Flying with a toddler
Catherine Webb recently pointed me to her outstanding 2008 post "Baby Holiday: SWAT Team special". I felt it needed a little updating for the modern era. Here are our experiences from the summer. Not with a baby, but with a toddler.
If your toddler is under two, the airlines will try to force you to have the child on your lap the whole flight. Because your bollocks haven't been kicked enough. However, you can call them and book a real seat. Well worth the extra cost.
If you read up on things, you'll discover that you can bring your car seat. Be careful though - Virgin won't let you bring a US car seat on the plane. They will let you check it and can give you a rickety leather seat of their own (reluctantly).
The reason why you want to bring the seat is so that you can have a belt he can't escape from.
You'll want to bring loads of baby stuff like food but remember the bastards at the security checks will have no sympathy for you. Low volumes of liquids in plastic bags only.
Once on board the plane, you may find the entertainment system doesn't work in any of your seats. For eleven hours. Remember this is something of a nuisance for the cabin crew, who will become very unfriendly about it.
In the event of a trouser accident, the cabin crew will change the baby for you. Just press the button to ask them round and hand him over. It's part of the cost of the flight, so insist if necessary.
Let me know how that goes.
Don't expect them to give you toddler food for your toddler. Expect crap like crisps and sugar.
Don't worry about the people in front, especially if they recline into your face the whole flight. Just let your kid smash and wallop their head.
You can check a stroller at the door of the plane. But do remember to get it at the door when you get off, otherwise you can't get back for it. It may also be at a different door, conveniently. The cabin crew will be oblivious to all of this so don't worry them with it. They are probably very tired.
The simple solution to most woes is the iPad. Don't leave home without it charged and loaded. Bring a few if you can.
Enjoy your flight. Chances are it will be mindnumbingly tedious. But, on the bright side, you'll have a jetlagged toddler at the other end. Good luck with that.
God I'm tired.
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