Thursday, 5 December 2013


Maybe you're reading this blog for the first time, thinking to yourself "this is a bit of a no-brainer". "How hard can it be to get on and off a plane with a small infant?"

It happens to the best of them!
Let me put it in perspective for you. In the past two days I've had close girlfriends generously share their intimate tales of horror when traveling with their little terrors darlings on overseas flights. I'd like to share a snippet with you now. Make sure you're not eating when you read this.

The first is my friend Sarah, who describes checkin at the airport in London as breezy, giving her eldest, Scarlett, a bottle of milk from the airline lounge before boarding the plane home to Sydney. The milk must have been off because as she was preparing to step foot onto the plane, with two hundred odd passengers lining up behind her, for what was going to be a loooong journey in economy, Scarlett felt the sudden urge to projectile vomit her entire day's food and beverage all over herself, the pram, her parents and the airline hostess checking their boarding passes.

Sarah was lucky to make that flight, after she raced Scarlett into the nearest toilet, literally hosed her down in the sink, threw a blanket around her, left the cheap travel pram behind and ran back to board the plane.
Aim that poop-shooter at someone else!

Still not convinced this blog can be life-savingly useful? Then perhaps Rachael's story will convince you. It was when she had taken her one year old to the teensy toilet cubicle mid flight to Germany that she became aware her baby had explosive diaorreah. It also happened to be during a particular patch of bad air turbulence and Rachael simply says the "Sh#t was EVERYHERE!"... on her baby, on her, on the walls, the mirror... oh yes, and then the nausea kicked in. I don't think I need to spell out the rest, but let's just say what added to that mess was that she was out of nappies. It seems no-one had told her that for any flight, you need to PACK ALMOST TWICE THE NUMBER OF NAPPIES AS YOU WOULD NORMALLY GO THROUGH! (Perhaps my most valuable tip of all time).

I am not a scientist so cannot explain exactly why it is, but your baby's tummy is a little like the water bottle in your seat pocket that expands and squashes with the altitude of international flights. Yes, that means they poop way more than usual. Be prepared!! I'm only going to say that once. But I will add that along with a change of clothes (or two) for your little ones, do yourself a favour and pack a light change of clothes for yourself. There's nothing like greeting your in-laws at the airport with skid marks of poop and vomit down your front.

So cute and yet so, so dangerous
Also worth realising is that although your flight itself may only be eight or twelve hours, you have travel time to and from the airport, the inevitable check-in wait time of two hours before the flight and then factor in the possibility of your flight being delayed for any length of time. This is the amount of nappies you need to have at your immediate disposal during your trip.

(I am going to mention that most international airlines do have a secret stash of nappies on hand in case of emergency... but maybe best not to rely on this.)

And here's a personal tale of anxiety that I have experienced during a trip when Isabella was turning one and Steven and Isabella and I were flying from France to Los Angeles. I remember it well because I believe I will be personally scarred by this for many years to come. Steven's work had him booked in Business as usual (lucky boy) while my upgrade hadn't come through. (C'est la vie). I was seated in a window seat and since Issy was still under two, she was on my lap. We did, however, have a bassinet seat. Although, this turned out to be a nightmare. After being stuck on the tarmac for close to two hours due to some mechanical fault, and with Isabella screaming blue murder (that back-arching rage of an infant that absolutely nothing can reason with) at being strapped in with no-where to go and the air conditioning not working a treat, we were just begging for this flight to be over and done with. But then it got worse. The flight finally took off and Issy was put to sleep in the bassinet in front. But then the meals were served and the nasty old French man (I happen to think most French men are lovely, having lived in France, but let me assure you, this one was not) decided to put his legs up, along with his meal tray, as well as his fold-up movie screen, and then fall asleep, effectively blocking me from being able to leave my seat in any way whatsoever. I'm not a panicker. I don't suffer claustrophobia. But on this occasion, Isabella woke again with another blood curdling tantrum and I admit I suffered a full blown anxiety attack, and I couldn't get out. The hosties were horrid and tried to refuse me access to business class to reach Steven for help. Eventually I carted myself off to the toilets to regain my composure and to promise myself I will never, ever, ever be booked in a window seat with a child on my lap and a stranger next to me again. It's aisle seats all the way from here people!!!
Cheers to a poop-free flight!

Anyway - long story short. This blog is not just a tale of woes. It is hopefully one that scares the poop out of you, to the extent where it makes you learn from my mistakes. If I had read a blog by someone with tips and advice before I started out on all my journeys it would have made my life a whole lot easier. So, this is what I aim to do for you.

1 comment: