Flying first with baby

Old Aug 29, 17, 1:56 am
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Flying first with baby

Hi, we are flying First on an A380 to Vancouver tomorrow with our 8month old daughter. It's her first flight so she is a very lucky girl to be travelling in style.

I'm very conscious of my fellow passengers and I'm sure the sight of a baby might ruffle a few feathers so I just want to try and make the experience as best for everyone and to be as conscientious of minimising our impact to other passengers.

I was hoping to get a few hints / tips with those who have travelled with babies in Business / First.

Thanks!
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:06 am
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If you have researched this stuff already, forgive the obvious info, but we found that having stuff to chew on (especially a dummy) and a bottle of milk, for take off and landing, to be invaluable to help our son's ears to equalise (which often I gather seems to be what sets babies off on flights).

Also, we take a little bag with some favourite familiar toys / things for our son. One soft book, one rattle (not too loud) and one comforter etc.
However all he usually seems to want to do is stand up, grin, stick his tongue out and chat up the female pax / CC, so we're lucky I guess.

Enjoy sitting at the 'front of the bus'.

In terms of the thoughts of fellow passengers, I reckon that the only thing that personally truly drives me nuts on a flight when I am near someone else's kids, is if they simply aren't bothering to try and contain the noise / impact. I sat in J on the way back from HKG once when the parents of the 18m old near me were clearly experimenting with the 'just let him keep screaming till he gives up' strategy. Which in my opinion is an appalling thing to do on a 12h flight. If people are genuinely working to keep their kid happy / interested and therefore not screaming the place down then I don't mind too much. But parents sticking the film on for themselves and putting the headphones on while nipper is busting his / her lungs makes me want to scream myself.

oh - and one last tip. If you forget all the toys etc above, our little one found the safety cards absolutely fascinating. 6 flights in and he grabs it every time.

So he's now safety certified on a few different aircraft ;-)

Hope that helps.
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:08 am
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We did SYD (with just the hour in SIN) when our son was 9 months old. Luckily he was well-behaved (and I think the illusion of it being nighttime throughout helped on all four legs). At the end of the day it's public transport and anyone is allowed to be in that cabin provided they can procure a valid ticket. However like you I am conscious of not disturbing others where possible. All you can do is your best (and to be seen to be doing so should be sufficient to placate any fellow passengers). Hope it goes well!
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:12 am
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I don't think you can get Medised any more. Shame. That was always our life-saver.
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:15 am
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I sat in J on the way back from HKG once when the parents of the 18m old near me were clearly experimenting with the 'just let him keep screaming till he gives up' strategy. Which in my opinion is an appalling thing to do on a 12h flight.

I spoke to 1 parent (and I don't think the is unusual) who had never cared for their child overnight as they had a nanny and being on the plane at night was possibly the 1st time they had had to manage getting baby to sleep.

Another day flight in Virgin UC with parent who let their child run wild- he told the cabin crew it was the longest that he had ever looked after the child for- about 5 hours as his partner went to the quite zone to sleep and he *moved to where there was more room* as she flung herself over the seats and jumped between them. Virgin sent a crew member down to mind the child- father though she was so cute.
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:17 am
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Board early so that you can be fully settled before take off. There's a lot of stuff to sort and the cabin crew will also be dishing out wash bags, sleep suits and drinks. Boarding early allows you to receive these without anyblast minute fumbling to sort and store. Also gives you time to meet the cabin crew and discuss any plans for the flight, including dine on demand. Very useful if you want to split the service to take turns watching the infant. Not sure if there is a dedicated seat for infants on the A380, but there is on the 777 and 747. If you have requested this make sure the CC are aware of the table/seat. Our recent experience was that they were very inexperienced about it. One CC had been flying 20 years and this was his first time setting if up. Do this early and they can check it us on board and that somebody knows what they are doing with it. It is a little fiddly to install.

Feel free to ask any specific questions and so will try to answer having just completed two F flights with an infant.

One last point. Check what is happening with your pushchair. If loaded at the gate will you collect at the gate on arrival or not?
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:23 am
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A couple more points. Although I don't advocate medicating children for the sake of it, if you do use calpol then have a bottle ready. The pressure and air conditioning can have a bigger impact on infants and you may need to administer some to help your daughter.

If flying from T5 use the first wing. They were very baby friendly. We had no issue with baby food in pouches/jars or ready made formula. They were also happy for sippy cups with water. The CCR staff were great. Happy to fill cups with water and milk etc. We also asked for some soft fruit if possible whilst having a meal. They literally brought out a forest of berries which went down very well.
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:25 am
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Secure the onboard bananas early in the flight (these maybe in CW as it seems 1st don't have bananas)
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:29 am
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Originally Posted by Barnaby100 View Post
I sat in J on the way back from HKG once when the parents of the 18m old near me were clearly experimenting with the 'just let him keep screaming till he gives up' strategy. Which in my opinion is an appalling thing to do on a 12h flight.

