At the end of October I am flying Paris to Dulles and back with one week inbetween to to see my family and will travel all alone with my 18 month baby "relaxing" on my lap. Does anyone have suggestions about how to make this trip easier, I'm expecting it to be a "preuve de nerfs" considering how active and excited she is about everything. I'll probably take along some advil for myself.
I think at that age, we broke down and bought a seat for Becky, but again, that was St. Louis to Newark and wasn't as expensive as a trans-atlantic.
I'd buy a few new, small toys, that I would give to her during travel, one at a time, to keep her entertained (worked on our 17 hour drive home we did once too). I had a bottle/sippy cup for her to use during take off and landing, for the ears. I'm not ashamed to admit that dimatap (or benadryl) can be your friends (especially for the flight home). Packed my own small bags of snacks. If she's old enough to watch tv - perhaps a dvd player with some video of her favorite characters? See here, I'd recommend blues clues, sesame street, stuff like that. Make sure the airline knows you're traveling with her, you may get bulkhead seats - more room.
That's what I'm remembering off the top of my head.
I'd try for the bulkhead seats, too, Angie. I don't have children but I've seen this used effectively (as a co-passenger) before. . If she's really active you can let her toddle around your feet with the extra space a bulkhead provides. If you're on an Airbus plane with the 2-4-2 seat configuration try for one of the two-seated sides so you only have one neighbor, less stress for you.
Posts: 1567 | Location: Edmonds, WA | Registered: 01 April 2006
I'm sure that people with medical backgrounds will tell us what's wrong with this, but here goes. When we drove up to Cape Cod from NJ with our VERY frisky 1 and 2 year old, 34 and 35 years ago, our pediatrician recommended a double dose of Benadryl. The trip is about the same length as a transatlantic flight, and it worked wonderfully. She napped part of the way, and enjoyed the rest.
I'm not even going to tell you what happened the previous spring, when we were on a short flight to Toronto. Mamma mia, it was like travelling with a tiger cub. But on a trip to Florida a year later, she spent the entire flight happily buckling and unbuckling the seat belt.
So, you never know. Take the little toys, and hope for the best.
We already have our bulk head seats researved both ways. I was thinking about a DVD player but they don't sell them here with universal DVD reading. I was planning on getting some DVDs in the US in English but that won't work an a European portable DVD player, how dumb. She loves flying and gets wildly excited as soon as she sees the luggage. I am not a fan of paracetamol for no reason but may give her some. The last time we flew transatlantic she cut her first teeth the night before so I didn't sleep for something like 48 hours. On the way back she was the nightmare baby and we got some complaints. It was easier being two adults. I thought about buying a second ticket but it is too expensive and isn't going to make her calm down. Toys aren't that interesting enough to her, she wants to flirt with everyone.
Kevin questions reminds me of something else I used to do - too late for you but maybe others could help.
When I would call (back in the days when you called to book your tickets) I would ask the agents which flights were typically the least crowded; I booked those. That way, we had room to spread out, if needed, and fewer people were impacted.
I have to tell you too, though, I met some incredibly generous people while flying with Beck who helped in all sorts of ways. I do payback now whenever I can.
thought about buying a second ticket but it is too expensive and isn't going to make her calm down.
The advantage of buying a second ticket, with the baby in it's own seat, is that it's MUCH less disturbing to your seatmate. It's much harder for the baby to kick and grab at your seatmate if it's in its own seat; two things that are bound to happen to the other person if you're holding the child (can you tell this has happened to me?).
It's also much safer--there are many studies that point out the dangers of a parent holding a child during turbulence, but the FAA has bowed to airline pressure in refusing to enact seat requirements (airlines are afraid they'll lose family business).
When I flew the first time with my nephew, then 23 months old, I didn't feed him before the trip so he got on that plane ravenous. I then let him eat pretty much non-stop (and that kid could eat) for the entire flight. All that food made him dopey and he drowsed for about half the flight ... but then woke up and processed out all that food, nearly knocking out the poor businessman sitting next to us.
Posts: 4398 | Location: mahwah, new jersey, usa | Registered: 10 December 2003
I'm with Kevin - what flight did you say you were flying?
Back in the "good old days" pre-deregulation airlines provided seats for children with a full paying adult fare (we are talking the 60's and 70's).
At some ages it is just plane insanity to fly with kids. Particularly on long flights. You had kids knowing you were going to have to give up some things. Maybe flying should be one of those things.
