Monday, June 19, 2006

The Mile-High Club

Seven lessons learned from traveling on a plane with Owen:

1. An eighteen-month-old needs his/her her own seat on the plane, even if the child spends more time on your lap or in the aisles during the flight, leaving you understandably pissed that you spent almost $800 on an unoccupied seat. In coach.

2. Benadryl may not knock out your kid. In fact, it may produce the opposite effect, and your kid may spend hours shrieking and kicking the back of the seat in front of him/her. Test out the effects of Benadryl at home before you depart for the airport. An added bonus: It's fun and educational to drug your kids.

3. Get the Go Go Kidz attachment for your toddler's car seat. It transforms the car seat into another piece of rolling luggage. (Rolling, screaming, red-faced, occasionally stinky luggage, that is.)

4. Request bulkhead seats. Otherwise, the elderly couple sitting in the row directly in front of your kicking, cranky kid may pummel you and your child before you can disembark. This is especially true if your adorable toddler decides to fiddle with the phone mounted in the headrest of the seat in front of him/her for four fucking hours.

5. Another reason to get bulkhead seats: Proximity to the airplane lavatories, with which you will become (way too) intimately familiar.

6. Do not attempt to change your child's diaper in an airplane lavatory immediately after another passenger has taken a huge crap. (I know this sounds obvious, but we learned this the hard way.)

7. Don't bother packing any reading materials. Leave the laptop at home. Don't bother watching the in-flight movie. Your hands will be full during the flight. And if they aren't, the other passengers probably hate your guts.

14 comments:

eliaday said...

well, there was that time when i was seated next to the gentleman who needed a seat belt extender while i was still nursing a one year old. the plane was only 2 seats wide on each side, and i DID get the bulk head.

but, it turned out that i couldn't move because they only had extra air masks in one section of the plane. and the gentleman heard me ask to move, and i still had to sit next to him. overall, very uncomfortable for all.

the laptop can be a life saver though if you play dvds (you can even buy episodes of little einsteins on itunes now - the best $1.99 i ever spent).

Pete said...

Good advice all around. We leave on our second cross-country plane trip with our 11 month-old on Sunday. I wish I had considered the bulkhead seating though.

joanh said...

Great site. Wandered on here as a mom of a 9 month old. We do some international travel, but I have yet to experience traveling with a toddler... (imagine fourteen hours)! I heard about the Benadryl, but backed out of doing it at the last minute. Good idea to try it at home first.

daddy in a strange land said...

Took The Pumpkin on a big trip last month at age 19 months--Burbank to JFK, Logan to Dulles, Dulles to Long Beach, all non-stop, all on Jet Blue. We bought a seat for her and brought her carseat (lugged by me in one of those backpack bags).

And you know what? We lucked out. She took hour-plus naps on the long legs, and on all but the return flight, she didn't need to get up or be walked around or anything. Those individual tv screens are handy, man. Didn't even need headphones--just put it on Animal Planet and let her say "kitty! puppy!" for a couple hours.

Brought all this stuff--dvd player, Dora on the iPod, magnetic Dora "paper" dolls, Colorwonder markers and paper, Aquadoodle, new books, favorite books. And you know what? Most of that crap stayed in the bag. What did work?

Snacks.

L said...

And that is why I haven't flown anywhere with my girl since she was about 7 months old. ;)

Puka said...

We have done our share of flying with DD. Up until she was a year old, it was fine. She was very good. After one year, she wants to get down and walk, go bug people. Toys, crayons, snacks don't last long enough. I am cringing because next month we are going to Korea for two weeks. I am flying alone with DD who is now 19 months old!!! Pray for me. LOL

Karen said...

Great tips from all. One more to add that helped us on a flight to Tokyo with our 18 month old....pull up diapers. Even though she was still in regular diapers at the time, the pull-up "panties" were a treat and we were able to do the change standing at our seat, vs. in the lav balanced on the filthy changing table.

dennis said...

-words of wisdom. However by the time we travel (hopefully) our young one will be beyond the toddler stage.

The benedryl might still be viable tho...

Susan said...

Ahh, memories! We had similarly Unfun flights with our younger daughter when she was a toddler. Once, she screamed for 3 hours straight, and then on the descent, puked all over us as an End-of-Flight Gift. We banned her from all air travel (NOT KIDDING) until she was five. She was one of those unfortunate children who had the Opposite effect to Benadryl. OWEEE! We just could.not. take.it. The good news is that now she is 12 and has flown all over the world - since she was five. That is a great list you made.

Oliver said...

I once saw a woman fly cross-country with, I kid you not, THREE kids - the youngest still a baby, the other two probably 3-4 years of age. No help.

She was holding it down!

Middleman said...

We're considering Hong Kong to SF (14 hrs), SF to LA (1 hr), LA to St Louis (4 hors), and then back to HK the same way in December. Our kid (due next month) will be five months old at that point.

Are we insane?

Violet said...

Our ten month old had the same result with Phenergan. And changing a nappy in an airplane toilet is really unpleasant even if no-ones had a crap in there before you. those things are CRAMPED.

Susan said...

Middleman -- five months old is a GREAT time to travel. They're not mobile, and if they get fussy, they can nurse or have a bottle, and voila! They're great. It's the toddlers who are the nightmares to travel with -- they can walk around, but they're not allowed to, and they go berserk from being confined. I am sooo glad that I never have to travel with a 1-3 yr old again!!

R2Dad said...

Suggestion to flying families with infants-toddlers: Be super-vigilant about washing their hands or using antibacterial wipes THE WEEK BEFORE you leave, AS WELL AS DURING THE VACATION. The most freuent source of sqwealing kid is congestion that prevents the altitude pressure from being relieved, and benedryl can only do so much. We just did a 13 hour flight twice in 2 weeks with a 3 year old. He didn't wail but there were snotty kids at the bulkhead who were making it painful for the whole cabin. Good flying and good luck!