I spoke to 1 parent (and I don't think the is unusual) who had never cared for their child overnight as they had a nanny and being on the plane at night was possibly the 1st time they had had to manage getting baby to sleep.

Another day flight in Virgin UC with parent who let their child run wild- he told the cabin crew it was the longest that he had ever looked after the child for- about 5 hours as his partner went to the quite zone to sleep and he *moved to where there was more room* as she flung herself over the seats and jumped between them. Virgin sent a crew member down to mind the child- father though she was so cute.
Just completed an ex-EU with an infant and in ten flights we only experienced difficulties on the last one at take off. Despite doing everything we could some passengers had their heads rammed so far up their own arses it didn't matter what we tried to do. Others were very understanding.

However, what annoyed us most was on the return from MIA in F. Somebody with an infant had been given an opup to F. She basically allowed the child to wander the cabin. At one point the child entered the galley and almost tipped over the trolley that they were using to sort meals out on. CC weee not impressed - they even commented on the fact they felt like baby sitters.

On our outbound the CC were great with our daughter. They even wanted to take her into the galley to play with her!
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:35 am
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Originally Posted by madfish View Post
The pressure and air conditioning can have a bigger impact on infants
The air pressure is a good point. The only real and recurring problem we ever had flying was our son's sensitive ears on take-off and (especially) landing.

The solution we came to discover was a mini chuppa-chup for each and we always used to buy a bag at the airport. With an 8-month old this might be the start of a lifelong sugar addiction, so a dummy or a full bottle through ascent and decent will ensure they constantly equalise the pressure.
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:37 am
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Originally Posted by madfish View Post
Somebody with an infant had been given an opup to F. !
Wowsers. Perhaps I need to travel with the kids more often to get a F opup!
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:40 am
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I am usually the person who offers to hold the screaming child while the parent gets food or goes to the loo.
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Old Aug 29, 17, 2:48 am
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Oh - one more absolutely vital thing.

CHANGE OF CLOTHING (and I mean complete one) for the nipper. Long haul maybe two changes. If you have some sort of an 'incident' and you don't have this, it's not a good situation.

Consider also a spare top for yourself, in case you should catch the brunt of, ahem, 'something'.

If for some reason you need a VERY large loo, the upstairs ones on the A380 (ie in J) are enormous. but tbh, for simple nappy changes, I actually find the confinement of a more regular sized loo makes it easier to stop him rolling away (and if you hit a spot of turbulence you can more easily brace yourself against a wall).

Also, when getting near to landing maybe be proactive in changing nappy etc before the usual rush once the '20 mins to seatbelt sign' announcement goes out. Although in F I think you're reasonably well catered for.
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Old Aug 29, 17, 3:08 am
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You won't know what your child is like until you get on the plane, so don't worry about it. Someone else far wiser than me once posted on this forum:

"Those that care don't matter, those that matter don't care!"

We were lucky in that our eldest pretty much fell into an unconscious slumber during takeoff (although he was 6mo and being fed by my wife at the time). Not much changed when he was old enough to have his own seat (see attached)!

Hopefully there will be a spare seat that the cabin crew can make into a bed so your little one doesn't need to use the bassinet seat.
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Old Aug 29, 17, 3:16 am
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Originally Posted by Pascoe View Post
Oh - one more absolutely vital thing.

CHANGE OF CLOTHING (and I mean complete one) for the nipper. Long haul maybe two changes. If you have some sort of an 'incident' and you don't have this, it's not a good situation.

Consider also a spare top for yourself, in case you should catch the brunt of, ahem, 'something'.

If for some reason you need a VERY large loo, the upstairs ones on the A380 (ie in J) are enormous. but tbh, for simple nappy changes, I actually find the confinement of a more regular sized loo makes it easier to stop him rolling away (and if you hit a spot of turbulence you can more easily brace yourself against a wall).

Also, when getting near to landing maybe be proactive in changing nappy etc before the usual rush once the '20 mins to seatbelt sign' announcement goes out. Although in F I think you're reasonably well catered for.
Change of clothing for you and the little is very important, we've had some interesting moments when this has been critical!

Agree with the other points above as well, milk for take off and landing to help with the pressure. Particularly on landing, try and space it out as you don't want to run out part way down.

Baby G has flown 4F sectors, 3J sectors and 2Y sectors; the only flights we've had any angry faces were on the Y sectors. We've always found our fellow travellers in J&F plus the cabin crew to be friendly and helpful, particularly if you're doing your best!
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