No kid is going to sit on your lap for 8 or 10 hours (and that's assuming a NYC landing) unless you drug them. Period, full stop, end of discussion. Go to the pediatrician and get something prescription or ask how much alcohol you can give the kid to get them to sleep. Benadryl is not the answer.
I don't think that tuscanartist is asking for advice on what to give up now that she is a parent; rather she is planning to visit her family and is asking how best to deal with flying across the Atlantic with her very young daughter.
We flew from Australia to England via America with 2 young children many years ago. We tried to book flights overnight so that we could get on the plane, have a meal, put them in pjamas and settle them to sleep. It worked for us, but they were 2&4 years so a little older.
That actually wasn't me you quoted. Quite the contrary - being a split American/European family meant lots of trans-atlantic flights from the time our child was 6 months old... I know what it's like !!
Actually that was exactly the answer our pediatrician suggested. Though, that also reminds me (sorry the memory is quite full of holes these days), he suggested it with a caveat. Test it out first. And it's a good thing he did, because benadryl makes both my kids hyper, which is why we used dimetap.
Keven, I was smiling at your tongue-in-cheek question. I should have also quoted your comment in order to make that clear. Perhaps it was too many trans-Atlantic flights with our little ones that caused the 'clarity' portion of my brain to become foggy!
Kevin, what flight are you booked on? If you'd like to be my neighbor and lend me a hand. I'll tell which seat I have "wink"
The main reason I am going is so that my 90 year old grandmother will get to see her great granddaughter again. She saw her only once and when said goodbye that time said with tears in her eyes " I hope I get to see you again" That ripped my heart out. She's too old to fly to Paris but I am sure that she would love to come here so I'm going to sacrifice myself.
Maybe I should ask airfrance if the people on the seat next to me would like to pay for an extra seat for us.
I'll definitely ask the pediatrician next week what she suggests. We had benadryl while in Italy but usually she takes doliprane a paracetamol.
Meanwhile a Canadian friend said that she would lend me her DVD.
The idea of not feeding her wouldn't work because she's not a big eater and it wouldn't make her more hungry to fast but definitely more agitated.
One of my cousins told me about travelling with a two year old and three month old twins to Brasil. The 2 yr old had gastro the whole flight and the twins screamed the whole way. Definitely something to remember, at least I have only one happy excited baby.
Originally posted by tuscanartist: Maybe I should ask airfrance if the people on the seat next to me would like to pay for an extra seat for us. :doh
With all due respect, I think what some people are nicely hinting at is that while you are concerned about your comfort and that of your child's, the person on the seat next to you is probably going to spend most of that longish flight wondering why you did not pay for that extra seat. From many perspectives, an 18 month old is really not a baby - they are larger than babies, are more mobile and definitely are more verbal. I cannot imagine sharing a single seat with any of my children when they were that age when traveling alone.
I understand that the airlines do not require you to have a seat for your child at that age, and I truly understand the costs involved. It is lovely that you are able to bring your child to visit your elderly grandparent, this will be a very special trip for all of you.
So while you are thinking about how to make yourself more comfortable on this transatlantic journey, and I can see that you have received some good tips from traveling parents, perhaps you can also think about the possible impact that your seat sharing is going to have on the person next to you. I only say this because some of these comments are a little flip - this is not just about you and the child.
We did several round trips to see the grandparents in New Zealand when children were very small - London to LA was only half way to us!
Not easy at all - if you are to have happy children and, if not happy, at least mollified, surrounding passengers, it is hard, hard work. One thing I always did that worked was not to produce a bag of toys at the outset, but to bring small things out at intervals - as spaced as you can get away with ! At that age, you can put away something from the beginning then produce it as new two hours later.
A full tummy is a good sleep inducer, so timing meals so that they are hungry at about an hour in is a good one to aim for - but, really, the disruption of routine is such a big one that you have to have a 'set your clock by them' child for that one to work.
