We were worried. We were about to embark on a 24 hour flight from London to Brisbane with an 11 month old baby.
Jacob has been on long haul flights before. But that was before he was mobile. Back then he didn’t know that the world of crawling existed, so he was happy to sit still on his seat and watch cartoons or quietly play with his toys.
A lot has changed. Jacob is now a proficient crawler and is getting terrifyingly close to walking ( i.e sprinting). He has also become a lot more aware of his voice – he loves squealing. He squeals when he is angry and when he is happy. It is ear splitting.
So… we were worried. I took to the internet to look for tips about flying with children and what I found inspired me to write this post: Why do we hate babies on planes?
The fateful day approached. We spent our time in the airport at the childrens play area, trying to get rid of some of that magical endless energy that babies have. Finally it came time to board the plane….
And it was just fine.
We were flying with Malaysia Airlines and they were kind enough to seat us in a bulkhead seat and give us an extra seat on the 14 hour flight from London to Kuala Lumpur. We even had a baby bassinet provided.
Since we were in the bulkhead seats, there was enough leg room that Jacob could sit on the floor and play with his toys. Somehow he seemed to know that he shouldn’t go exploring the plane, and he didn’t even try to crawl away from us. And best of all, when it was nap time, we had the bulkhead bassinet there. Now, Jacob is a big boy, so he barely fit into the thing, but it was still a life safer.
On the 8 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Brisbane we were in an aisle with only two seats, so we didn’t get an extra third seat to put Jacob in, but we still managed to get bulkhead seats, so he could sit at our feet. It was a little more crowded, and Jacob got a little more antsy without as much of his own space, but we made do.
We spent 20 hours in the air and 4 hours in airports, and the only time Jacob cried was just to protest a little bit before each nap time. It was amazing. Dan and I even got to watch a couple films.
So what are our tips for flying with an older baby?
Well this is what we did, but it does also help that we have a fairly cooperative and happy baby as well.
- Bring plenty of snacks. The airline we were with did provide child meals, but Jacob couldn’t eat everything that was provided due to allergies. But we were prepared with lots of baby food jars, crackers and fruit bars to keep his tummy full.
- Bring plenty of small toys. We went toy shopping before the flight and bought a bunch of new toys which we didn’t show to Jacob. Then when on the flight we revealed them one at a time.
- Try to get a bulkhead bassinet for longer flights. Most of the time these are free, you just need to reserve them in advance.
- Even if you are not getting the bassinet, try to get bulkhead seats which have enough space that the child can sit and play at your feet
- Most airlines are happy to block off an extra seat for parents traveling with children if the flight has enough extra spaces. Call ahead and ask.
- We are lucky that air pressure changes do not bother Jacob. But if this is a problem for you, try bottle feeding during take off and landing.