirates- at Dubai Airport only
Etihad- at Abu Dhabi airport only ( Terminal 3)
Qatar- At Doha airport only.
ANA - Narita, Kansa, Chubu Centrair Intl and Kamatsu.
JAL - Narita, Kansai, Chubu Centrair Intl and Kamatsu
Qantas - see below.
For more info, click here.
- Book it during ticket purchase, may not be available if not booked in advance even if your purchase seat is at the bassinet/bulkhead row.
- 11-12kg max weight of baby for most airlines, depending on aircraft model.
- Though baby may not reach the max weight but it may be long enough for baby lie in it.
- Only Qantas Airlines has the bassinet with safety restraints thus carer need not remove baby during turbulence.
- Lift entertainment tablet/screen before securing bassinet because after bassinet is in place, the tablet has no room to be lifted. But it also means once the tablet is up, it cannot be stowed until the bassinet is removed before landing.
- Request for more blankets and/or pillows for baby's comfort in bassinet.
- Some bassinet models' hinges are rather sharp. Use cushions on blanket to cover it.
Read more about the bassinets info by most airlines from here.
Cons for Seat at Bassinet Row
- Reduced width of seat due to entertainment tablet/screen kept in hand rests.
- Hand rests cannot be lifted.
- Can't place any bags at the leg room at most times esp. during take off and landing, inconvenience for not being able to have baby stuff nearby. Option to store several small items at the magazine pouch in front. Remove or relocate the magazines from the pouch asap when you board.
- People in queue for lavatory (toilet) or noise from crew working in the galley(pantry).
- For some aircraft model, the designated storage for crew/meal service items are kept at the overhead compartment on the bulkhead compartment right above the bassinet. Crew are usually oblivious to your baby sleeping when they open/close the compartment to retrieve the items.