When I was young, watching aeroplanes fly past the sky was fun and exciting. It was a privilege at that time, only few afforded. I for one, had always fantasised about my flight and how it would be.
Years later, who knew being in that very plane would be a norm for me.
However, one thing I had never visioned was travelling with a small baby as my only companion.
I had to travel to my home in UAE from India few days ago, along with my not-so-big and restless toddler. I was shit scared.
I asked for help from everyone I knew and also from an Internet forum I was active on. There were lots of points and suggestions which did manage to perk me up a lot.
So did I travel with my baby safe and sound?
Of course I did! (with a few hiccups here and there 🙄😝)
It was a cloudy day to begin with, and God was in a mood of showering Mumbai, the city I was departing from, with all the water from heavens. I said my prayers and hoped for a trouble free flight home.
Few things I would highly recommend BEFORE you venture out TRAVELLING in a plane (domestic or international) with your infants or toddlers which are as follows:
- Carry a BACKPACK. (You would appreciate when your hands are left free to handle other important things and your child apart from the luggage) I bought a brand new one for the flight!
- Baby carrier (if your child likes it then BINGO! nothing better than this) however my kiddo is a restless being 🙄 so I couldn’t use this.)
- Baby Pram/ buggy/ stroller ( Airports are huge and it involves much walking so pram can give you some relief. Almost all airlines allow you to carry your child in a pram till the plane’s gate and the bonus part is that you won’t be charged for it😃)
- Favourite toys/games/books and finger foods ( it’s better if you can carry a new toy too so that baby gets more involved in it. Carry his/her favourite biscuits or snacks)
- A set of extra clothes both your’s and baby’s would be of help as a precaution.
- Any medicines which the baby uses apart from all the usual baby care stuff!
- Check-in luggage should be as light as possible (mine was a bit over limit though 🤐😐)
- Please be three hours prior to the take off time. It helps. A lot!
- Call the airlines a day or two prior to the flight for any queries (esp. baggage limits 😃)
- REQUEST for a BASSINET seat ( if your child is 10kgs or less) some airlines book it for you by default!
AT THE AIRPORT
I reached the airport around 3 hours before the take off time and was pleased seeing that the flight was on time and check in process had already begun. We did the teary good-byes and hugs. I had two huge bags with me in addition to the pram and the backpack, not to forget my sling bag 😝😬
I loaded those two bags on the luggage trolley and put the pram folded on top of it. Now I wore my back pack and was carrying the sling across the shoulder (I had kept my tickets and passports handy in it) and placed my girl on the trolley🤦♀️ ( she wasn’t complaining either 😝)
(NOTE: If you’re not confident enough to carry all your stuff this way then you can easily ask a fellow passenger or a porter at the airport entrance to guide you in. I had to ask a porter to help me through the check-in area!)
AT THE CHECK-IN
Almost All the airlines have a helpful attitudes towards passengers with infants or toddlers, so they’re going to be kind to you. There’s a separate queue for such passengers, so no need to wait in long queues if you happen to reach late!
I inquired about the bassinet seat which I wanted and was happy to find them booked already.
My check-in luggage was a over-limit ( which happens if you forget to confirm the limit)
I had to return my Mom’s hand-made edible stuff (which were my favourite ☹️😢😢😢)
Nevertheless, the porter was kind and helped me through all the process and finally I got my bags checked-in 😬😅.
As I was lighter now with the bags all gone safely with the airline staff, I opened my baby’s pram and buckled her in! (She was busy unbuckling the straps and fidgeting to get out 🙄 so I gave her something to munch on)
The security check requires checking your pram as well as your hand luggage. As soon as that was done, I moved towards the immigration which went smoothly as well.
AT THE GATE:
Okay! So we reached almost 2 hours before the flight, which meant I had to entertain my restless bundle the whole time.
I made sure to change her diaper and I too got freshened up.
Now, as soon as we stopped to rest for some time. My princess thought it was boring to be in the pram and wanted to explore the airport a bit. (The entire 2 hours went in running behind her as she was busy in playing hide and seek with me.🙄😐)
(NOTE: Do take your child in arms and play with them, But keep an eye on your hand luggage too)
After 2 hours of my holding her, she finally decided to sleep!😃😇
And just then the announcement for boarding was made. I being alone with a kid, the flight attendants took us in without a queue!
At the plane’s door, I held her and they took away the pram to be loaded with the luggage. (Don’t forget to label all your bags including your pram)
DURING THE FLIGHT:
As I entered the plane, friendly smiles made me feel calmer. I was guided to my seat and the steward was helpful enough.
(NOTE: you can ask your co passengers or your air hostess to arrange for an empty seat beside yours if possible. I had a gentleman sitting next to me who was kind enough to shif to another empty seat. So now I got two empty seats besides me 😬)
During take off as well as landing, I made sure to give her a pacifier which she uses, so that her ears aren’t affected.
(If you don’t have pacifier, breast feed them or bottle feed them or you can give them some lollipop or something to suck on)
When in air, I was provided with a bassinet as mentioned earlier.( Although it wasn’t required much because she refused to sleep 😐)
My child is like any other toddler, a restless soul so I had expected her to jump everywhere in the plane. She didn’t prove me wrong🤦♀️
It was hard keep her in my lap,but I figured some way or the other (either by giving her toys or making her watch movies on the screen provided with every seat)
She even jumped at a lady eating her dinner in my adjacent seat (I hope she didn’t mind 😐)
The staff would guide you where to find your pram. (Mine was to be given to me with my check in luggage at the conveyor belt) I had to use the prams available at the airport sponsored by the airline, so it was of much help.
Once all immigration is done, you have to unload your luggage ���“
Here, a lot of co passengers happily help you. (A gentleman helped me get mine on the trolley 😃) if you don’t fine any luck in this, then ask the airport staff as many porter services are always available!!
Once you unload your stuff, you’re good to go home with your baby😜😅
(Phewww and I reached somehow 😅)
The journey I dreaded so much, proved quite entertaining 😃
It did leave me with memories.
My first lone journey with my daughter 😍❤️😘