Flying list

For the most part, I’m a pretty organised person. I like certainty and I like to know when I’m coming and going. Things don’t always work out that way and I often think life has a way of challenging what we’re comfortable with, but that’s a whole other blog post.

As part of my “organisation skills”, thinking ahead about what to pack when flying with a baby/toddler is always on my list and I often get asked about the necessities. So here it is, in no particular order, the things I always carry on a flight with S (I’ve learnt from my mistakes).

1. Sling (for a baby/younger child) – I’ve talked about my Ergo before and how easy life was with it. At an airport, it’s much easier having a sling instead of a pram getting in the way. It keeps your hands free, baby can nap in it and it takes up a lot less space.

2. Sachets of Calpol – When we were flying from Hong Kong to London last May, S started teething, developed a fever and I had no Calpol. Luckily the flight attendant did and so he had some of that before going to sleep.

3. Nappies – I’d say take a nappy for every hour of the flight, plus three. There’s something about the cabin pressure that makes a baby “clear their tummy’s” several times through a flight. Our record is 7 times on a 6 1/2 hour flight!

4. 2 extra sets of clothes for your baby (1 if it’s a really short flight) and an extra set for you.

5. Formula, milk, food – Whatever your baby is having, take one or two extra feeds.

6. Snacks and fruit packets – You know how you like to munch on a flight (I always ask for an extra packet of pretzels), well so does your kid. Routines tend to go out the window when flying, especially if jet lag is involved so take extra snacks because your child will get hungry. Or in case there is a delay.

7. Hygiene – This encompasses a few items so I’m just going to throw it under one heading. Nappy sacks, 2 plastic bags, extra wipes, hand sanitiser and a disposable changing mat.

8. A blanket – I don’t know about you but I find the blankets on aeroplanes a little itchy (unless you’re flying business class and they give you a duvet), I always take a blanket for S on the flight.

9. Pacifier – If your child uses a pacifier and you want to avoid a melt down, take an extra one. Those little buggers have a way of getting lost or falling down the side of the seat. You don’t want to have to go on the hunt when your child’s crying and everyone else is asleep.

10. Entertainment – While most airlines have a decent entertainment system, your child might not like what’s on show. I always take an Ipad. I hate to admit it but it’s a saving grace on a flight. I also tend to take something new so there’s the novelty factor for 10 minutes a short time. Now that he’s older my list will include stickers, puzzles, cars and a couple of books.

I know it sounds like a lot but really, a good cabin sized stroller will fit it all and leave you enough space to buy some chocolate at duty-free which you’ll most likely need for the flight!!

There’s a couple of other things that were suggested to me but I’ve never really bothered with them – Your child’s red book (health book), a copy of their birth certificate, teething gel (although this would have helped on last year’s flight) and disposable thermometer strips.

If your child is young enough for a bassinet but you don’t think they’ll sleep it in, ask for it anyway. It’s a great thing to have, if for nothing else but to put all your stuff in it.

Happy holidays and happy travelling!

Is there anything on your list that I’ve left out of mine?

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Virgin’s little secret

Before anyone starts getting too excited, this post is about Virgin Atlantic’s little secret and not anything else šŸ˜‰

I’ve noticed on the HK mom forum I’m on, one of the most frequently asked questions is “Which is the best airline to fly with my baby/toddler?” The people of HK are lucky in that most UK based flights fly via HK to Australia and so they don’t just have to consider Cathay or Quantas but can also fly British Airways and Virgin from Hong Kong to Australia.

For the last five and a half years I have flown with Cathay PacificĀ and I have to say, they have been great. Their level of service, their offers and for the most part, their aircrafts, have been of a good standard. Then along came S. Cathay Pacific charge 10% of the highest fare in your class of travel for infants. Said infant does not even get a seat but rather a bassinet or your lap. They have no hand baggage allowance and only 10kg checked in luggage and you can either check in a stroller OR a car seat. Suddenly flying with an infant, Cathay doesn’t sound that appealing.

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In come Virgin Atlantic. Last week S and I flew from London to Lagos (Nigeria) to visit my brother. It’sĀ a relatively short flight (6Ā hours) and there is no time difference between London and Lagos so jetlag isn’t an issue. When we booked our seats, the lovely lady at Virgin let us onto a little secret…seat plus!! So what is seat plus you ask? Staring from only Ā£60, you can essentially buy the seat beside you. Virgin guarantee it will be free, making your journey in economy a lot more comfortable.

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Seat Plus was a lifesaver! The seat beside me was free so after take off I was able to lie S down and he could sleep comfortably for the duration of the flight. The second great thing about Virgin Atlantic is their baggage allowance. An infant gets 10kg hand baggage, a 23kg checked in bag and the option to check in a stroller AND a car seat. Also, you can buy up to 10 checked in bags for a fee on any route and an infants ticket is 10% of your ticket and not the full fare on that class.

The staff were pleasant and helpful and we enjoyed our journey with them. I’m still a Cathay fan but when travelling with an infant, Virgin gets my vote!

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What airline do you usually travel with?