Need advice flying 21 hours with infant and 2 toddlers!
Dear readers, I am so glad to have found this forum, have already picked up some great advice! I am no stranger to long flights, however, I have not flown for the past 5 years and now have 3 children to take with me! Believe me, I have no choice, we are immigrating, otherwise I would not have placed myself in this situation! We are flying from Melbourne to Amsterdam and so far I selected 2 airlines Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines (mainly because they have only one stop over!). I have so many questions, but I will start with a few:
1. Is Singapore Airlines really no longer stopping over at London, where you need to disembark and take another flight to Amsterdam? (Something that I really want to avoid!!!). Nothing like being tired after a long flight and then having to board another plane for a short flight, don't even want to try that with 3 kids!
2. Malaysian Airlines has been more forthcoming with their information, so I think I would prefer them, but I am upset to hear that I will not be seated with my husband and children because I want a bassinette for my infant and the other 2 seats in that row are allocated to anyone else travelling with an infant (which ofcourse is fair). But I am now thinking of booking 5 seats so that my husband and 2 toddlers don't get seated next to a stranger. The plane is a 3 4 3 seat configuration. If I book a flight with seat for baby, do I still have a right to have a bassinette? Has anyone flown accompanied by children with Malaysia airlines?
3. I am worried that if I bring a car seat (which I have been told needs to be installed near the window seat), I forgo the right to sit behind the bulkhead, does anyone know if this is the case?
I want the extra seat so that the two boys can be seated with their dad when landing etc and I can feed my infant with her legs dangling on the empty seat next to me. I don't really relish the idea of having one of my toddlers next to me during take off and landing, incase he gets sick or upset and i am also holding a screaming baby! By the way, this is all in economy so you can imagine I am already having nightmares about this scenario!
Any advice would greatly be appreciated! Thanks so much!
First off-- as some sage person advised me once-- no matter how awful the flight, it will be over sometime! And you will forget it. Eventually. ;-)
We have flown Malaysia (KL-AMS) several times with 2 kids and they are really really child friendly. I suspect the crew will do as much as they can to accommodate you, whatever the official line is... I would still advise getting a seat for the baby if you can afford it-- 12+ hours is a long time, you will probably appreciate being able to let baby sit somewhere when awake (IME, a car seat was better for my daughter to sleep in than a bassinet, so getting the bulkhead became less of an issue. Depends on the baby... But I wouldn't plan on being able to move it around a lot during flight.)
Couldn't your husband (with the toddlers) sit across the aisle in the 3 configuration? Also, you may also be able to put the child seat in the middle of the middle aisle (bulkhead)-- the idea is that it shouldn't block anyone else's exit.
Oh, and every MH flight we've done has had those personal seatback entertainment stations-- I'm not big on TV, but in the middle of the nihgt it was a great help with the squirrely toddler.
Just our experience... FWIW, I found after doing 36+ hours Asia to the US, no shorter flight can faze me anymore ;-)
Singapore Airlines has one stop Melbourne-AMS. Yeah!
First of all, before you book a seat for your baby (or not) find out about their policy. Don't shell out for the seat, only to find out that your car seat is not accepted. Also, get the airlines' rules for the bulkheads. Are lap babies priority? Each airline sets its own policies regarding who gets the bulkhead seats. The only universal rules are usually those pertaining to emergency exit rows, where your family can't sit in any case.
A car seat is safer than a bassinet, which is just a convenience but find out what the rules are and what options you have.
If you have the car seat on board, make sure the baby is in it for take-off and landing. It's actually a myth that babies have to suck on something during those times. The AAP recommends that babies just be awake, not on landing but at the top of descent, an hour out. This works for us! Don't wake your child up unnecessarily or force her to feed when she's not hungry.
The best way to avoid ear problems is to schedule a doctor's visit right before leaving. The doctor will look in their ears and make sure they're clear and infection-free. Ear infections don't always have obvious symptoms and children get them more often than adults. Flying with an ear infection is not only terribly painful but can possibly damage their ears. Don't risk it. We "caught" one once in my son, right before a transatlantic flight. He was still on antibiotics when he flew but he had no problems. Easy to fix, easy to avoid!
I personally would go for a row of three and two of you across the aisle, preferably bulkhead seats. I would put the dad and two toddlers in the 3 across and you and the baby across the aisle in the car seat. Otherwise, if the baby doesn't have a seat, just you sit across the aisle with the baby. Likely that you would have another family next to you so it's not like you'd have some businessman tapping away at his computer the whole time
Here are my non-commercial flying tips. Take advantage of my experience 13 years working the aisle and 10 years of flying long haul international flights with my kids; http://flyingwithchildren1.blogspot.com
P.S. Aren't you going to miss Melbourne? I love Oz! I have a friend in Hawthorne.
Thanks for both your replies! Wow, great blog about travelling with kids! I was just wondering whether these days each flight is always filled to the brink or are there 'good' days in the week to travel, when the flight will be less filled? I certainly will miss Melbourne, a beautiful city, but I miss my family in Europe!
Good. Glad you'll already be used to the long winter
International travel tends to be less dependant on days, than domestic flights, when talking about how full they are. It tends to fall more by season and other factors, for example if there's a big conference or sporting event somewhere.
Also, look into school vacation schedules, not just where you are, where you're going but in your connection city. Right now, for example, where I am, France, it's school vacation time. The flights are much fuller than just 3 weeks ago.
If you're flexible with dates, you can have an agent look. What I used to do when flying standby is call when the reservation agents aren't so busy, like after office hours (everywhere in Oz) and often, they're downright bored, very friendly and will look up all sorts of flights for you. This is a big moment in your life and you're flying with three very little ones. Tug on their sympathy strings