I had heard of too many hyperactive reactions to benadryl to risk it with mine - although we did accidently overdose a child once with something else and achieve perfect peace On the LA to Auckland leg, all the children on the plane had been afflicted with vomiting (not all had plane food, so a mystery) - we ended up running out of clean clothes and the eldest arrived in Auckland in a pair of First Class passenger pyjamas ! She was freaked out about being ill on the way back so we went to the doctor who prescribed a strong travel sickness tablet, with warnings about mild drowsiness etc., My younger daughter (5) barely made it onto the plane, she was so dozy and snoozed through the entire flight - I realised then that I had given her the adult dose !.( By huge fortune, there was a doctor on the same flight that my husband knew slightly and he checked her out and reassured us that she was still breathing and not actually in a coma. Put me off sedation for life )
We always mangaged to get the bulk head seats with the cots when they were very young - the age limit more or less equated to when they could sit up. The thought of a wriggling 18 month old on my lap all the way would have horrified me - even with a seat for the child, you do end up with her on your lap for quite a bit of the time anyway, for general comfort, changing clothes etc.,
I once had a conversation with an exhausted looking woman at the luggage carousel in London - we had been on the same flight from Auckland but she had got on further back, from Wellington, on her own with twin toddlers , a really cross 5 year old and she was pregnant. Yikes.
One consolation is that my girls grew up as great air and car travellers - they became very good at occupying themselves quietly and now regard anything under 6 hours as a short hop, barely into a journey!
Posts: 5474 | Location: London, UK | Registered: 20 September 2006
I wonder how you can pick out the helpful "Kim" types on board? I'd be willing to help out a mom, and have offered when sitting next to one, but my paranoid cousins have me believing that everyone will think I'm a pedophile for even offering these days.
I remember when a work colleague's wife flew cross country with their 3 and 5 year old kids to meet him after a conference. The mom had the flu but got on the plane anyway (she was NOT going to miss her vacation); she wound up pretty much collapsing on the flight. Luckily for her, it wasn't a full flight and the attendants watched her kids for her while she slept. Sometimes even bad behavior gets rewarded.
Posts: 4398 | Location: mahwah, new jersey, usa | Registered: 10 December 2003
I've just remembered the first flight we did with an active, 6 month old who needed very little sleep- back in the glory days before consolidated flights and code shares, there was often a chance of spreading out in the empty rows of seats and the cabin crew were spread less thinly. A glorious BA angel asked if she could take the baby for a little walk around. Oh, yes! A lovely little stretch and doze and then, refreshed, I went to find her, sitting in the galley with her new crew friends, happily playing with plastic cups.
Can't see it happening now.
(nb that non-sleeping baby is now a teenager and making up for it at every opportunity.....)
Posts: 5474 | Location: London, UK | Registered: 20 September 2006
I am chuckling as I am reading all of this. I remember those flights when we were stationed in Germany. The only thing worse than not paying for that extra seat~ is paying for it and still having a child in your lap the whole way.
Distraction is always the key. Distraction and drugs. Distraction, drugs and prayer.
On our Lufthansa flight to Germany in June there was a couple with a little boy around 18 month old. He was an absolute cutie, but part way through the flight he'd had enough.
For whatever reason the parents were NOT seated together, one up by us (row 20ish) and the other at the back of the plane.
When he started getting fussy, they would each take turns trying to keep him occupied for about half an hour, then back up or down the aisle to the other parent for the trade off.
He'd be fine for about 10 minute each time and then that was it, there was nothing that was going to settle him down, you could see that he was just exhausted. It didn't bother us that much, because we'd also travelled with little ones so knew that they were doing their best. But of course some people just don't understand that and do get a bit annoyed.
Anyway.....when the up and down the aisle thing started to interfere with the meal and drink service on the plane, low and behold.....there all of a sudden was a couple of seats available in business class!! One parent and the little guy were moved up there, so baby had a seat to himself, which reclined very nicely and he fell a sleep almost immediately for the duration of the flight.
So if you have sympathetic crew and you are getting in the their way, you never know there might just be some "more accommodating" seats available for you and babe else where on the plane.
Good luck and I hope you really enjoy your visit with Grandma.
Angie, you can "unlock" DVD players so they can play any region and code. I know because we have done it. Not all can be unlocked. Try this. Unlock This link gives some of the codes. Just go to your make and see if your model is listed.
Casey is able to use his Italian DVD's on his portable now.
Oh, Angie, I truly can sympathize with you. I have traveled with toddlers from California to the Philippines (back in the days) and have been around them these days when I myself have no little ones. My son's family does travel a bit now (with a two under 3 years of age and a 5 year old) and are friends with Benadryl and DVD players.
Are seats for under two-year olds at half the price of a regular adult seat? That maybe an option. In any case, good luck and it will be great to visit with elderly relatives... that is the prize at the end of the experience.
