Wow – we didn’t mean to be away from the blog this long but life has been really busy since the baby came along and definately no time to plan trips or do any actual travel. That is until now. We have been invited to a wedding in Melbourne, Australia that we just cannot refuse to attend and figured that as most airlines offers free or very low cost flights for children under two years, we would be crazy not to give this a try.
This will be the baby’s first ever flight and it’s a long one. There are quite a few things to think and worry about beforehand from an organisational point-of-view, so thought I would share the plans for flying to Australia with a one-year-old baby in the hope that it may help those of you also looking to plan a 24-hour flight with a similar-sized small person.
Working Out the Sleep Schedule
Our first flight is at 10.50am and for 12 hours 40 minutes, so ideally she will nap twice and then go to sleep for the night too. I helped to develop a travel tool for type 1 diabetes users a few years back which helped patients plan when to take their insulin on a long-haul flight and so am going to borrow a tip from that and set alerts for when baby should sleep on my phone. Airlines try and trick you into the new time zones by serving food at the new times and turning the cabin lights down during the ‘new’ time zone’s night. This way she can sleep was she’s meant to rather than be forced into it.
She’s a great sleeper once she’s into the night sleep so am hoping she will happily sleep for the night for a few hours and when we have to get up and leave the plane to wait for our connecting flight to Melbourne, will sleep on one of us in a sling (which is black so will also act a blackout blind). Then she should sleep for a few hours on that flight before waking. I am going to practice getting her in a sling this week courtesy of this amazing vid from WrappingRachel:
Getting a Bassinet
So every blog I have been reading tells me to call up the airline and try and organise one of the bassinet cots that you can see at the front of every economy section. We booked with Malaysian Airlines and I have been on hold to an international number for about an hour now so may just have to chance it at check-in. The baby is a pretty good sleeper, but I am worried about how we will cope!
Update: finally got a call back from Malaysian Airlines after trying all day and have managed to get a bassinet booked for all of the legs apart from the Kuala Lumpa > Melbourne one and even then we’re in seats HK so have leg room. We have been put in the upper section of the plane which is good because the cabin is smaller and it will hopefully be easier to get to our seat. It’s also good to know we can ensure baby sleeps as happy baby is happy mummy and daddy (and fellow passengers). We’ll make sure we have her favourite blanket and toy cat for the flight.
What to Pack in Hand Luggage
We cannot rely on airline food so am going to pack a lunch, dinner and snacks. Liquids are still restricted through check-in when passing security in the UK so we’ll have to buy milk air-side. I am going to pack healthy snacks for us too and then whatever we have leftover leave on the plane as Australia is funny about anyone bringing food into the country. We should remember her sippy cup and a bottle.
Am going to pack whatever the baby would have worn in the same 24-hour period so, a spare pair of clothes, pajamas and dressing gown for the evening and night and then another set of clothes for the “morning” of the next day. We’ll have our nappy bag, except am going to buy ‘pull-up’ nappies to make it easier to get them on her (she’s at the squirmy stage right now). Should probably take a bag for the dirty clothes and a change of top each for us in case she pukes. God I hope she doesn’t puke.
The baby also gets the pre-loaded iPad with films and apps to play with. No internet in the air so she can go for broke having a play around and when she gets bored, there’ll be a couple of her favourite toys to play with. We’ll also pack her noise-cancelling headphones that she had on at a music festival last year just in case.