Over the Christmas holiday season, we had decided to spend some family time back in Malaysia.
Due to hubby’s work commitments and other engagements, we decided that I would fly ahead first with the children and hubby would join us a week later.
I am not entirely sure what I was thinking at that time that made me decide to do this. Travelling alone with two children under three is most people’s idea of the perfect nightmare.
A few other factors that made the trip considerably more challenging:
- We were flying a red-eye flight departing at midnight
- The flight duration was five-and-a-half hours long
- I was not able to secure a bassinet or bulkhead seat
But on that fateful night, I got on that flight with both children in tow and somehow emerged on the other side safely in one piece (more or less).
The question everyone is asking me is: How did I do it?
So here are a few jottings on how I managed to survive my adventure of…
Flying Alone with a Toddler and a Baby
- I called the airline ahead to book a bassinet seat, in my case unfortunately they happened to be all already booked out. But at the check-in counter, I mentioned my plight
and put on my most pathetic and helpless pose with the kids. So the officer kindly blocked out an extra seat for us so we had three seats all to ourselves.
- I borrowed a child leash from a friend. As a general rule, I am not a fan of child leashes. But I did not want to take any chances being alone with the kids at a busy and frantic airport. I was just going to have to ignore the evil eye of my fellow travellers looking disapprovingly at my child being tethered on a leash.
- I wore baby in my sling to keep my hands free. The airline staff had offered me the use of their complimentary strollers, but after a while I found it so cumbersome to push around whilst keeping hold of Nathan and very time consuming to collapse and reopen each time we went through the different checkpoints.
- I prepared a little surprise for Nathan, a small matchbox car packaged in wrapping paper. It was the perfect antidote to pass the time while waiting to board the plane.
- I let the inflight entertainment programme do its job. This was no time to enforce my usual restrictions on screen time. We were on holiday mode after all.
- I nursed baby whenever she needed. I nursed her during take-off to minimise the effects of the cabin pressurisation, and later on I nursed her to sleep.
- I leveraged the help of the flight attendants for toilet breaks. A very real but not often mentioned challenge about flying alone with kids is managing going to the toilet. I was able to hold it in until after the kids were fast asleep. Then I buzzed one of the flight attendants over to stand watch over the sleeping beauties, so I could finally relieve myself. It took some delicate action to extricate myself from the tangle of legs and arms of both children sprawled across my lap. But they were tired enough to keep dozing on.
- I relied on the kindness of strangers. Sometimes all it takes is a smile and people are generally more than happy to lend a quick hand with the many little things along the way… lifting my bags, picking up an item I dropped, letting me go ahead first. It was just little things, but it really made a difference.
Could I do this again? Yes, I survived one time, I’m sure I could again. Would I do this again? Weeeeell… it would not be my first choice.
Anyway, the next time you are travelling and you see a poor mother (or father) limping along with a couple of kids all alone. Walk over, give them a smile and lend them a hand with whatever they are struggling with. I can tell you from experience that it would be appreciated tremendously.
Have you ever travelled with the kids alone? Would you do it? Could you do it?
Linking up to Jess @ IBOT