Angie, it already sounds like you're taking all measures to ensure a "smooth" flight. Now, relax because there are too many variables that are out of your control (teething, no sleep, so tired she will sleep the whole way, great neighbor passenger - aka Kim, ultra cranky one, turbulence, etc.).
Posts: 1567 | Location: Edmonds, WA | Registered: 01 April 2006
What sound advice you all have. Hopefully things will go smoothly and some nice people will be on the plane with us.
I will definitely have a DVD player and collect a bag of toys that can be taken out slowly.
Although we have tried Benadryl it is not what we normally use. Friday I see the pediatrician and will ask what they suggest. It is my desire to have to have as easy a trip as possible part of that being my girl not bother other people. But at this age as Chachalaca said there are variables that are out of my control - teething etc.
The bad cabin air pressure can also be a big problem and was on a recent flight to Nice.
Just a note to Marcia, I would love to buy a second seat for my child but cannot afford right now because it is full price. Also Airfrance has put me in the bulk head and told me that more than likely there will be two other babies in the same row, so though my daughter might bother our neighbors we also might be next to a hysterical baby or two. Usually my daughter does not scream and cry but is just so excited. She is normally a real good sleeper too and can sleep with other babies crying.
We are flying the 25th of October, I bought my ticket a few weeks ago and there was only one place left in economy. The price for was about 560 euro round trip Paris -Washington but if we flew the next day only one way was over 1000 in economy.
As a general rule, this is why you should never, ever ask for bulk head seats !!
Have a good flight and bon courage...
p.s.: in all seriousness, you might want to bring a little something (perhaps a small box of chocolates or macarrons) to give as a peace offering to the unlucky soul who may or may not have to deal with an 18 month-old's shenanigans during a long flight. We did that and it always went over well. Just shows you are sensitive.
My son was prone to ear infections, so I always had him checked out a few days before the flight. I still give my kids Benadryl to help with sinus pressure and they are 8 and 14 now! I use some myself. Happy travels. Hopefully all the pre-worrying will be for naught!
We traveled back and forth all of the time with our kids who did really well when very young (4 months to 7 years-old). We usually had their own seat which did help, but we would have been okay without it. It really depends on the kid and the parent. I think you will do fine, and do not listen to anyone who tells you to give up travel to anywhere just becuase you have kids.
Posts: 344 | Location: Waco, Texas USA | Registered: 31 January 2006
Originally posted by ellens: I wonder how you can pick out the helpful "Kim" types on board? I'd be willing to help out a mom, and have offered when sitting next to one, but my paranoid cousins have me believing that everyone will think I'm a pedophile for even offering these days.
Ellen, that is really sad! I think that most people would not feel that way, though, especially if you are just a friendly passenger in the seat next to the family. I travel a lot alone (either for work or to visit my family in Norway) and I always find it entertaining to play with a little kid. One time there was a medical emergency on board and I was next to a doctor and her baby - then I felt important because I got to take care of the doctor's baby!
Yesterday I flew back from Europe and on the flight from Munich there was a family of four behind me. The seat row had five seats and the last seat was occupied by an older German woman with little English - however she became fast friends with the oldest girl (maybe four or five) and they had a great time throughout the flight! I am sure it was a great help for the family.
Personally I never get annoyed by screaming kids - it seems that the parents are always doing what they can and like others have mentioned, there are just so many factors that come in to play regarding the kid's behavior. I just put in my ear plugs and read my book or whatever.
Panda: all I can say is wow! UK-NZ on a regular basis with little kids!!!
Posts: 1506 | Location: Washington, DC | Registered: 08 May 2005
As long as we're on these stories, on our flight to France this summer, in the row behind Mom and I was a young girl (age 8), flying by herself to Paris. She started to cry as we pulled away from the gate (she wanted her mom), and we couldn't get out of our seats to comfort her as much as we would like.
Luckily, in the seat next to her was a wonderful gentleman, business-man type, traveling solo, who managed to engage her in conversation, distract her, and calm her down so that by the time we were in the air, she was good to go. He was a total mench.
Ellen, I don't think you can spot these helpful people, I think they just step up and make themselves known.
Sunday is the big day. I'll post about it but Friday am going to break down and buy a portable DVD player. I might wait and buy it stateside because the dollar is so cheap for me. We had a big cold last week so hopefully next week will be okay. We don't just have the airplane, we have to go to CDG on the RER then hang out and go through security then board the plane then fly then land then get in a car and go another few hours. OMG I am not looking forward to this.
