Flying survival guide

Ok so I’m not going to sit at my mac, act all holier than thou trying to make out that I know all there is to know about flying with children. I’m not an expert but what I do have is a whole lot of experience. LPV made his first long haul flight at  6 months, do I enjoy flying with children? Umm..NO but it’s a question of having too. On average we make 6 plane journeys a year, 4 long haul, 2 short.  I actually prefer the long haul as you can get comfy, rather than a quick up and down. Now, for someone who has severe aeroplane narcolepsy flying with my kids is torture. The minute I set foot on a plane I want to sleep. Before kids I would sit and  before we had taken off I’d be in dreamland….NOW I have to make sure he’s sorted, she’s sorted, ear phones are working, they’ve eaten, they drank, they’ve been to the toilet (which they usually need the minute I close my eyes). Family holidays we usually tag team as EPD knows I could fall asleep at any minute but when we go on our summer escape I’m always  flying solo.


  1. Think carefully about your flight timings

What works for some may not work for you, just because Tarquin’s Mammy (and her 20 million family members she fly’s over to help her on the one journey) fly during the day and they fly direct and that works for them, doesn’t mean it will work for you. I personally hate flying direct I like to know when I’ve finished my journey the folks will be there to pick me up in Brissle and I’ll have a cup of tea in my hand within 20 mins. I prefer to fly via Amsterdam, the kids get a break after 6 hours to stretch their legs, then we are only an hours away from our home town.  No KLM doesn’t have same ring as “oh we always fly Emirates darling” However I can’t fault them, they are attentive and helpful, especially to families.  And they don’t cost the earth either.

We always fly at night too, a freaking nightmare for some? Yes but for me I now have a wee routine , kids go to bed at 6/7 we wake them up to leave for the airport, they run around like looneys at said airport, board the plane, watch a bit of TV/ipad for 30 minutes then they sleep for 4-5 hours. Yes I get odd looks about kids walking around in their PJ’s but I don’t care, If I could wear my pj’s on a plane I would.

2. Food Glorious Food

If you have fussy eaters like I do  it’s best to pack your own snacks. I usually bring cereal bars, croissants, bananas, few treats and have plenty of water. This also helps if you’re delayed, as airport prices are not exactly cheep. There’s no point worrying if they’re eating junk all night, you are not going to be able to control it so just don’t try. Mine usually get some sort of treat fast food meal at the airport, this also mean’s I don’t have to disturb them if they are sound asleep. Oh and another positive, you can also steal the snacks too….

3. Be comfortable

Like I said, my children wear their pj’s on the flight. You sleep better when you’re comfortable I think, nothing worse than the button of your jeans sticking right into your tummy. I personally still do wear my jeans, cos ain’t nobody wants to see Mammy  in her joggers!! I usually bring a one of Miss C’s wee pillows as the plane ones are like thin pieces of card, children’s bedtime friends are a must too, especially when flying at night. If you have a “sleep routine” in the words of Princess Anna “let it go, let it go” It’s not going to happen. If they don’t sleep?……….Well that moves me on to the next point.

4. It’s all about the entertainment

There is no denying that Emirates do have the better inflight entertainment but  hey ho, what can you do! There is always something on that they’ll watch. Invest in a pair of decent, volume control kids headphones. That way you won’t be trying to clip a pair of standard earphones on to tiny ears right in the middle of the crucial part of your movie. Fully charge ipads, nintendos, and phones. Have a mix of games that will work without wifi as only certain airlines have it. Sticker books,  dot to dot and some lego men. I will be bringing a couple of our favourite Roald Dhal book for our impending journey to Australia. The kids will sit for a good while to listen to those. A favourite game is dobble (we have the Star Wars one), small enough for your handbag, you don’t need masses of space and it’s fun too.

5. Alone

The last one I can’t stress the importance of enough. I like to pretend I’m on my own plane in a non asshole type way If you worry about other people around you you’ll drive yourself insane. Yes it’s a nightmare when baby is screaming and you can’t stop them, yes it’s upsetting when you see people shaking their head, tutting and judging. However…take a big deep breath and think up yours!! You’ve paid just as much money to fly, just because you have children with you doesn’t make you less entitled to be there. This is their issue not yours, if you get anxious then baby/child/children will follow suit then the only thing that will happen is you rocking in a corner of the plane with a bottle of vodka. However on the other hand, If your children are behaving behaving badly, correct their behaviour!!! As your letting the rest of us parents down!!

Just remember its only a small chunk out of your life and once you get to where you need to go, it’ll be grand!

So wish me luck for our 14.5 hours to Sydney next week!

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