Nothing signals the need for a holiday more than becoming parents. During those sleepless nights with a newborn or getting through endless mountains of laundry, you dream of any kind of getaway that involves a pool and a cocktail.
However after booking that trip your mind wanders to the logistics – how will I actually get us out the door and onto that plane?
I’ve rounded up our 12 tips for travelling to the airport with kids that Ladies Running Errands have picked up along the way whilst transporting thousands of families to and from the airport.
7. Taking your car seat on board
If you have a compact car seat such as the Safe and Sound MKII, you may be allowed to bring it on board for the flight. Your little one will need to have their own seat booked.
This method of travel for little ones is fairly new and often staff are not sure of the procedure. Be sure to check prior to booking and have approval in writing (email) to show staff throughout the various checkpoints before boarding.
This option is the safest for your child. It prevents the car seat from being damaged during transit. It also provides familiarity for your little one, which may help them to sleep better and stay seated for longer during the flight.
The downside is that child car seats take up a lot of space and are a bit fiddly to get installed pre-flight.
8. The coveted BASSINET seat
Airlines like to completely mess with your pre-flight preparation and will not guarantee you the bassinet seat until you check-in at the airport. If your baby is within the allowed weight limit, about 10-12kgs, and you would like the bassinet seat you need to check-in the second the flight opens.
This is the reason we frequently collect families at 22:30 am in order to arrive 3 hours before the first flight of the day. It’s first in best dressed and then decided based on the age of the baby.
The benefit of the bassinet seat is baby gets a bed for the flight meaning you get your arms and lap free and may actually catch a wink of sleep. There is also a little more legroom in those bulkhead seats.
Be warned of the downside though – whenever the seatbelt sign is turned on, bubs must be removed from the bassinet, disrupting their sleep anyway. Als, these seats are up to the front of the cabin where there is often more traffic to the toilets and noise from the crew preparing meals.
9. Toddlers need to be wearing shoes!
Who knew? We didn’t until I heard one mum’s horror story of not being able to board because her 1 year old, barely walking and asleep in a carrier anyway, was refused boarding due to bare feet.
They didn’t have a pair of shoes for their bub so were forced to frantically run through the terminal looking for a shop with a pair of shoes for him. Total waste of time and money and undue stress! It sounds completely crazy and may not be routinely enforced but DON’T FORGET THE SHOES.
10. Adaptor for a headphone jack
If your game plan is to have your child watch Peppa Pig for 12 hours straight (hey, no judgment) you may want to invest in their own pair of child-sized headphones. They’re great as they fit better, don’t constantly slip off, the volume won’t get too loud and they come branded with your little one’s favourite character like Frozen or Minions etc.
You can pick these up for $10-20 at Kmart or Target. Just don’t forget to grab the adaptor to connect them to socket in the plane. You can buy it for about $7 from the terminal newsstand.
11. SNACKS! Bring all the snacks
Just like us, all ‘sometimes food’ restrictions are lifted once we’re in the air. Make sure you’re stocked up on abundant amounts of your little one’s favourite snacks. Mess-free snacks such as sultanas, crackers, popcorn (for older kids), berries, cheese sticks, and cereal will keep them happy and busy during the flight.
If you have a thermos you may want to pack your child’s regular dinner and give that to them onboard whilst it’s still hot. If they refuse the kids’ meal at least you have gotten something into their bellies.
12. Onboard nanny
Etihad offers an onboard nanny and we hope the other airlines soon follow suit. Whilst there have been mixed experiences, the overwhelming feedback has been that the onboard nannies are lovely and helpful.
If you’re travelling solo with kids, the onboard nanny will sit with your children whilst you use the toilet and are usually happy to walk an unsettled child up the back of the plane for a change of scenery.
If you’re not flying Etihad, many other airlines offer help onboard when you’re travelling solo with children so be sure to ask.
Phew! So many logistics to consider!! We understand what a mission it is to plan and travel to your holiday destination. All our lovely ladies are here to help you have a wonderful and stress-free start to your holiday and we’ll be waiting for you on your return to hear all about your travels whilst we whisk you back to your home sweet home.
Book us in for your airport transfer and you’ll have one less thing to worry about. Safe travels x