Oh, Angie! Just hop on the plane and when you get off erase the entire flight from your memory if it wasn't great. Don't despair! Like Dan said 'don't let others tell you that you shouldn't travel because you have a child'!!!
Relax and maybe she'll get the "mellow" vibe from you and just be a great traveler!
Posts: 1567 | Location: Edmonds, WA | Registered: 01 April 2006
Angie! I hear ya, girlfriend! You are the bravest person I know right now...fingers crossed for you!!! Are you brave enough to serve the little darling some whatever-it's-called that you can give babies for teething pain? Makes them relaaaaaxed and drowsy. I know, I know, there are a million people who might cringe at the idea, but they aren't the ones who are going on this long flight with her! Anyway, just a crazy idea for you...hopefully, the little one will sleep for the entire flight and be an angel for you. What about a taxi to the station, rather than the RER? Might be worth the splurge in saving on the stess that the RER and CDG can dish out in spades. Huge hugs, and know I'm thinking of you. If you need to call, do it! I'm home.
"And that's the wonderful thing about family travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind." ~ Dave Barry Brenda
Posts: 4881 | Location: Fox Creek, AB...back from exile and fully-participating in the forums again! | Registered: 26 October 2003
We are home jet lagged veterans of the transatlantic roundtrip with one week stay in between.
The flight to the US was very tiring.
so let me start with the flight back to Paris. I got a DVD player in the US and played a Disney DVD as we ate at Dulles airport. I was smart enough to splurge for dinner and not try to eat on the plane. My daughter slept the entire way. The only glitch was finding the stroller at CDG. It was waiting for us at the entrance to the baggage claim and did not come out on the turnstyle. So after waiting a very long time until all of the luggage had come with baby complaining I finally asked someone and got it and left. We landed at 5.35 AM and I was worried to find rush hour commuters but the school holidays had started and there were so few people on the RER. My daughter slept the entire way home on the RER and for another two hours in her bed when we arrived home.
The flight to the US was complicated
I had planned the time to leave around eating and naps but then the night before the time changed to daylights savings. This threw everything off. We were both terribly ill the week before and my daughter had eaten only two solid meals in the three days. After spending the day walking around Luxembourg Gardens we went to the airport and I had to check the stroller so that meant carrying the 22 lb toddler and three sacks thru security and to the gate. It wasn't that bad, the little one does not run as soon as you put her on the floor. The flight was 8 1/2 hours. We had the blulk head seats with baby basket next to us was a couple with a daugher that looked like she was 4 but was almost two. My daughter was having a great time dancing in the baby basket and smiling at everyone then I put her on the floor in the isle. WOW she discovered and new world. So we went around the plane for a few hours. After a very little bit of crying she went to sleep for a few hours in the baby basket.
The crew were all in a very bad mood. They put my food on the baby basket when my daughter was in my lap and only said it is hard travelling with children. No helpful Kims on this trip.
Then when we arrived into the US customs no one suggested I go to the front of a very long line. I don't pretend to get special treatment but when I see someone carrying a baby and three other bags I let them step ahead. Stupidly I had cooked food for my daughter that I declared. Next time I will leave in on the plane. I had to go through the security after passport control/ luggage claim and unpack the luggage and hand over the food with the special freezer containers that were considered contaminated. Finally we got thru...
The worst part about a weeks travel and transatlantic flights is not the travel but the jet lag. As an adult it is not a problem but a small child does not reason, only their body speaks, so I spent every night in the US from 1AM/3AM until 5/6 AM awake entertaining my child while everyone slept then had to be awake to visit with family when my daughter napped I had to cook lunch for her at 5 AM the first three days.
I decided to not fight it and if she stayed on PAris time it was better because now back home the jet lag will be easier to re-adjust to.
To summerize I would say that the DVD player was an excellent idea and if you are travelling alone with your child eat before you fly and don't drink too many fluids so as to avoid having to go to the bathroom.
Thanks for the update on how your trip went. Our first long airplane trip with our first born (6 months old) was close to a disaster due to my choices for the flights...which seemed like a good ideas at the time, but actually were quite foolish ideas in practice. I can still remember the weariness of that trip home thirty-five years ago!
and don't drink too many fluids so as to avoid having to go to the bathroom.
I understand your thinking, but you're risking getting dehydrated on the flight. The consequences are significant....longer recovery from jetlag and worst of all, the increased possibility of deep vein thrombosis, an extremely serious condition.
Posts: 2920 | Location: Texas | Registered: 18 March 2006